The American Hero

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  • Topic: Leatherstocking Tales, James Fenimore Cooper, Hero
  • Pages : 6 (2214 words )
  • Download(s) : 245
  • Published : October 8, 1999
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The American Hero

Every child has fantasy’s of being a super hero and leaping tall buildings in a single bound or staring death in the face everyday and somehow finding a way to escape. All of these imaginative thoughts have been derived from the past literary works by the great writers of the early American literary period. These early writers entered society into a world of action and adventure, where one can see spectacular events unfolding through the eyes of a notorious man of courage and feel as though they are defending there country or saving the woman they love. Though the modern heroes are much more popular than classic American heroes, the modern hero has rooted from these same literary works which once amazed people in the days of old. Because of its popularity, the public pores into movie theaters to see movie-remakes of renown literary works. Natty Bumppo was the first true recognizable American hero. He was looked up to by the masses and is still a popular symbol of the classic hero. Just as Natty Bumppo was the popular hero of his time, Indiana Jones is still the favorite of millions today. Indiana has overshadowed Natty’s success but still contains many of his attributes. The characteristics of the American hero are similar in both Indiana Jones and Natty Bumppo. “An American novelist, travel writer, and social critic, James Fenimore Cooper is regarded as the first great American writer” (Groliers NP). “Cooper began writing at age thirty to demonstrate to his wife that he could write a better novel than the one he was reading to her” (Encarta NP). “In proving this he soon became one of the most successful writers of his time. He was famed for his action-packed plots and his vivid, if somewhat idealized, portrayal of American life in the forest and at sea. He is most noted for the writings of the Leatherstocking Tales. The Leatherstocking Tales are a series of five novels that constitute an epic of the American wilderness. In these novels, Cooper introduces Natty Bumppo, the central character, who embodies the spirit of the frontier in The Deerslayer, The Prairie, The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder, and The Pioneers." (Groliers) Over the years Natty Bumppo has been looked up to by many because of his bravery, honesty, and his will to help people in a time of need. Readers have watched grow and mature as though they were with him the whole time. “In The Deerslayer, Natty is seen as and idealized youth. Natty is later seen wondering through the forest and lonely waters and is confronted by hunters, Indians, and the hostile Europeans” (Groliers NP). This is an example of Natty encountering physical danger. This wilderness scout is the first of his kind in American literature and was seen nowhere before by the American readers. This novel allowed the readers to enter a world where they could relive the Revolutionary War, Indian wars, and battles on the frontier. After The Deer Slayer, Natty Bumppo is seen in The Last of the Mohicans. In this novel, Natty is called Hawkeye because of his ties to the Mohicans. Indians of this time were looked upon as savages, “but Natty has taken unto himself the best of both civilization and so-called savagery” (Cliff Notes 11). Because he made peace with the Indians, he had a mysterious and dangerous quality in the eyes of the reader. In this novel Natty has many close native companions to join him in his endeavors on the frontier. “During the French and Indian Wars, The Legendary woodsman, Natty Bumppo, is know by another famous alias’s, The Pathfinder. His companions in this story is his adoptive Indian father, Chingachgook and the beautiful, Mabel Dunham. They become involved in an attempt to rescue a besieged British fort where he faces danger many times.” (Eonline) “The last novel of the Leatherstocking Tales Natty...
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