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The Last of the Mohicans


The Last of the Mohicans
The Last of the Mohicans, written by James Fenimore Cooper, does not have a traditional plot structure, as the plot revolves around action. None of the characters are developed, for the tale is action-oriented. In this novel, Cooper brings in his

two favorite characters from the Leatherstocking tales, Natty Bumppo (Hawkeye) and Chingachgook, to play major roles in the book. However, both these characters are merely a part of the adventure saga and do not have the plot revolving around them. Uncas, the man after whom the book is named, also fits into the story as part of the action, though, again, he is not the center of the tale. Although the characters are brave and virtuous, they are not epic heroes, but ordinary mortals involved in an adventure saga. Action is the essence of the novel and the characters are merely incidental. Nature functions both literally and metaphorically in The Last of the Mohicans. In its literal form, nature is the physical frontier that surrounds the characters and complicates their battles and their chances for survival. In the opening paragraphs of Chapter 1, Cooper describes the unpredictability of the colonial terrain, pointing out that the cleared, flat battlefields of Europe are no longer the setting for war. The New World has a new set of natural difficulties, and the men at war must contend not just with each other but with the unfriendly land. The forbidding landscape seems even more daunting to the English because their adversaries, the Indians loyal to France, know the land so well. The skills of the English have no place in the forest of America. David Gamut's religious Calvinism, a European religion, becomes ridiculous in the wilderness. Metaporically, the land serves as a blank canvas on which the characters paint themselves. Cooper defines characters by their relationship to nature. Hawkeye establishes his claim to heroism by respecting the landscape. While he means well, his unfamiliarity with the wilderness thwarts him. Magua uses the landscape to carry out his villainy, hiding women in caves, jumping wildly over abysses, and hiding behind rocks.In The Last of the Mohicans, no single person can be identified as the

protagonist, not even the actual last of the Mohicans, Uncas. It is rather the entire party of good characters. Duncan, Hawkeye, Cora, Alice, Uncas, Chingachgook and even David have all the characteristics of heroes. They are brave, practical, and very loyal. They face many hardships, yet remain determined and firm. They fight their enemies with courage and shrewdness and that is why the entire group of these brave men and women can be termed as the protagonists. In The Last of the Mohicans, no single person can be identified as the protagonist, not even the actual last of the Mohicans, Uncas. It is rather the entire party of good characters. Duncan, Hawkeye, Cora, Alice, Uncas, Chingachgook and even David have all the characteristics of heroes. They are brave, practical, and very loyal. They face many hardships, yet remain determined and firm. They fight their enemies with courage and shrewdness and that is why the entire group of these brave men and women can be termed as the protagonists. The antagonist is none other than Magua. He is determined to take revenge on Munro by marrying his daughter Cora and making her his wife. He is extremely courageous and, despite many setbacks, continues to attack the protagonists. He is a man who is not loyal to anybody. When he does pledge his loyalty to any side, it is purely for his own selfish reasons. He uses his remarkable oratory skills to whip up the passions of his people, but he does so in order to serve his own purposes. The climax of The Last of the Mohicans occurs in Chapter 32. After a fierce battle in which the protagonists and the Delawares defeat Magua and the Hurons, Magua and two of his men escape with Cora and are tracked to the edge of a cliff. Cora refuses to continue on, and Magua demands that she choose between his wigwam and his knife. As he hesitantly raises the blade, Uncas leaps at him. Meanwhile, a Huron stabs Cora in the bosom, Uncas kills Cora's assailant before being killed by Magua. Magua leaps away, jumping from one cliff to another and mocking his enemies. He loses his step and nearly falls off one cliff, but manages to hang onto a shrub on its edge. Just as he is recovering, however, Hawkeye raises the muzzle of his gun and shoots Magua, who slips to his death. The outcome is tragic, for although the treacherous Magua is vanquished by

Hawkeye, both Cora and Uncas die. Cora is killed by her assailant and Uncas, the last of the Mohicans, is killed by the evil Magua. The Last of the Mohicans is an action packed, romantic and adventurous drama, set during the peak of the French and Indian War in America. The English had managed to vanquish most of the native Indians, but there were still some tribes who attempted to maintain their independence. After setting the scene, Cooper begins the story proper. 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 treacherously 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 Munro, who had previously mistreated him. In the course of their journey, they meet David Gamut, Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas, the latter two being the only two survivors of the Mohican tribe. When Hawkeye identifies Magua as a possible traitor, Magua escapes into the forest. The party realizes that Magua will seek out 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 picturesquely described forests, swirling waters, caves, and Indian villages. 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. When the English women and children are being taken to safety, Magua strikes again. He kills all the women and children except Cora and Alice, whom he captures, along with David, who had been acting as their escort. In the meantime, another Indian group, a village of Delawares, is holding Cora captive. Uncas and Hawkeye go to rescue her, but are captured. Magua goes to the tribe to retrieve the prisoners. His plans to capture Hawkeye and Uncas are foiled when it is revealed that Uncas is the last of the Mohicans and a lost chief of the tribe, but since by the laws of the tribe Cora is truly Magua's captive, he is allowed to take her away.


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