The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757

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10 thoughts on “The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757

  1. Amanda Amanda says:

    If time travel were possible, I'd go back in time and assassinate James Fenimore Cooper before he ever put pen to paper (in this imaginary scenario, let it be known that I also possess mad ninja skills). Why do I hate Cooper so much? Let me count the ways:

    1) His never-ending description of every rock, twig, river, etc., with which the main characters come into contact. No pebble escapes his scrutiny, no leaf his lingering gaze. This book would have been 3 pages long without the description. And even then, it would have been 3 pages too long.

    2) Native American dialogue is limited to the occasional exclamation of Hugh. Not Hugh as in Hefner, but something more like huh. They're a quiet people, apparently. I'm shocked they don't greet each other by saying, How.

    2 1/2) While we're on the subject, they're all stereotypes of either the noble savage variety or the me big chief Ugh-a-Mug gotta have 'em squaw variety. The whole thing is a racist piece of crap. And don't tell me that Cooper was reflecting the beliefs of the time because, while that may explain the racism, it doesn't explain away the crap bit.

    3) Practically every speech by Hawk-eye will contain some bit of dialogue such as, Even though white blood runs through my veins. Lest we forget he's white since he's been hobnobbing with the natives for so long.

    4) Those damn women just keep getting kidnapped.

    5) For an action story, it's mind-numbingly boring. To illustrate, I give you a riveting, action packed scene in which Duncan, the British officer, tries to distract le Renard Subtil (also known as Magua, also known as Wes Studi in the film) with a discussion of French etymology:

    'Here is some confusion in names between us, le Renard,' said Duncan, hoping to provoke a discussion. 'Daim is the French for deer, and cerf for stag; elan is the true term, when one would speak of an elk.'


    Dash cunning of him, don't you think? It sure would have sucked if he had just attacked him with a knife, a gun, or even a rapier wit. Apparently Duncan's plan is to wear down his enemy with sheer boredom.

    6) Everyone is known by about three or four different names, because anything less would have been confusing. Right, Coop?

    7) Did I mention that it's just frickin' boring? I would rather slam my head in a car door than ever read this book again.

    The best part about the book is that there are entire sections in French. For once, lack of knowledge about a foreign language has paid off! I was practically giddy with excitement when I encountered entire pages of French dialogue as it meant, mon Dieu!, I got to skip the entire page.

    Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder


  2. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:


    What can one say about Cooper? His historical imagination is profound, his creative use of the gothic landscape is uniquely American, and his influence on plot and characterization in American fiction--including, I recently discovered, South American fiction--is pervasive and extensive. Yet his diction is so often trite, his style so plodding and crabbed, his syntax so convoluted, that it is difficult to read more than a few pages of The Last of the Mohicans without throwing the book across the room in disgust.

    That's a pity, for Cooper helped shape an early and influential interpretation of American history--later adopted by the narrative historian (and formidable literary stylist) Francis Parkman--that combines an elegiac appreciation for a disappearing wilderness, a wilderness which helped to shape and define the American character, with a critical examination of how that character in its turn formed the emerging democratic state. He shows us how Protestant middle class English values are more suited to egalitarianism than the aristocrat instincts of the Catholic French, and embodies this egalitarianism and spirit of the wilderness in the character of the scout Hawkeye.

    Hawkeye is an offshoot of Protestant New England, raised in the forest and purged of the petty theological distractions of Christianity (the man without a cross). He knows the secrets of the wilderness and appreciates Native Americans just as they are, acknowledging both their nobility and their savagery. He also understands the British soldiers and settlers, but, although he can move effortlessly between the two worlds, he is never completely comfortable in either. He lends his talents to others, but, remaining a solitary even in communion, he cuts his own path through the trees.

    There you have it : America's first Western hero, the father of such true-hearted stalwarts as dime novel Buffalo Bill and radio's The Lone Ranger, as well as the sire of such complicated incarnations as John Wayne's Ethan Edwards and Clint Eastwood's Will Munny. And let's not forget such bastard offspring as Cormac McCarthy's Judge Holden and Ishmael Reed's The Loop Garoo Kid.

    Quite a legacy indeed! If only his books weren't so badly written, his originality and vision would have earned him a place in the American pantheon right up there with Hawthorne and Poe.


  3. Lyn Lyn says:

    I was always a big fan of the 1992 Michael Mann film starring Daniel Day Lewis, and so I finally read the original.

    First of all, that movie is loosely based upon the book and it turns out Mann never even read the original but based his film on the 1936 film script. Cooper published the work in 1826 so there is that florid, adjective laden prose that reads like a thesaurus smeared with molasses. But for its time I can see how it was viewed as a masterpiece and can definitely see how so much literature since has been influenced by this story.

    Was Hawkeye the original American hero? Independent, resourceful, rugged and casually violent, he may have been the archetype for many literary characters and may have done much to influence American culture as well. The book is also graphically violent, several scenes could have been lifted from a Cormack McCarthy novel, but Cooper was probably portraying an accurate depiction of a rough time.

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  4. Jason Koivu Jason Koivu says:

    Very popular in its time, The Last of the Mohicans is a historical fiction written in the 1820s and set in the 1750s during the French and Indian War in which a small party of British colonists and their Indian guides journey through the upstate New York wilderness defending themselves from their French and Indian enemies.

    James Fenimore Cooper brought insight into the lives of the Native Americans in a way seldom seen at a time when the people of these many new world tribes were mostly reviled as hostile savages. Back when it was published The Last of the Mohicans must have seemed revolutionary. Were it tweaked into the non-fiction Cooper half seemed to be trying to write, perhaps it would've succeeded, if it's inaccuracies could've been shorn up, that is.

    But it is a fiction and today its formulaic prose does not go down easily for the modern reader. Archaic terms and phrasings aside, Cooper wrote like a grammar robot. He adheres to English language strictures like a foreigner. His rigid style absolutely takes the joy out of what should be an exciting tale. And why use one word when five are available? Wordiness digs this poor book's grave ever deeper.

    The other big problem I had was Cooper's narrative style. Not only does he feel the need to explain away everything, he forces the explanation into the mouths of his characters at the most ridiculous of times. Soldiers and scouts constantly chatter away while tracking enemies or hiding from them. By the end it got so unbelievable that I found myself having sarcastic conversations with the characters....

    Do you see that dastardly Huron spying on us there mayhaps two rods ahead in yonder verdant undergrowth? asked Hawkeye.
    The one in the bushes thirty feet away that can probably hear us talking? Yeah, I replied before pausing to ask, How is it you've survived this long?



    Note: For many years now I'd heard bad things about this book and I'm not sure I would've read it, but then someone double-dog dared me. I of course scoffed at the mere double! However they then triple-dog dared me, the fiend!...Game on...GAME...ON...


  5. ``Laurie Henderson ``Laurie Henderson says:

    Have you ever wondered what life was like during the American frontier era of the early 1800's, before civilization encroached upon its wildness and beauty? If so, you might consider reading this first book in Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales.

    Cooper's account was realistic and informative as he had a first hand knowledge of that time and place.
    His life would be be lived on the edge of civilization in the American frontier town of Cooperstown, New York, founded by his father.

    I'm not going to say that this book was easy reading, but with a little patience you will learn much of the unspoiled American frontier with Cooper's exact and fascinating descriptions of the flora and fauna.

    Until the invention of a time machine, I will have to content myself with Cooper's detailed account of life in the primeval America frontier.

    Cooper tells of the harmonious lifestyle of the Native Americans, living off the land and their respect for nature. I've often wondered what life would be like living off the land in such a manner so I found reading this book a learning experience in that aspect as well.

    Cooper's knowledge of the Native American lifestyle and its destruction with the advancement of civilization, is also related in this classic book. Decimated by disease and intermingling with the white race removed their way of life forever.

    The noble Chingachgook and his beloved son Uncas, together with his adopted son Natty Bumppo, better known as Hawkeye, are the last pure blood natives of the Mohican nation. They are making their way to Kentucky to find a wife for young Uncas.

    Their mission is interrupted by the French and Indian War which will irrevocably change their way of life forever.
    As they discover a ravaged frontier settlement with all the inhabitants savagely murdered, they soon learn that their Huron enemies are responsible for this heinous attack.

    They continue their journey cautiously and arrive just in time to save a regiment of English soldiers under attack from the Huron nation. The Hurons under the leadership of Magua have allied themselves with the French army.

    The English regiment, lead by the tiresome Major Duncan Heywood, along with the Munro sisters, making their way to Fort William Henry and are the only survivors of the Huron assault.

    They have no idea that Fort William Henry is under attack, as Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas, attempt to safely deliver the Munro sisters to their father.

    From this point onward, this threesome's intrepid attempts to save the Munro sisters from Magua and his Huron warriors will take your breath away. Their journey to safety makes this classic a harrowing tale of action/adventure.

    The end of this sad tale has the ancient Chingachgook the only surviving member of the Mohican nation, which Cooper uses to illustrate the advancement and destruction by civilization upon the primeval American forest and the beauty that once existed.

    The tragic Chingachgook will break your heart as he accepts the destruction of his family, tribe and way of life, as the last living member of the Mohican nation. He patiently looks forward to the day when he will once again rejoin them in the afterlife. Could any fate be more heartrending?

    Cooper's classic Leatherstocking tales, consisting of 5 books, relate the adventures of Natty Bumppo, which would become popular in America as well as Europe.

    Whether or not you are a fan of historical fiction, I wish you would give this book a chance at least.

    For those interested, I'm posting a link to the hypnotic soundtrack, which also has a cult following.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iyLp...


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVjwB...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O40q...

    Enjoy!


  6. Duane Duane says:

    Cooper was a prolific writer with something like 40 novels to his credit, most written in the early 19th century. The Last of the Mohicans is his best known work and was popular in America as well as Europe. It's a frontier adventure story with a hint of romance to it, but Cooper's portrayal of Indians and women in the novel, considered shallow and inaccurate by todays readers, detract from it's image. My interest in the novel was from an historical viewpoint. It is based loosely on events that occurred during the French and Indian War, and provides an insight into the influence of the British and French occupation prior to the Revolutionary War. Cooper's writing style is somewhat laborious which has kept me from reading any of his other novels. I gave it 4 stars because of it's significance and position in the history of American Literature.


  7. Kate Kate says:

    Plot: 1. Hack your way through the forest. 2. Get ambushed by Mohicans. 3. Kill a bunch of Mohicans. 4. Hack your way through more forest. 5. There are those damn Mohicans again. 6. Kill a bunch more Mohicans. 7. start over at #1.

    Somebody explain to me how this ever got to be a classic.


  8. Sud666 Sud666 says:

    This is another famous book that most people only seem to know through the movie version. While the movie was quite good-the book is truly a wonder. First a little bit of real history-during 1755, in the middle of the French-Indian Wars, Sir William Johnson decided to build a Fort in the New York province. The Fort (it's still there and worth visiting) was built to control the important inland waterway from New York City to Montreal, and occupied a key forward location on the frontier between New York and New France. If you happen to see the Fort you will notice that Fort William Henry is designed in an irregular square fortification with bastions on the corners, in a design that was intended to repel Indian attacks, but not necessarily withstand attack from an enemy armed with artillery (such as the French). The fort was surrounded on three sides by a dry moat, with the fourth side sloping down to the lake. The only access to the fort was by a bridge across the moat. It housed about 400-500 soldiers. In 1757 Col. George Monro with the 35th Foot (Regular) and the 60th (Royal American) Foot occupied the Fort. In August of 1757 French forces totaling some 8,000 soldiers, consisting of 3,000 regulars, 3,000 militia and nearly 2,000 Native Americans from various tribes laid siege to the Fort. Due to the inability (or some have deemed it cowardice) of General Webb in not sending reinforcements, Col Monro had no other recourse than to surrender. Allowed the full honors of war (which means the British can keep their arms and unit colors; the weapons can not be loaded; ammunition must be left behind; they couldn't engage in hostilities with French forces for 18 months and an exchange of prisoners ) the British marched out of the Fort and were promptly massacred by the Indian forces of the French. This is something of a black mark for the French commander- Montcalm, who had responsibility for their safety according to the Laws of War. Sadly, in reality, Laws of war tend to be a ridiculous construct of civilians and tend to come into existence post-incident. But I digress- this book has this event and historical situation as its backdrop.

    This is the story of the famous Anglo scout Hawkeye and his Mohican companions Chingachook and Uncas (father and son). As Col Monro's daughters run into Magua a Huron scout in the service of France. What follows is a heroic tale of Hawkeye and his companions racing to protect the women and their two British companions. I will not spoil the plot-it is worth reading. What makes this book shine isn't the plot but rather the background- America when it was a new nation and covered in unexplored, by the British, wilderness. This world does not exist any more save in these pages of Cooper's magnificent novel. Take a trip to an America of the past and revel in the descriptions of familiar locales that are nothing like what they were in the past. It is a truly wonderful book that tells an exciting story, yet the setting -the vast American wilderness and the Native Americans who people it are what make this a classic. Highly recommended to any one that appreciates good literature.


  9. Werner Werner says:

    Note: I've just edited this review slightly to correct a chronological typo. When I read this book the first time, I was nine, not seven years old --I knew, when I wrote the first draft of this review, that I was in 4th grade the first time, so I don't know what I was thinking when I typed seven!

    This novel, set in northern New York in 1757 and involving wilderness adventure and combat during the French and Indian War, was my first introduction to Cooper; the dates given here were for the second reading, but the first was back when I was nine years old. (Newly transferred to parochial school, I stumbled on it in what passed for a school library: two shelves of donated books.) I didn't mind the style (I was a weird kid), and it actually had a lot to appeal to a boy reader: Indians, gunfights and knife fights on land and water, chases, captures, escapes, and the appeal of some actual history thrown in. It left me with a solid liking for Cooper, and interest in reading more by him (though I've only scratched the surface there).

    Like most early 19th-century authors, Cooper's popularity suffers with modern readers because of his diction; and the literary/critical set have been particularly hostile to him, starting with the Realist period with its root-and-branch condemnation of Romanticism and all its works. Mark Twain launched the attack with a hatchet job titled Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses (see below), and in the next generation, Charles Neider's verdict was snide and disparaging. The probability that Twain was motivated by professional jealousy as much as anything else, and the fact that Neider was a Washington Irving partisan who saw Cooper as dangerous competition for the highest laurels, don't seem to have discouraged today's critics from taking their assessments as the last word in Cooper criticism; indeed, they pile on the added condemnation that he held incorrect political views, which, for today's critical clerisy, is enough to damn a writer to eternal literary-critical hell. (As a high-school student, I recall watching Clifton Fadiman, the favorite 16mm talking head of English classes of that day, sneering at this book as a dead classic --which, having actually read it, confirmed my opinion of Fadiman's critical incompetence. :-) ) Interestingly, that wasn't the view of Cooper's contemporaries; he was not only very popular with readers in the U.S., but was one of the few pre-1865 American writers to have a literary reputation abroad. Balzac was a fan, going so far as to say of him that had his characterizations been sharper, he would have been the master novelist of us all. He continued to earn high praise even from several serious literary pundits in Twain's day (and that worthy's flip assertion that none of these men had actually read Cooper is a fair sample of Twain's substitution of ridicule and sarcasm for reasonable discussion).

    My own assessment of Cooper, and of this work in particular, isn't uncritical. There's no denying that his prose style, even by the standards of his day, is particularly dense, wordy and florid. This is especially notable in much of his dialogue. Even granting that in 1757 upper and middle-class speech tended to be more formal than ours, it's difficult to imagine anyone speaking in as orotund a manner as most of the characters here, especially in some of these contexts. (In fairness to Cooper, though, it's not true that none of his characters have speaking patterns that are distinct and reasonably reflect who they are; and David Gamut, the character with, IMO, the most ridiculously fulsome speech, is to a degree intended as comic relief.) His plotting doesn't hold up as well to a read by a 59-year-old as by a nine-year-old kid; some of the character's decisions are foolhardy, and there are plot points that strike me as improbable (though not the ones that Twain cites). While I don't necessarily mind authorial intrusion in the narrative, he uses it here a bit too much. And this edition could also have benefited from the inclusion of a map.

    For all that, though, the positives for me outweighed the negatives. He delivers an adventure yarn that's pretty well-paced, absorbing and suspenseful. The characters are clearly-drawn, distinct, realistic, round, and complex, and evoke real reader reactions. Actual history is incorporated into the narrative in a seamless way. The portrayal of Indians and Indian culture, while not the treatment of them as blandly homogenized, gentle New Agers that modern monolithic multiculturalism would prescribe, is basically a realistic one that derived partly from first-hand contacts, and more knowledgeable than most white literary treatments would have been. While he sometimes refers to them as savages, --and it's fair to note that they are people who, in real life, at times DID torture captives and kill noncombatants-- he doesn't demonize them or make them out to be stupid, unfeeling brutes. Like whites, individuals can be villains, like Magua, but other individuals can be very good; title character Uncas is portrayed as an admirable embodiment of masculine virtues, and the author actually contrasts Indian culture with Anglo-European culture to the disadvantage of the latter in several places.

    Critics of Romantic school action-adventure fiction tend to deny that it has any serious messages (partly because they don't want to see messages they don't like, or recognize serious thought in a despised source), but they're present here nevertheless, and related to the above. Moral qualities such as courage, honor, loyalty, kindness and self-sacrifice, generosity, and love for family and friends are both praised and presented by favorable example, while the opposite qualities are disparaged. And there's a serious call to the reader to discard prejudiced ways of looking at people of other races/cultures. It's no accident that Uncas, an Indian depicted at a time when many people despised Indians, is the title character and real hero of the book, and that Cora, the strongest female character and Cooper's clear favorite, is also the one with some Negro descent on her mother's side. (In this respect, the racial attitudes here, IMO, show an advance in enlightenment on the part of the maturing Cooper that isn't evident in earlier works like The Spy and The Pioneers, the two other Cooper novels I've read.) There's even a hint that for Cooper, the idea of interracial romance isn't a complete taboo, though the presentation is subtle. True, Hawkeye, who obviously carries some emotional baggage from being disparaged by other whites for his Indian associations, stresses his un-crossed bloodlines with no Indian taint, and won't consider the idea of intermarriage (though his bond with his Indian friends is subversive of his culturally-conditioned racism). But to automatically assume, as some readers do, that Hawkeye must always speak for Cooper is, I think, a mistake. He is who he is, warts and all, and that includes being opinionated and fallible (it's not likely, for instance, that his disdain for books and literacy was shared by an author who was a professional writer!). Cooper was a strong Christian, and this book has several naturally-integrated references to religious faith and prayer, as well as a couple of short discussions of religious belief. The type of Christian belief Cooper finds congenial comes across as one that's not doctrinally dogmatic and narrow (as opposed to Gamut's Calvinism), and not judgmental in consigning others to hellfire and damnation. (When Hawkeye refuses to translate Colonel Munro's statement, Tell them, that the Being we all worship, under different names, will be mindful of their charity; and that the time shall not be distant when we may assemble around his throne without distinction of sex, rank, or color, this reader perceived Munro, not Hawkeye, as speaking for the author!)

    A major factor in my rating was the ending. (view spoiler)[At the climax, the two most positive characters in the book are killed. This accords with the Romantic penchant for tragedy, which I don't share as strongly; I much prefer happy endings. But the ending here, while I didn't like it, does seem to have an inherently fated quality that grows naturally out of the arc of the story. (hide spoiler)]


  10. Megan Megan says:

    “Mislike me not, for my complexion, the sad owed livery of the burnished sun.” When you first open Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper this is one of the first things you read. This quote from Shakespeare seems to state that the book will not show the racist tendencies of the time, but display the different races in equal light. While writing a historical fiction, being a completely anti-racist novel is not possible but Cooper seems to state with his head note that the color of skin does not matter. Despite the surface level image of a heroic narrative of Native Americans, Cooper betrays an underline racist agenda, much like the opinions of his own protagonists, which comes through in relationship tension and through the inversion of the native tribes, which played into the racist propaganda of the times increasing tension.

    Last of the Mohicans is part of a series which tells the adventures of Hawkeye as the main protagonist. Hawkeye is a white male, who has in a sense, disowned his race and ancestors and lives in the wild with the Mohicans. Yet while Hawkeye seems to see his race in such a bad light to live out in the wild, he takes extreme pride in being a white male. “ “Iroquois, daren’t deny that I am genuine white,” the scout replied, surveying, with secret satisfaction, the faded color of his bony and sinewy hand” (23).* While his best friends are Native Americans, Hawkeye still acts as if he is above them, more evolved, because he is a white man. During racial arguments, Hawkeye always draws attention to his race, demonstrating that it is of such great importance to his personal identity and something of which others must be made aware of. Even though he has left the settled life of a white man he has not ultimately left behind the white man’s philosophy on Native Americans and those who are mixed race. “I am not a prejudiced man…” (23). This is always Hawkeye’s way to start a conversation. It is a method he uses to smooth over the conversation right before be goes into how he is genuine white and above them. No one ever comments on this or corrects Hawkeye of his ways showing that it is not something that he should be ashamed of or in any way wrong. “But neither the Mohicans, nor I, who am a white man without a cross, can explain the cry we heard” (59). I find it interesting that instead of saying we, Hawkeye uses the Mohicans and I. Again, “No Indian myself, but a man without a cross” (126). He makes a point to separate himself from them. He is a white man, not a Native American. Also he points out that not only is he white, but he is without a cross. Here I think it can be implied that it means that he is pure white, his bloodline has not been crossed with any other race. He uses this as a status of power, inserting himself carefully above the Native Americans and those of mixed race. Is this how Cooper then sees the hierarchy of people, that those with a pure white bloodline are above the rest? That they are better than everyone else? I believe in a way this is how Cooper feels, if not why would he write a whole series on Hawkeye, allowing him to spew his propaganda about how whites are above all the rest. It is then interesting to look at how Cooper displays characters that aren’t pure white.

    Cora the heroin of the story is actually of mixed race decadency, her father is white, and her mother was from the Caribbean. “You scorn to mingle the blood of the Heywards with one so degraded-lovely and virtuous though she be?” (161). When Heyward goes to Colonel Munro to ask one of his daughters hand in marriage Munro is shocked and calls Heyward racist for picking his daughter with fair skin instead of his eldest darker skinned daughter. Heyward’s embarrassment and shock come through but he realizes in a way that is why he doesn’t desire Cora, because of how he was raised to look down on those of mixed race. Yet Cora is ultimately the center of desire for two Native Americans, Uncas and Magua. Near the end of the book I would have guessed that the novel would end happily with Cora and Uncas remaining together despite the fact that Uncas is a Native American and Cora of mixed decadency. Ultimately, we see the collapse of every character in the love triangle however, love is not lost! Alice and Heyward having both survived the final battle are deeply in love. Their relationship is allowed to flourish and grow as they both take their experiences back to civilization, leaving the wild, savage forest behind. Cooper in allowing the relationship of Alice and Heyward to thrive while that of Uncas and Cora is doomed reveals his thoughts on mixed race relationships. Mixed race relationships or even that between a civilized person and a savage person are doomed to fail. They can’t happen or he may even mean to say that they shouldn’t be allowed to occur. Cooper even goes as far to say that even in heaven the lovers will not be together:

    “Say to these kind and gentle females, that a heartbroken and failing man returns them his thanks. Tell him, that the Being we all worship, under different names, will be mindful of their charity; and that the time shall not be distant when we may assemble around his throne without distinction of sex, or rank, or color.” The scout listened to the tremulous voice… “To tell them this,” he said, “would be to tell them that the snows come not in winter, or the sun shines fiercest when the trees are stripped of their leaves.” (360-61)
    From Hawkeye’s point of view, even in heaven there is apartheid, which means there is no way that the lovers will ever be happy together in heaven or on earth. This again is where the racism of Cooper’s time comes seeping through the pages of the novel. Mixed race relationships were greatly frowned upon, even considered illegal in that time.

    Copper while trying to display the book as anti-racist by making Uncas and Cora, both who aren’t white, his heroes, he underneath the main plot creates this racism that mirrors that of the 1820s. “And I tell you that he who is born a Mingo will die a Mingo” (31). Only a couple of chapters into the book and Cooper already shows his true colors about how he feels about the Native Americans. There is no redemption for them, they cannot move up the totem pole of class structure, they are born low-class Native Americans and will die that way. Cooper actually inverts the native tribes in the book from that in history. During the French and Indian War, the Mohicans was actually paired with the French, not the British, and the Iroquois were paired with the British. In historical context the Mohicans were actually the villains and the Iroquois the heroes but that is not the case in the book. So why did Cooper have this role reversal? While it may seem like an innocent difference it actually has very racial implications. When Cooper’s book was published was the time of Native American removal. During this time, the tribe that the country was trying to move was mainly the Iroquois tribe. Here is where we see the propaganda that Cooper displayed. He makes the Iroquois in the book the villain, which in turn causes people to be less sympathetic of their cause and makes people more likely to support the Native American removal.
    “The pale-faces are the masters of the earth, and the time of the redmen has not yet come again. My day has been too long. In the morning I saw the sons of Unamis happy and strong; and yet, before the night has come, have I lived to see the last warrior of the wise race of the Mohicans” (363-64).
    In the end the Native Americans left decide that it is time to move on, it is the white man’s turn to thrive. This is the solution Cooper paints to the Native American removal and shows his support to the cause. They should want to leave. They no longer have a key influence to the making of the world. The Native American tribes should just move on and do what the white man says for they no longer have a place in history.

    “Mislike me not for my complexion.” A bold statement that Cooper inserts on the front pages of the book yet tears apart as the reader dives deeper into the novel. The head note can be compared to Hawkeye stating, “I am not a prejudice man…” right before he says something racist. This is Cooper’s way to smooth over the racism that he displays in his novel. With Hawkeye as his main character in this series he can be thought of as having Cooper’s own thoughts on race, interracial relationships, and the Native American removal. Cooper allows the racism of the current time seep through as propaganda in the book and destroying any anti-racist plot that he tried to display in his novel.

    This review is actually a paper I am writing for class and in the editing stages :)

    UPDATE This was a paper for class and I got the grade back today and received a 3.8, one of the higher grades in the class!


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The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 ❮Reading❯ ➻ The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 ➳ Author James Fenimore Cooper – Polishdarling.co.uk the last of Traduction franaise Linguee De trs nombreux exemples de phrases traduites contenant the last of Dictionnaire franais anglais et moteur de recherche de traductions franaises the last of Tra the last of Traduction franaise Linguee De trs of the MOBI ð nombreux exemples de phrases traduites contenant the last of Dictionnaire franais anglais et moteur de recherche The Last PDF or de traductions franaises the last of Traduction en franais exemples anglaisUntil the last of their enemies had retreated Jusqu ce que le dernier de leurs Last of the PDF ´ ennemis se soit repli Premier Frank McKenna wanted to honour the last of his commitments to serveyears Le premier ministre Frank McKenna a ainsi voulu remplir le dernier de ses nombreux engagements, soit celui de servir dix ans The Last of Us WikipdiaThe Last of Us tout savoir sur la srie HBO The Last of Us tout savoir sur la srie HBO HBO diffusera une adaptation en srie du jeu vido The Last of Us, en partenariat avec le crateur de The Last of Us filmAlloCin Un film culte ds avant sa sortie Un migrant perd son partenaire en arrivant en Afrique du nord, et tente la traverse de la Mditerrane sur une barque de pche qu il a vole Contre toute The Last of Us Partsur PlayStationjeuxvideo The Last of Us Part II sur PlayStationretrouvez toutes les informations, les tests, les vidos et actualits du jeu sur tous ses supports Au centre de l intrigue du premier volet, nousThe Last of Us PartTlcharger PC Version complte gratuite The Last of Us est devenu l une des productions les plus russies qui soit apparue sur la console PlayStationPas tonnant un excellent gameplay, un scnario captivant et des personnages que nous aimons tous ne sont qu un aperu de ce que la premire partie de The Last offigurine the last of usThe Last of Us Part II WikipdiaThe Last of the Mohicans Promontory Main Composers Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman Conductor Daniel A Carlin and Randy Edelman Manufacturer Morgan Creek.


10 thoughts on “The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757

  1. Amanda Amanda says:

    If time travel were possible, I'd go back in time and assassinate James Fenimore Cooper before he ever put pen to paper (in this imaginary scenario, let it be known that I also possess mad ninja skills). Why do I hate Cooper so much? Let me count the ways:

    1) His never-ending description of every rock, twig, river, etc., with which the main characters come into contact. No pebble escapes his scrutiny, no leaf his lingering gaze. This book would have been 3 pages long without the description. And even then, it would have been 3 pages too long.

    2) Native American dialogue is limited to the occasional exclamation of Hugh. Not Hugh as in Hefner, but something more like huh. They're a quiet people, apparently. I'm shocked they don't greet each other by saying, How.

    2 1/2) While we're on the subject, they're all stereotypes of either the noble savage variety or the me big chief Ugh-a-Mug gotta have 'em squaw variety. The whole thing is a racist piece of crap. And don't tell me that Cooper was reflecting the beliefs of the time because, while that may explain the racism, it doesn't explain away the crap bit.

    3) Practically every speech by Hawk-eye will contain some bit of dialogue such as, Even though white blood runs through my veins. Lest we forget he's white since he's been hobnobbing with the natives for so long.

    4) Those damn women just keep getting kidnapped.

    5) For an action story, it's mind-numbingly boring. To illustrate, I give you a riveting, action packed scene in which Duncan, the British officer, tries to distract le Renard Subtil (also known as Magua, also known as Wes Studi in the film) with a discussion of French etymology:

    'Here is some confusion in names between us, le Renard,' said Duncan, hoping to provoke a discussion. 'Daim is the French for deer, and cerf for stag; elan is the true term, when one would speak of an elk.'


    Dash cunning of him, don't you think? It sure would have sucked if he had just attacked him with a knife, a gun, or even a rapier wit. Apparently Duncan's plan is to wear down his enemy with sheer boredom.

    6) Everyone is known by about three or four different names, because anything less would have been confusing. Right, Coop?

    7) Did I mention that it's just frickin' boring? I would rather slam my head in a car door than ever read this book again.

    The best part about the book is that there are entire sections in French. For once, lack of knowledge about a foreign language has paid off! I was practically giddy with excitement when I encountered entire pages of French dialogue as it meant, mon Dieu!, I got to skip the entire page.

    Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder


  2. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:


    What can one say about Cooper? His historical imagination is profound, his creative use of the gothic landscape is uniquely American, and his influence on plot and characterization in American fiction--including, I recently discovered, South American fiction--is pervasive and extensive. Yet his diction is so often trite, his style so plodding and crabbed, his syntax so convoluted, that it is difficult to read more than a few pages of The Last of the Mohicans without throwing the book across the room in disgust.

    That's a pity, for Cooper helped shape an early and influential interpretation of American history--later adopted by the narrative historian (and formidable literary stylist) Francis Parkman--that combines an elegiac appreciation for a disappearing wilderness, a wilderness which helped to shape and define the American character, with a critical examination of how that character in its turn formed the emerging democratic state. He shows us how Protestant middle class English values are more suited to egalitarianism than the aristocrat instincts of the Catholic French, and embodies this egalitarianism and spirit of the wilderness in the character of the scout Hawkeye.

    Hawkeye is an offshoot of Protestant New England, raised in the forest and purged of the petty theological distractions of Christianity (the man without a cross). He knows the secrets of the wilderness and appreciates Native Americans just as they are, acknowledging both their nobility and their savagery. He also understands the British soldiers and settlers, but, although he can move effortlessly between the two worlds, he is never completely comfortable in either. He lends his talents to others, but, remaining a solitary even in communion, he cuts his own path through the trees.

    There you have it : America's first Western hero, the father of such true-hearted stalwarts as dime novel Buffalo Bill and radio's The Lone Ranger, as well as the sire of such complicated incarnations as John Wayne's Ethan Edwards and Clint Eastwood's Will Munny. And let's not forget such bastard offspring as Cormac McCarthy's Judge Holden and Ishmael Reed's The Loop Garoo Kid.

    Quite a legacy indeed! If only his books weren't so badly written, his originality and vision would have earned him a place in the American pantheon right up there with Hawthorne and Poe.


  3. Lyn Lyn says:

    I was always a big fan of the 1992 Michael Mann film starring Daniel Day Lewis, and so I finally read the original.

    First of all, that movie is loosely based upon the book and it turns out Mann never even read the original but based his film on the 1936 film script. Cooper published the work in 1826 so there is that florid, adjective laden prose that reads like a thesaurus smeared with molasses. But for its time I can see how it was viewed as a masterpiece and can definitely see how so much literature since has been influenced by this story.

    Was Hawkeye the original American hero? Independent, resourceful, rugged and casually violent, he may have been the archetype for many literary characters and may have done much to influence American culture as well. The book is also graphically violent, several scenes could have been lifted from a Cormack McCarthy novel, but Cooper was probably portraying an accurate depiction of a rough time.

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  4. Jason Koivu Jason Koivu says:

    Very popular in its time, The Last of the Mohicans is a historical fiction written in the 1820s and set in the 1750s during the French and Indian War in which a small party of British colonists and their Indian guides journey through the upstate New York wilderness defending themselves from their French and Indian enemies.

    James Fenimore Cooper brought insight into the lives of the Native Americans in a way seldom seen at a time when the people of these many new world tribes were mostly reviled as hostile savages. Back when it was published The Last of the Mohicans must have seemed revolutionary. Were it tweaked into the non-fiction Cooper half seemed to be trying to write, perhaps it would've succeeded, if it's inaccuracies could've been shorn up, that is.

    But it is a fiction and today its formulaic prose does not go down easily for the modern reader. Archaic terms and phrasings aside, Cooper wrote like a grammar robot. He adheres to English language strictures like a foreigner. His rigid style absolutely takes the joy out of what should be an exciting tale. And why use one word when five are available? Wordiness digs this poor book's grave ever deeper.

    The other big problem I had was Cooper's narrative style. Not only does he feel the need to explain away everything, he forces the explanation into the mouths of his characters at the most ridiculous of times. Soldiers and scouts constantly chatter away while tracking enemies or hiding from them. By the end it got so unbelievable that I found myself having sarcastic conversations with the characters....

    Do you see that dastardly Huron spying on us there mayhaps two rods ahead in yonder verdant undergrowth? asked Hawkeye.
    The one in the bushes thirty feet away that can probably hear us talking? Yeah, I replied before pausing to ask, How is it you've survived this long?



    Note: For many years now I'd heard bad things about this book and I'm not sure I would've read it, but then someone double-dog dared me. I of course scoffed at the mere double! However they then triple-dog dared me, the fiend!...Game on...GAME...ON...


  5. ``Laurie Henderson ``Laurie Henderson says:

    Have you ever wondered what life was like during the American frontier era of the early 1800's, before civilization encroached upon its wildness and beauty? If so, you might consider reading this first book in Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales.

    Cooper's account was realistic and informative as he had a first hand knowledge of that time and place.
    His life would be be lived on the edge of civilization in the American frontier town of Cooperstown, New York, founded by his father.

    I'm not going to say that this book was easy reading, but with a little patience you will learn much of the unspoiled American frontier with Cooper's exact and fascinating descriptions of the flora and fauna.

    Until the invention of a time machine, I will have to content myself with Cooper's detailed account of life in the primeval America frontier.

    Cooper tells of the harmonious lifestyle of the Native Americans, living off the land and their respect for nature. I've often wondered what life would be like living off the land in such a manner so I found reading this book a learning experience in that aspect as well.

    Cooper's knowledge of the Native American lifestyle and its destruction with the advancement of civilization, is also related in this classic book. Decimated by disease and intermingling with the white race removed their way of life forever.

    The noble Chingachgook and his beloved son Uncas, together with his adopted son Natty Bumppo, better known as Hawkeye, are the last pure blood natives of the Mohican nation. They are making their way to Kentucky to find a wife for young Uncas.

    Their mission is interrupted by the French and Indian War which will irrevocably change their way of life forever.
    As they discover a ravaged frontier settlement with all the inhabitants savagely murdered, they soon learn that their Huron enemies are responsible for this heinous attack.

    They continue their journey cautiously and arrive just in time to save a regiment of English soldiers under attack from the Huron nation. The Hurons under the leadership of Magua have allied themselves with the French army.

    The English regiment, lead by the tiresome Major Duncan Heywood, along with the Munro sisters, making their way to Fort William Henry and are the only survivors of the Huron assault.

    They have no idea that Fort William Henry is under attack, as Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas, attempt to safely deliver the Munro sisters to their father.

    From this point onward, this threesome's intrepid attempts to save the Munro sisters from Magua and his Huron warriors will take your breath away. Their journey to safety makes this classic a harrowing tale of action/adventure.

    The end of this sad tale has the ancient Chingachgook the only surviving member of the Mohican nation, which Cooper uses to illustrate the advancement and destruction by civilization upon the primeval American forest and the beauty that once existed.

    The tragic Chingachgook will break your heart as he accepts the destruction of his family, tribe and way of life, as the last living member of the Mohican nation. He patiently looks forward to the day when he will once again rejoin them in the afterlife. Could any fate be more heartrending?

    Cooper's classic Leatherstocking tales, consisting of 5 books, relate the adventures of Natty Bumppo, which would become popular in America as well as Europe.

    Whether or not you are a fan of historical fiction, I wish you would give this book a chance at least.

    For those interested, I'm posting a link to the hypnotic soundtrack, which also has a cult following.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iyLp...


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVjwB...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O40q...

    Enjoy!


  6. Duane Duane says:

    Cooper was a prolific writer with something like 40 novels to his credit, most written in the early 19th century. The Last of the Mohicans is his best known work and was popular in America as well as Europe. It's a frontier adventure story with a hint of romance to it, but Cooper's portrayal of Indians and women in the novel, considered shallow and inaccurate by todays readers, detract from it's image. My interest in the novel was from an historical viewpoint. It is based loosely on events that occurred during the French and Indian War, and provides an insight into the influence of the British and French occupation prior to the Revolutionary War. Cooper's writing style is somewhat laborious which has kept me from reading any of his other novels. I gave it 4 stars because of it's significance and position in the history of American Literature.


  7. Kate Kate says:

    Plot: 1. Hack your way through the forest. 2. Get ambushed by Mohicans. 3. Kill a bunch of Mohicans. 4. Hack your way through more forest. 5. There are those damn Mohicans again. 6. Kill a bunch more Mohicans. 7. start over at #1.

    Somebody explain to me how this ever got to be a classic.


  8. Sud666 Sud666 says:

    This is another famous book that most people only seem to know through the movie version. While the movie was quite good-the book is truly a wonder. First a little bit of real history-during 1755, in the middle of the French-Indian Wars, Sir William Johnson decided to build a Fort in the New York province. The Fort (it's still there and worth visiting) was built to control the important inland waterway from New York City to Montreal, and occupied a key forward location on the frontier between New York and New France. If you happen to see the Fort you will notice that Fort William Henry is designed in an irregular square fortification with bastions on the corners, in a design that was intended to repel Indian attacks, but not necessarily withstand attack from an enemy armed with artillery (such as the French). The fort was surrounded on three sides by a dry moat, with the fourth side sloping down to the lake. The only access to the fort was by a bridge across the moat. It housed about 400-500 soldiers. In 1757 Col. George Monro with the 35th Foot (Regular) and the 60th (Royal American) Foot occupied the Fort. In August of 1757 French forces totaling some 8,000 soldiers, consisting of 3,000 regulars, 3,000 militia and nearly 2,000 Native Americans from various tribes laid siege to the Fort. Due to the inability (or some have deemed it cowardice) of General Webb in not sending reinforcements, Col Monro had no other recourse than to surrender. Allowed the full honors of war (which means the British can keep their arms and unit colors; the weapons can not be loaded; ammunition must be left behind; they couldn't engage in hostilities with French forces for 18 months and an exchange of prisoners ) the British marched out of the Fort and were promptly massacred by the Indian forces of the French. This is something of a black mark for the French commander- Montcalm, who had responsibility for their safety according to the Laws of War. Sadly, in reality, Laws of war tend to be a ridiculous construct of civilians and tend to come into existence post-incident. But I digress- this book has this event and historical situation as its backdrop.

    This is the story of the famous Anglo scout Hawkeye and his Mohican companions Chingachook and Uncas (father and son). As Col Monro's daughters run into Magua a Huron scout in the service of France. What follows is a heroic tale of Hawkeye and his companions racing to protect the women and their two British companions. I will not spoil the plot-it is worth reading. What makes this book shine isn't the plot but rather the background- America when it was a new nation and covered in unexplored, by the British, wilderness. This world does not exist any more save in these pages of Cooper's magnificent novel. Take a trip to an America of the past and revel in the descriptions of familiar locales that are nothing like what they were in the past. It is a truly wonderful book that tells an exciting story, yet the setting -the vast American wilderness and the Native Americans who people it are what make this a classic. Highly recommended to any one that appreciates good literature.


  9. Werner Werner says:

    Note: I've just edited this review slightly to correct a chronological typo. When I read this book the first time, I was nine, not seven years old --I knew, when I wrote the first draft of this review, that I was in 4th grade the first time, so I don't know what I was thinking when I typed seven!

    This novel, set in northern New York in 1757 and involving wilderness adventure and combat during the French and Indian War, was my first introduction to Cooper; the dates given here were for the second reading, but the first was back when I was nine years old. (Newly transferred to parochial school, I stumbled on it in what passed for a school library: two shelves of donated books.) I didn't mind the style (I was a weird kid), and it actually had a lot to appeal to a boy reader: Indians, gunfights and knife fights on land and water, chases, captures, escapes, and the appeal of some actual history thrown in. It left me with a solid liking for Cooper, and interest in reading more by him (though I've only scratched the surface there).

    Like most early 19th-century authors, Cooper's popularity suffers with modern readers because of his diction; and the literary/critical set have been particularly hostile to him, starting with the Realist period with its root-and-branch condemnation of Romanticism and all its works. Mark Twain launched the attack with a hatchet job titled Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses (see below), and in the next generation, Charles Neider's verdict was snide and disparaging. The probability that Twain was motivated by professional jealousy as much as anything else, and the fact that Neider was a Washington Irving partisan who saw Cooper as dangerous competition for the highest laurels, don't seem to have discouraged today's critics from taking their assessments as the last word in Cooper criticism; indeed, they pile on the added condemnation that he held incorrect political views, which, for today's critical clerisy, is enough to damn a writer to eternal literary-critical hell. (As a high-school student, I recall watching Clifton Fadiman, the favorite 16mm talking head of English classes of that day, sneering at this book as a dead classic --which, having actually read it, confirmed my opinion of Fadiman's critical incompetence. :-) ) Interestingly, that wasn't the view of Cooper's contemporaries; he was not only very popular with readers in the U.S., but was one of the few pre-1865 American writers to have a literary reputation abroad. Balzac was a fan, going so far as to say of him that had his characterizations been sharper, he would have been the master novelist of us all. He continued to earn high praise even from several serious literary pundits in Twain's day (and that worthy's flip assertion that none of these men had actually read Cooper is a fair sample of Twain's substitution of ridicule and sarcasm for reasonable discussion).

    My own assessment of Cooper, and of this work in particular, isn't uncritical. There's no denying that his prose style, even by the standards of his day, is particularly dense, wordy and florid. This is especially notable in much of his dialogue. Even granting that in 1757 upper and middle-class speech tended to be more formal than ours, it's difficult to imagine anyone speaking in as orotund a manner as most of the characters here, especially in some of these contexts. (In fairness to Cooper, though, it's not true that none of his characters have speaking patterns that are distinct and reasonably reflect who they are; and David Gamut, the character with, IMO, the most ridiculously fulsome speech, is to a degree intended as comic relief.) His plotting doesn't hold up as well to a read by a 59-year-old as by a nine-year-old kid; some of the character's decisions are foolhardy, and there are plot points that strike me as improbable (though not the ones that Twain cites). While I don't necessarily mind authorial intrusion in the narrative, he uses it here a bit too much. And this edition could also have benefited from the inclusion of a map.

    For all that, though, the positives for me outweighed the negatives. He delivers an adventure yarn that's pretty well-paced, absorbing and suspenseful. The characters are clearly-drawn, distinct, realistic, round, and complex, and evoke real reader reactions. Actual history is incorporated into the narrative in a seamless way. The portrayal of Indians and Indian culture, while not the treatment of them as blandly homogenized, gentle New Agers that modern monolithic multiculturalism would prescribe, is basically a realistic one that derived partly from first-hand contacts, and more knowledgeable than most white literary treatments would have been. While he sometimes refers to them as savages, --and it's fair to note that they are people who, in real life, at times DID torture captives and kill noncombatants-- he doesn't demonize them or make them out to be stupid, unfeeling brutes. Like whites, individuals can be villains, like Magua, but other individuals can be very good; title character Uncas is portrayed as an admirable embodiment of masculine virtues, and the author actually contrasts Indian culture with Anglo-European culture to the disadvantage of the latter in several places.

    Critics of Romantic school action-adventure fiction tend to deny that it has any serious messages (partly because they don't want to see messages they don't like, or recognize serious thought in a despised source), but they're present here nevertheless, and related to the above. Moral qualities such as courage, honor, loyalty, kindness and self-sacrifice, generosity, and love for family and friends are both praised and presented by favorable example, while the opposite qualities are disparaged. And there's a serious call to the reader to discard prejudiced ways of looking at people of other races/cultures. It's no accident that Uncas, an Indian depicted at a time when many people despised Indians, is the title character and real hero of the book, and that Cora, the strongest female character and Cooper's clear favorite, is also the one with some Negro descent on her mother's side. (In this respect, the racial attitudes here, IMO, show an advance in enlightenment on the part of the maturing Cooper that isn't evident in earlier works like The Spy and The Pioneers, the two other Cooper novels I've read.) There's even a hint that for Cooper, the idea of interracial romance isn't a complete taboo, though the presentation is subtle. True, Hawkeye, who obviously carries some emotional baggage from being disparaged by other whites for his Indian associations, stresses his un-crossed bloodlines with no Indian taint, and won't consider the idea of intermarriage (though his bond with his Indian friends is subversive of his culturally-conditioned racism). But to automatically assume, as some readers do, that Hawkeye must always speak for Cooper is, I think, a mistake. He is who he is, warts and all, and that includes being opinionated and fallible (it's not likely, for instance, that his disdain for books and literacy was shared by an author who was a professional writer!). Cooper was a strong Christian, and this book has several naturally-integrated references to religious faith and prayer, as well as a couple of short discussions of religious belief. The type of Christian belief Cooper finds congenial comes across as one that's not doctrinally dogmatic and narrow (as opposed to Gamut's Calvinism), and not judgmental in consigning others to hellfire and damnation. (When Hawkeye refuses to translate Colonel Munro's statement, Tell them, that the Being we all worship, under different names, will be mindful of their charity; and that the time shall not be distant when we may assemble around his throne without distinction of sex, rank, or color, this reader perceived Munro, not Hawkeye, as speaking for the author!)

    A major factor in my rating was the ending. (view spoiler)[At the climax, the two most positive characters in the book are killed. This accords with the Romantic penchant for tragedy, which I don't share as strongly; I much prefer happy endings. But the ending here, while I didn't like it, does seem to have an inherently fated quality that grows naturally out of the arc of the story. (hide spoiler)]


  10. Megan Megan says:

    “Mislike me not, for my complexion, the sad owed livery of the burnished sun.” When you first open Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper this is one of the first things you read. This quote from Shakespeare seems to state that the book will not show the racist tendencies of the time, but display the different races in equal light. While writing a historical fiction, being a completely anti-racist novel is not possible but Cooper seems to state with his head note that the color of skin does not matter. Despite the surface level image of a heroic narrative of Native Americans, Cooper betrays an underline racist agenda, much like the opinions of his own protagonists, which comes through in relationship tension and through the inversion of the native tribes, which played into the racist propaganda of the times increasing tension.

    Last of the Mohicans is part of a series which tells the adventures of Hawkeye as the main protagonist. Hawkeye is a white male, who has in a sense, disowned his race and ancestors and lives in the wild with the Mohicans. Yet while Hawkeye seems to see his race in such a bad light to live out in the wild, he takes extreme pride in being a white male. “ “Iroquois, daren’t deny that I am genuine white,” the scout replied, surveying, with secret satisfaction, the faded color of his bony and sinewy hand” (23).* While his best friends are Native Americans, Hawkeye still acts as if he is above them, more evolved, because he is a white man. During racial arguments, Hawkeye always draws attention to his race, demonstrating that it is of such great importance to his personal identity and something of which others must be made aware of. Even though he has left the settled life of a white man he has not ultimately left behind the white man’s philosophy on Native Americans and those who are mixed race. “I am not a prejudiced man…” (23). This is always Hawkeye’s way to start a conversation. It is a method he uses to smooth over the conversation right before be goes into how he is genuine white and above them. No one ever comments on this or corrects Hawkeye of his ways showing that it is not something that he should be ashamed of or in any way wrong. “But neither the Mohicans, nor I, who am a white man without a cross, can explain the cry we heard” (59). I find it interesting that instead of saying we, Hawkeye uses the Mohicans and I. Again, “No Indian myself, but a man without a cross” (126). He makes a point to separate himself from them. He is a white man, not a Native American. Also he points out that not only is he white, but he is without a cross. Here I think it can be implied that it means that he is pure white, his bloodline has not been crossed with any other race. He uses this as a status of power, inserting himself carefully above the Native Americans and those of mixed race. Is this how Cooper then sees the hierarchy of people, that those with a pure white bloodline are above the rest? That they are better than everyone else? I believe in a way this is how Cooper feels, if not why would he write a whole series on Hawkeye, allowing him to spew his propaganda about how whites are above all the rest. It is then interesting to look at how Cooper displays characters that aren’t pure white.

    Cora the heroin of the story is actually of mixed race decadency, her father is white, and her mother was from the Caribbean. “You scorn to mingle the blood of the Heywards with one so degraded-lovely and virtuous though she be?” (161). When Heyward goes to Colonel Munro to ask one of his daughters hand in marriage Munro is shocked and calls Heyward racist for picking his daughter with fair skin instead of his eldest darker skinned daughter. Heyward’s embarrassment and shock come through but he realizes in a way that is why he doesn’t desire Cora, because of how he was raised to look down on those of mixed race. Yet Cora is ultimately the center of desire for two Native Americans, Uncas and Magua. Near the end of the book I would have guessed that the novel would end happily with Cora and Uncas remaining together despite the fact that Uncas is a Native American and Cora of mixed decadency. Ultimately, we see the collapse of every character in the love triangle however, love is not lost! Alice and Heyward having both survived the final battle are deeply in love. Their relationship is allowed to flourish and grow as they both take their experiences back to civilization, leaving the wild, savage forest behind. Cooper in allowing the relationship of Alice and Heyward to thrive while that of Uncas and Cora is doomed reveals his thoughts on mixed race relationships. Mixed race relationships or even that between a civilized person and a savage person are doomed to fail. They can’t happen or he may even mean to say that they shouldn’t be allowed to occur. Cooper even goes as far to say that even in heaven the lovers will not be together:

    “Say to these kind and gentle females, that a heartbroken and failing man returns them his thanks. Tell him, that the Being we all worship, under different names, will be mindful of their charity; and that the time shall not be distant when we may assemble around his throne without distinction of sex, or rank, or color.” The scout listened to the tremulous voice… “To tell them this,” he said, “would be to tell them that the snows come not in winter, or the sun shines fiercest when the trees are stripped of their leaves.” (360-61)
    From Hawkeye’s point of view, even in heaven there is apartheid, which means there is no way that the lovers will ever be happy together in heaven or on earth. This again is where the racism of Cooper’s time comes seeping through the pages of the novel. Mixed race relationships were greatly frowned upon, even considered illegal in that time.

    Copper while trying to display the book as anti-racist by making Uncas and Cora, both who aren’t white, his heroes, he underneath the main plot creates this racism that mirrors that of the 1820s. “And I tell you that he who is born a Mingo will die a Mingo” (31). Only a couple of chapters into the book and Cooper already shows his true colors about how he feels about the Native Americans. There is no redemption for them, they cannot move up the totem pole of class structure, they are born low-class Native Americans and will die that way. Cooper actually inverts the native tribes in the book from that in history. During the French and Indian War, the Mohicans was actually paired with the French, not the British, and the Iroquois were paired with the British. In historical context the Mohicans were actually the villains and the Iroquois the heroes but that is not the case in the book. So why did Cooper have this role reversal? While it may seem like an innocent difference it actually has very racial implications. When Cooper’s book was published was the time of Native American removal. During this time, the tribe that the country was trying to move was mainly the Iroquois tribe. Here is where we see the propaganda that Cooper displayed. He makes the Iroquois in the book the villain, which in turn causes people to be less sympathetic of their cause and makes people more likely to support the Native American removal.
    “The pale-faces are the masters of the earth, and the time of the redmen has not yet come again. My day has been too long. In the morning I saw the sons of Unamis happy and strong; and yet, before the night has come, have I lived to see the last warrior of the wise race of the Mohicans” (363-64).
    In the end the Native Americans left decide that it is time to move on, it is the white man’s turn to thrive. This is the solution Cooper paints to the Native American removal and shows his support to the cause. They should want to leave. They no longer have a key influence to the making of the world. The Native American tribes should just move on and do what the white man says for they no longer have a place in history.

    “Mislike me not for my complexion.” A bold statement that Cooper inserts on the front pages of the book yet tears apart as the reader dives deeper into the novel. The head note can be compared to Hawkeye stating, “I am not a prejudice man…” right before he says something racist. This is Cooper’s way to smooth over the racism that he displays in his novel. With Hawkeye as his main character in this series he can be thought of as having Cooper’s own thoughts on race, interracial relationships, and the Native American removal. Cooper allows the racism of the current time seep through as propaganda in the book and destroying any anti-racist plot that he tried to display in his novel.

    This review is actually a paper I am writing for class and in the editing stages :)

    UPDATE This was a paper for class and I got the grade back today and received a 3.8, one of the higher grades in the class!


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