Analyze the character of Hawkeye in J.F. Cooper’s novel The Last of the Mohicans. What is his significance in the novel. Explain how Cooper succeeds or fails in making Hewkeye both a believable human being and a mythic symbol.
The main theme that is analyzed in this essay is the characterization of a white man named Hawkeye who has been described as a mythic hero through his characteristics and honorable deeds. In the American classic, The Last of the Mohicans, Cooper presents Hawkeye as a pure white man who has a deep relationship with an Indian named Chingachgook. Hawkeye owns the Indian gifts for he is adopted by the Mohicans’ tribe. Yet, as a white man he also rejects the white society, therefore he has a double bind which is called ‘a man without a cross’. What is more, Hawkeye is presented in different ways, as a symbol of mixed European and Indian cultures, as a mythic hero, skilled hunter or a human being with different internal conflicts. Undoubtedly, Hawkeye is the most significant character presented in the novel. Mann (1998) describes Hawkeye as “tall and slender, lanky and angular, with gray eyes, a low forehead, a wide mouth, straight hair and sunnable skin. These were ominous attributes in Cooper's time” (Mann, Man with a Cross: Hawkeye was a Half-Breed). Cooper presents Hawkeye as a young and strong man in the prime of his life. Hawkeye, as Cooper says, has the eyes of hunter, or scout, which were “small, quick, keen, and restless, roving while he spoke, on every side of him, as if in quest of game, or distrusting the sudden approach of some lurking enemy”(Cooper). His good sight is undoubtedly essential as far as hunting is concerned. His name, Hawkeye derives from ‘hawk’, which is believe to be powerful creature, symbolizes bravery, sharp sight and a warrior. Moreover, he is also called the Long Rifle. Using the rifle masterfully makes him a great shooter, which Cooper describes as follows: “the lightening is not quicker than...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document