The Mohicans Essay, Research Paper
The Nobel Savage in the Novel The Last of the Mohicans
The novel The Last of the Mohicans is said to be the worst of James Fenimore Coopers novels but it establishes the concept of the Nobel savage by expressing the emotions, concerns, physical descriptions of the main characters while comparing them to the barbarous Huron leader. The Mohicans (Hawk-eye, Uncas, Chingachgook) were on a journey towards Kentucky to live a freer life and escape the violent and indolent wars of the white man. During that time they crossed paths with a group of Huron’s who were battling a small army of British soldiers that were escorting to fort Henry, two beautiful women by the name of Alice and Cora. All died in that gruesome battle except for Alice, Cora, Major Heward and David (a Christian singer from Connecticut Levy). The Hurons who fought for the French were led by the most evil and barbarous leader by the name of Magua who’s goal was to seek revenge upon William Henry for the British killing his family and making his reputation to be lower than the flies. Magua was about to kill the two women when the Mohicans jumped in a saved them. Magua escaped. The Mohicans took upon the duty of escorting Alice and Cora safety to there father only out of good will. During the escort to Fort Henry they stopped at a cave to rest the delicate feet of the two women. During the night they were attacked by Magua and his tribe of savages who were shooting at them from across the river. The Mohicans and the travelers were trapped, out gunned and out of powder Chingachgook, Uncas, and Hawk-eye were forced to jump off a cliff to survive the attack. Left behind was David and Heward to protect Alice and Cora. When the Mohicans returned, they were gone. Thinking they got captured, the Mohicans put off their journey to Kentucky and begun and search for them. James Fenimore Cooper attempts to prove the reader how these people are different from the rest by presenting the reader proof that these people are unique and caring. Later on Alice and Cora get captured by the Hurons. Being forced back to their camp a piece of fabric from Cora’s dress was left on a sapling. Chingachgook found it and replied by yelling out into the sky where is my child. The Mohicans followed the tracks that led to the camp of the Huron’s where they risked all by creeping slowly into the camp to rescue Alice and Cora while a gathering in the meeting hut was taking place. An action like this of such magnitude requires more than an order by a general of sergeant. It requires a love or passion for the thing or object which you are fighting for. Such a scene can also be interpreted as being romantic while the common Indian puts all on the line for a wanted love in his life. Compare this to the grotesque and murderous Huron’s who seem to have no respect for anything. They treat others like dirt and same with the land they live on. Which can be related to the attitude of the whites who use the land for all its riches. The Hurons will kill every beaver, every fox in the land to trade with the white man for pelts and whiskey. The heroic ego of the Mohicans was reinforced by a startling scene during the retreat from Fort William Henry. Magua and his warriors were hidden in the bushes. They ambushed the British soldiers and massacred woman, man and child. During that time the reader will lose every bit of sorrow towards Magua for the troubles he had with the British when they killed his family and sent him into the Mohawk tribe as a slave. At the beginning of the battle, Magua approached a beautiful British woman with an infant snuggled deeply in her arms, he ripped the infant from her and held it up naked by its legs. He then proceeded to smash it against a rock out crop to his side and then threw the distorted body to her feet while he slammed his tomahawk into her head. A scene like this has immense powers in Coopers hands to persuade the reader into believing the Mohicans as being graceful, civilized, heroic and a true representation of the Nobel Savage. The Mohicans fought like they looked, using all their strength and grace which God has given them and others have looked down upon. Chingachgook, the father of Uncas, posses a fierce figure of power. His body gleams in the harsh afternoon sun while he posses the keen senses of the animals “… it arose to an upright position, and his dark eyes glanced swiftly on every side of him.” (pg. 178) During an unexpected night attack, Chingachgook responded: “…his nostrils were expanded, his head was turned a little to one side, as if to assist the organs of hearing and that his quick and rapid glances ran incessantly…”
(pg. 178) Uncas, who gave up his life to attack Magua is described as being graceful, unrestrained while his figure possessed pure in native red, but the most striking feature is “…there was no concealment to his dark, glancing, fearless eye, alike terrible and calm…” (pg. 41) Hawk-eye one of the most heroic characters as seen by his leadership of the group. “…being in any manner deformed…” (pg. 6) “His head was large, his shoulders narrow, his arms long and dangling, while his hands were small, if not delicate.” (pg. 6) Although he is not built he posses the full knowledge of a woodsman and the courage of a warrior as seen by his calmness towards the killing of another man who threatens him. All of the Mohican characters are described as being works of art that directly reflect their actions and views of themselves and others. The novel Last of the Mohicans can be regarded as a work of art for the role of the Natives, story line and vivid imagery. During its time, the novel could have been addressed as being a failure due to Coopers wit and courage to present a story of such magnitude because at that time the concept of a Native being the hero was ridiculous and absolutely absurd. Natives were regarded as servants or animals. James Fenimore Cooper presented a new attitude to a old way of thinking and for that he deserves honour and gratitude.