Montana 1948

Marie Little Soldier Character Analysis

David’s caretaker. Marie is a vibrant Sioux woman with a great sense of humor whom David loves deeply. The Haydens consider her a member of their family, yet she sleeps in a servant’s room off the kitchen even though there is a free bedroom upstairs. She falls ill with pneumonia, but refuses to see a doctor. Wesley calls his brother Frank against her wishes, and Gail is concerned by how afraid Marie seems. Marie tells Gail that Frank is a well-known sexual abuser of Sioux women. She is presumed to be murdered by Frank shortly after her disease seems to improve.

Marie Little Soldier Quotes in Montana 1948

The Montana 1948 quotes below are all either spoken by Marie Little Soldier or refer to Marie Little Soldier. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Milkweed Editions edition of Montana 1948 published in 1993.
Prologue Quotes

A story that is now only mine to tell. I may not be the only witness left—there might still be someone in that small Montana town who remembers the events as well as I, but no one knew all three of these people better. And no one loved them more.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Wesley Hayden, Gail Hayden, Marie Little Soldier
Page Number: xvi
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 1 Quotes

“Are you telling me this because I’m Frank’s brother? Because I’m your husband? Because I’m Marie’s employer?...or because I’m the sheriff?”

Related Characters: Wesley Hayden (speaker), Gail Hayden, Marie Little Soldier, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes

I imagined all the Indians of our region, from town, ranches, or reservation, gathered on top of Circle Hill to do something about Marie’s death. But in my vision, the Indians were not lined up in battle formation as they always were in movies, that is, mounted on war ponies, streaked with war paint…Instead, just as I did in my daily life I saw them dressed in their jeans and cowboy boots, their cotton print dresses, or their flannel shirts.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Marie Little Soldier
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

A murderer may have been locked up a floor below and the molecules of his victim’s dying breath still floating in the air, yet these were not strong enough finally to stand up to my boy’s hunger for chocolate cake.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Marie Little Soldier, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

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Epilogue Quotes

I believe I remembered the incident so fondly not only because I was with Marie and Ronnie, both of whom I loved in my way, but also because I felt, for that brief span, as though I was part of a family, a family that accepted me for myself and not my blood or birthright.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Marie Little Soldier, Ronnie Tall Bear
Page Number: 167
Explanation and Analysis:

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Marie Little Soldier Character Timeline in Montana 1948

The timeline below shows where the character Marie Little Soldier appears in Montana 1948. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Growing Up Theme Icon
...death of cancer 10 years ago. He will not tell us about the fate of Marie Little Soldier, because to do so would be to give too much of the story... (full context)
Chapter 1
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...mother works as a secretary, so they have hired a housekeeper, a Sioux woman named Marie Little Soldier. She is a large, beautiful woman with a big personality to match, who... (full context)
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Marie has a boyfriend named Ronnie Tall Bear, whom David worships. Ronnie is perhaps the most... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Marie stays in a servant’s room on the ground floor of the house, even though there... (full context)
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
David checks in on Marie frequently. She sleeps fitfully and mumbles deliriously. Once she calls David in and makes him... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...father remarks that David is “babysitting the babysitter.” This is the first time David realizes Marie was hired in part to look after him, not simply to clean and cook. Gail... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Wesley tells Frank that Marie is sick, and warns him she does not want to be treated by him. Frank... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
...some of Ole Norgaard’s homebrewed beer. Frank says he might have some after he treats Marie. Frank goes into Marie’s room and shuts the door behind him. Almost immediately Marie begins... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...to come wait outside on the porch. They hear muffled shouts of “no” coming from Marie’s room. Wesley ignores them. Finally Frank comes out and asks Wesley for a beer. Wesley... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Wesley asks if Marie should be in a hospital. Frank responds that Marie would probably never agree to go.... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...lasted longer. He hears his mother take a deep breath and tell his father what Marie has told her: that Uncle Frank has been molesting Native American girls—his patients—for years. (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Wesley paces and asks Gail if she believes Marie. She asks him why Marie would lie about something like this. Wesley suggests she might... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
...telling him because he is Frank’s brother, because he is her husband, because he is Marie’s employer, or because he is the sheriff. Gail says “I’m just telling you.” They are... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...parents won’t know he’s been eavesdropping. They say nothing to him and go straight to Marie’s room. While they are gone, David examines Uncle Frank’s fingerprints on his beer bottle. He... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
When Wesley and Gail leave Marie’s room they tell David that Marie is tired and needs rest. Wesley says he is... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Later that night, Gail goes in to check on Marie one more time. When she comes out she looks exhausted and frail. Wesley is eating... (full context)
Chapter 2
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
...next day Wesley goes to the reservation, though he has no jurisdiction there, to investigate Marie’s accusations. Later that day, David sees him at the Coffee Cup (a café where he... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
When David gets home, Marie is asleep. He notices the house is unusually quiet—Marie usually plays the radio all day.... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
...his parents get home, David overhears them. Wesley tells Gail he wants to talk to Marie again, but that he doesn’t want Gail to be in the room. David wonders if... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
While Wesley talks to Marie, Gail takes David for a short walk outside. David works up the courage to ask... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
When they arrive home Doris Looks Away, another Native American woman, is there watching over Marie, whose condition has improved remarkably. David tells Marie about hunting coyotes at Grandpa’s, and she... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Marie Little Soldier dies the next day. Gail comes home shortly after 5 pm and finds... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
His parents comfort him, and everyone wonders how this could have happened. Marie’s fever was down. Frank simply says pneumonia patients often get worse after they seem to... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Gail is upset with herself. Daisy insists Gail gave Marie the best possible care, but this does not make Gail feel better. Daisy suggests to... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
...the dream they seem poised for attack, and David wonders if they want to avenge Marie’s killer. (full context)
Chapter 3
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Haydens cannot attend Marie’s funeral because her family wishes to bury her in North Dakota. Gail tries to explain... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
In the days following Marie’s death, Wesley works long hours, and looks more and more exhausted. He is socializing more... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Three days after Marie’s death, Wesley brings Frank into the house. Frank seems cheerful, but Wesley looks ragged, and... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...the basement, presumably to release Frank. In the kitchen, Gail asks Len how Frank killed Marie. She no longer cares about what David hears. Len responds that Frank could have done... (full context)
Epilogue
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
One memory of Marie has stuck with David after 40 years. He, Marie, and Ronnie had been playing football... (full context)