Montana 1948 Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

''Montana 1948'' is a popular novella, but one packed with some intense themes. These questions can help lead your students through a discussion on the characters, plot, and themes of the story.

Montana 1948

Montana 1948 is a novella by American author Larry Watson, published in 1993. The story, which takes place in a fictional town in rural Montana, follows a murder that tears a town and family apart. It's been lauded for its tension, characterizations, and themes. Due to the mature themes of the book, it's generally recommended for high school students and that's who these discussion questions are geared towards.

Questions about Characters and Plot

  • Who is the narrator of Montana 1948? How does this narrator introduce himself to the reader? How does he address or acknowledge the reader? Why is this perspective important in this novella? How does it impact the way the story is told? Is David a reliable narrator? Why or why not?
  • Who are the other main characters in this novella? How are we introduced to Wesley, Marie, and Frank? How does David's narration shape our perspective of these characters? What's notable about David's descriptions of these characters? What does this tell us about him?
  • Describe the plot of this story in a single sentence? What is Montana 1948 about? What is the conflict? How is this conflict introduced? How is it resolved?
  • What are the clues interspersed throughout the novella that Frank might be guilty of something heinous? When is this first suggested? When does David become convinced of it? When did you become convinced?
  • Who are the people that try to free Frank from jail/confinement? Why are they trying to free him? What is the author trying to say?

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