The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper depicts the massacre of British troops by the French in the French and Indian War. Author’s Purpose
In this historical fiction novel, James Fenimore Cooper both amuses and acquaints the reader with a build on the romantic fiction of captivity, sexuality, and heroism. His readers also learn of how the French and Indians massacred the British at Fort William Henry. Plot
In 1757, during the French and Indian War in Colonial North America Cora and Alice, Commander Munro’s daughters, are escorted by Major Duncan Heyward out of Fort Edward to visit their father at Fort William Henry. An Indian runner, Magua, acts as their guide, but leads them onto the wrong path. He wishes to capture the women and make one of them, Cora, his wife, in order to get revenge on Commander Munro, who had previously mistreated and embarrassed him. Throughout their journey, they meet David Gamut, Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas (the last two of the Mohican tribe). When Hawkeye informs them that Magua is a traitor, he escapes into the forest. They realize that Magua will seek of his companions and search for them, and from then, the chase is on. The entire plot then revolves around the clash between these two parties. The chase continues through vibrant descriptions of forests, swirling waters, caves, and Indian villages because of Cooper’s transcendentalist style of writing. Magua chases the group and captures Duncan, Cora, Alice, and David. Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye rescue them and later unite the girls with their father. They then face the danger of the French, who have captured Fort William Henry. Magua strikes again and kills all the men, women, and children he can except for Cora and Alice, along with David who was acting as their escort. The two Mohicans and Hawkeye try to rescue them but fail and Uncas, Magua, and Cora die tragically after the attempted battle against the Huron Indians. Characters
Hawkeye- Frontier hero who is a character that mixes elements of different cultures and provides a link between Indians and whites. Uncas- A noble, self-possessed surviving Mohican who falls in love with Cora Munro and suffers tragic consequences for desiring a forbidden interracial coupling. Cora- a solemn girl with a noble bearing who suffers the same tragic fate as Uncas. Magua- the novel’s villain, he is a cunning Huron nicknamed Le Renard Subtil, or the Subtle Fox. Structure
This novel’s structure is based on chronological order. The reader follows the events occurring during the middle of the French and Indian War all the way up to the massacre of British troops on August 9th, 1757. Prior Knowledge
Before reading the Last of the Mohicans, I was familiar with the French and Indian War through history class. The massacre of the British troops was a landmark turning point event in history in my eyes because if the British would’ve won the war they may have possibly been in control of North America today. Also I am familiar with Cooper’s transcendentalist views and style of writing. Notwithstanding the importance of nature and the American frontier back in his time. Influence
After reading about the French and Indian War and cultural and social differences surrounding the novel I learned two things. First, Cooper values the detailed depiction of nature and connection of yourself to the things around you. This affects me because I enjoy reading about his detailed depictions of nature and I agree that you should always follow the virtues of mind, body, and spirit as one. Last, the book talks about racial inequality of some and equality of others. I feel that I learned a valuable lesson, that lesson is no matter what you look like on the outside you can all be the same on the inside. Research Plan
After reading this enthralling historical fiction novel I am very interested in learning more. First, I would like to research one of Hawkeye’s most insistent...