James Fenimore Copper: Deerslayer Essay, Research Paper
James Fenimore Copper presents Deerslayer as a man of integrity, virtue, and honor. He is a warrior who lives by his word. Even if the situation places his life in jeopardy, he refuses to abandon what he believes in and what he says he will do. Deerslayer’s greatest display of character and honor is seen when he refuses to compromise his standards even though it threatens his life.
After saving Hist from the Hurons, Deerslayer was taken captive by them. The Hurons respected Deerslayer for his honesty and integrity and therefore treated him accordingly. When the time came for Deerslayer to pay for his crimes the Hurons devised a situation that would spare his life.
To pay for the life Deerslayer took the Indians requested that Deerslayer stay among their people and provide for the fallen Indians family and take the widow for his wife. “Take the gun; go forth and shoot a deer; bring the venison and lay it before the widow…feed her children; call yourself her husband” (Cooper 458).
To take an Indian wife went against Deerslayer’s beliefs and convictions. Marrying a woman outside his religion and traditions would cause him to compromise his morals and standards.
Even though marrying the Indian woman would spare his life he politely objects and refuses their conditions. “I feared this,” answered Deerslayer,…I did dread that it would come to this. He then proceeds to explain to Mingo, “I ‘m white, and Christian – born; ‘twould ill become me to take a wife, under redskin forms, from among the heathen. That which I wouldn’t do in peaceable time…still less would I do behind clouds, in order to save my life” (Cooper 458)
When faced with compromising his standards or eminent death Deerslayer never faltered. He remained dedicated to his principles and personal convictions. Deerslayer’s character remained steadfast and true and displayed ultimate honor when he demonstrated his willingness to die for his beliefs and convictions.