Race, social status and gender are three factors, in which society uses to judge people. Although many people do not agree with this aspect, our society embraces it by categorizing all people under theses three factors. Those who consider themselves to be better then others, attempt to belittle those whom they consider to be weaker. These people are often known, as the Fringe of society. Montana 1948 is an excellent example of this struggle between the weak and the strong.
Montana 1948 is a very good example of what it was like to be part of the fringe of society. The author does an extraordinary job at depicting certain struggles of power between the characters in the book. The reason these struggles are so easy to pick up on is because the narrator describes the characters to full detail. This allows for a further enhancement of the book to which you can become more acquainted with the characters. There for you can predict the struggles between characters. One of the main struggles in this story is between the Fringes of society and those who have power. By power I mean those who are able to speak for themselves and defend themselves. Good examples of power, in the society of Montana 1948, are the white men. Those who would be considered a fringe would be the Native Americans, women, and children.
It is obvious, in the story, that men had the power. The male characters in the book prove this; such as Wes, his father, and Frank. Each character has a certain overpowering attitude over the other. Wes being the character, which most frequently shows up in all the scenes, is able to take over the scene with his overpowering attitude. This is true because several occasions in the book demonstrate the wife’s reluctant ness to make decisions on her own there for always seeking Wes’s approval; ” If my mother said it, it was so, yet my father’s confirmation was still necessary” page 43. This demonstrates the superiority that Wes had over the family, hence putting the wife on the fringe of the household. Frank on the other hand is more of an easy going character, but since he was a doctor and was his fathers favorite, he is given more liability and credit over Wes.
“Frank was witty, charming, at smiling ease with his life and every thing in it. Along side his brother my father soon seemed somewhat prosaic. Oh, stolid, surely, and steady and dependable. But inevitably, inescapably dull. Nothing glittered in my father’s wake the way it did in Uncle Frank’s”, page36. In this case Wes has always had to struggle with Frank over favoritism over their father. This favoritism is apparent when their father gets up in front of a large crowd to address his son Frank as a war hero, ” Now I’d like to bring my son up here.” Page 37.
The favoritism is also imminent in the way the father addressed the speech, ” He simply said “my son.” And why wouldn’t the county sheriff be called on to make a small speech?” page37. The last character, which is considered to be the most powerful in the book, and a scene-stealer, is Grandpa. Obviously as the head of the family he has power over his sons, but his high social status and wealth also puts him above and beyond most people. This power to which he attains allows him to do most anything he pleases, without having any confrontations from the towns people.
“He didn’t call for silence. That wasn’t his way. He simply stood there; his feet planted wide, his hands on his hips”page37. “He assumed that once people saw him, they would give him their attention. And they did” page37. This example clearly demonstrates the Grandpas superiority over all the people. These where the main characters, in the story, and they demonstrated what it was like to be above the Fringe.
Being part of a fringe, means that you do not have much say around others. Native Americans are a common example of what a fringe is like. They isolate themselves from the town, because white people put down Native Americans due to their race. Native Americans are not the only people part of the Fringe. At times women may be considered that also. For they are not described by the narrator as much as men, hence showing favoritism of men over women by the author. It is true that Native Americans and women are not as socially high as men.