Montana 1948

Montana 1948 Irony

The Moral Compass (Situational Irony)

For the first half of the novel Gail must act as Wesley’s moral compass. She has to push her husband to start investigating into Marie’s allegations against Frank, and even reminds him that sins must be punished when Wesley refuses to arrest his brother for his crimes. The irony of the situation isn’t lost on David, who remarks how ironic it is that his mother, the secretary, is lecturing his father, the lawyer and law-enforcement officer, on justice. This is an example of situational irony.

A Sheriff’s Job (Situational Irony)

Before the drama with his uncle unfolds, Wesley thinks that the hardest part of his father’s job is dealing with the violent criminals he might encounter. This isn’t a wrong assumption to make, since sheriffs typically place themselves in dangerous situations to protect the people of their communities. However, when Marie Little Soldier dies it’s Wesley’s job to inform her loved ones, and David realizes that ironically this is the toughest part of a sheriff’s job. Not the armed criminals they could end up fighting with, but the families of the fallen.

Frank’s Suicide (Situational Irony)

As a doctor Frank had to take an oath to do no harm to his patients. He of course completely tramples over this oath when he begins to assault and rape his Native American patients. Rather than face up to his crimes, Frank decides to kill himself to save his reputation as a war hero and golden boy. It’s ironic that he decides to take the hands he swore to use to heal, and use them to commit suicide. The person that promised to help others not only harms them, but also harms himself too.

Leaving Bentrock (Situational Irony)

After Frank dies and his horrible secrets die with him, things are never the same in Bentrock for Hayden and his family. They remain estranged from Wesley’s parents and Gloria, a gap that none of them tries to jump over. That, combined with the lies concocted to save Frank’s reputation, weigh heavily on David’s parents, so they decide to leave their home and move out of state. This is tragic and ironic to David, who wonders how the two people “who only wanted to do right, whose only error lay in trying to be loyal to both family and justice, were now dispossessed, the ones forced to leave Bentrock and build new lives” (Watson 175).