, Research Paper
The Hutter Sisters in The Deerslayer
The two Hutter sisters, in Cooper s The Deerslayer, are complements of each other. The two women differ in ideals and intellect. Judith, the more beautiful daughter, starts the novel with a promiscuous reputation, changes her immoral ways, and in the end returns to her life with men. Her motive to become a better Christian is her love for the Natty Bumppo. Judith is willing to change her ways in order to gain the love of Bumppo. He does not return her love, which sends her back to her unchristian way of life. Hetty, on the other hand, is a good Christian who preaches her values to everyone in the novel. Unlike Judith, she is not beautiful but plain. Her simple mindedness keeps her Christian values strong. Her plain features and simple mind keep her from wandering away from immoral actions. Her strong Christian faith in the end endangers Bumppo, because she is unable to lie and see the necessity of trickery during the time of war. Judith helps Bumppo by using her beauty and intellect.
Judith Hutter, as Hurry Harry describes, is the coquettish daughter of Tom Hutter. She is a woman who is materialistic, but has a strong intellect. When Natty Bumppo first sees her room he describes her belongings as, of a quality much superior to what one would expect to meet in such a place, with ribbons, and other similar articles to correspond. Pretty shoes, with handsome silver buckles, such as were then worn by females in easy circumstances in a way to catch the eye by their conceits and hues. This description of Judith s belongings is an accurate description of Judith s character. Judith is superior because of her education. She reads and writes, which in the end makes Bumppo feel a relationship between them would be unmatched. Her intellect is far more superior to the intellect of other women raised in the frontier. Not only is she smart, but she is extraordinarily beautiful. Her beauty attracts many suitors, which gives her a negative reputation. She is also a strong woman who lives for herself. This is apparent when she rejects Hurry Harry s proposals for marriage.
Judith falls in love for Bumppo, which causes her to try to follow the straight moral path Bumppo believes in. She claims that she would rather live in nature with Bumppo, which Bumppo says is a school to set her mind right ag in, instead of living in civilized towns. “He’s worth a million Hurrys! Yes, he s worth all the young men who ever came upon the lake put together he is true. There is no lie about the Deerslayer. She admires his moral character over Hurry Harry s ideal manliness. This shows she is willing to look beyond her materialistic ways for Bumppo. She is willing to change her ways in order to appeal to Bumppo. Her love for Bumppo causes her to try to protect him. When Bumppo is a prisoner in the Mingo camp, Judith declares to Hetty, ” tortured he shall not be, while Judith Hutter lives and can find means to prevent it.
Judith’s strength and independence is evident when she helps the group defend themselves against the Mingos. As a Mingo chief lands on the deck of the boat, “Judith rushed from the cabin, her beauty heightened by the excitement that produced the bold act, which flushed her cheek to crimson; throwing all her strength into the effort, she pushed the intruder over the edge of the scow. Later, as the Deerslayer speaks to a young scout, “the keen eyes of Judith were as vigilant as ever. She warns Bumppo, Be on your guard, Deerslayer I see rifles, with the glass, beneath the hemlock brush, and the Iroquois is loosening them with his feet! With out this warning, the Mingos would kill Hurry Harry and Tom Hutter.
The canoe ride back to the castle after Hetty speaks to the Mingos proves Judith’s skill in the wild. She rows “with a skill little short of that of a man. When the Mingos chase Judith and Hetty in their canoe, the Mingos fear the disgrace of being baffled by women. When the girls return to the castle, Judith approached it with extreme caution. She then uses her wits and sends Hetty in first, Do go into the house, Hetty and see that the savages are gone. They will not harm you; and if any of them are still here, you can give me the alarm. She knows the Mingos see Hetty as gifted because of her simple mind; she knows the Mingos will not harm Hetty.
Hetty is simple minded, which allows her to live completely by Christian ethics. She looks down upon the Mingos as well as the whites when it comes to acting against Christian ways. She sees no difference between men when it comes to Christian values. When the Mingos capture Bumppo, after he killed the Panther, Hetty appears. Hetty questions Bumppo, Why did you kill the Huron, Deerslayer Don t you know your commandments, which say, Thou shalt not kill! Hetty does not sympathize with Bumppo. She does not take into consideration he reasons for killing, she just sees the fact that he killed, which is against the Christian belief. Bumppo knows that he had to save his life and knows that he has not done wrong, as he states, many things are lawful in war which would be onlawful in peace.
Hetty s simple and honest ways lead her to help the group in many ways. The Mingos will not harm Hetty because of her simple mindedness, so she often speaks to the Mingos whenever the groups need to communicate. During the event when the Mingos capture Bumppo, Hetty unintentionally puts Bumppo in more danger. When Judith comes to the Mingo site dressed in finery and tells the Mingos that she is a woman of power, Rivenoak is not swayed. He sees something odd about the performance of Judith and asks Hetty about her. Hetty, unable to lie, tells the Mingos, That s my sister Judith, Thomas Hutter s daughter-Thomas Hutter, whom you call the Muskrat. During the same event, Hetty endangers Bumppo again because of her simple mindedness. Hetty is unable to pass the knife Hist gives her to Bumppo secretively. The small keen-edged knife was passed into the hands of Hetty, as the safest and least suspected medium of transferring it to the Deerslayer. But the feeble intellect of the last defeated the well-grounded hopes of all three. Hetty unable to understand the plan with the knife did not do what the others wanted, which was to give the knife to the Deerslayer, but she tried to cut the ropes herself. While trying to cut the ropes, she did not conceal herself and the Mingos caught her.
The two women have specific roles in The Deerslayer. Hetty has her Christian ways, and serves as a voice of Christianity. Judith is a sophisticated woman who makes a full circle in the novel. After Hetty s death, Judith returns with Captain Warley to the fort. Cooper alludes that she will return to living with men in sin. The novel then proves his prediction when Bumppo returns to Glimmerglass later and hears from the soldiers that Captain Warley is with a woman abroad and they are not married. Judith goes back to sin, and Hetty s death brings her to heaven.