What can one say about Cooper His historical imagination is profound, his creative use of the gothic landscape is uniquely American, and his influence on plot and characterization in American fiction including, I recently discovered, South American fiction is pervasive and extensive Yet his diction is so often trite, his style so plodding and crabbed, his syntax so convoluted, that it is difficult to read than a few pages of The Last of the Mohicans without throwing the book across the room in disgust.That s a pity, for Cooper helped shape an early and influential interpretation of American history later adopted by the narrative historian and formidable literary stylist Francis Parkman that combines an elegiac appreciation for a disappearing wilderness, a wilderness which helped to shape and define the American character, with a critical examination of how that character in its turn formed the emerging democratic state He shows us how Protestant middle class English values are suited to egalitarianism than the aristocrat instincts of the Catholic French, and embodies this egalitarianism and spirit of the wilderness in the character of the scout Hawkeye Hawkeye is an offshoot of Protestant New England, raised in the forest and purged of the petty theological distractions of Christianity the man without a cross He knows the secrets of the wilderness and appreciates Native Americans just as they are, acknowledging both their nobility and their savagery He also understands the British soldiers and settlers, but, although he can move effortlessly between the two worlds, he is never completely comfortable in either He lends his talents to others, but, remaining a solitary even in communion, he cuts his own path through the trees.There you have it America s first Western hero, the father of such true hearted stalwarts as dime novel Buffalo Bill and radio s The Lone Ranger, as well as the sire of such complicated incarnations as John Wayne s Ethan Edwards and Clint Eastwood s Will Munny And let s not forget such bastard offspring as Cormac McCarthy s Judge Holden and Ishmael Reed s The Loop Garoo Kid.Quite a legacy indeed If only his books weren t so badly written, his originality and vision would have earned him a place in the American pantheon right up there with Hawthorne and Poe. Cooper was a prolific writer with something like 40 novels to his credit, most written in the early 19th century The Last of the Mohicans is his best known work and was popular in America as well as Europe It s a frontier adventure story with a hint of romance to it, but Cooper s portrayal of Indians and women in the novel, considered shallow and inaccurate by todays readers, detract from it s image My interest in the novel was from an historical viewpoint It is based loosely on events that occurred during the French and Indian War, and provides an insight into the influence of the British and French occupation prior to the Revolutionary War Cooper s writing style is somewhat laborious which has kept me from reading any of his other novels I gave it 4 stars because of it s significance and position in the history of American Literature. Very popular in its time, The Last of the Mohicans is a historical fiction written in the 1820s and set in the 1750s during the French and Indian War in which a small party of British colonists and their Indian guides journey through the upstate New York wilderness defending themselves from their French and Indian enemies James Feni Cooper brought insight into the lives of the Native Americans in a way seldom seen at a time when the people of these many new world tribes were mostly reviled as hostile savages Back when it was published The Last of the Mohicans must have seemed revolutionary Were it tweaked into the non fiction Cooper half seemed to be trying to write, perhaps it would ve succeeded, if it s inaccuracies could ve been shorn up, that is.But it is a fiction and today its formulaic prose does not go down easily for the modern reader Archaic terms and phrasings aside, Cooper wrote like a grammar robot He adheres to English language strictures like a foreigner His rigid style absolutely takes the joy out of what should be an exciting tale And why use one word when five are available Wordiness digs this poor book s grave ever deeper.The other big problem I had was Cooper s narrative style Not only does he feel the need to explain away everything, he forces the explanation into the mouths of his characters at the most ridiculous of times Soldiers and scouts constantly chatter away while tracking enemies or hiding from them By the end it got so unbelievable that I found myself having sarcastic conversations with the characters Do you see that dastardly Huron spying on us there mayhaps two rods ahead in yonder verdant undergrowth asked Hawkeye The one in the bushes thirty feet away that can probably hear us talking Yeah, I replied before pausing to ask, How is it you ve survived this long Note For many years now I d heard bad things about this book and I m not sure I would ve read it, but then someone double dog dared me I of course scoffed at the mere double However they then triple dog dared me, the fiend Game onGAMEON I was always a big fan of the 1992 Michael Mann film starring Daniel Day Lewis, and so I finally read the original First of all, that movie is loosely based upon the book and it turns out Mann never even read the original but based his film on the 1936 film script Cooper published the work in 1826 so there is that florid, adjective laden prose that reads like a thesaurus smeared with molasses But for its time I can see how it was viewed as a masterpiece and can definitely see how so much literature since has been influenced by this story Was Hawkeye the original American hero Independent, resourceful, rugged and casually violent, he may have been the archetype for many literary characters and may have done much to influence American culture as well The book is also graphically violent, several scenes could have been lifted from a Cormack McCarthy novel, but Cooper was probably portraying an accurate depiction of a rough time. Have you ever wondered what life was like during the American frontier era of the early 1800 s, before civilization encroached upon its wildness and beauty If so, you might consider reading this first book in Cooper s Leatherstocking Tales Cooper s account was realistic and informative as he had a first hand knowledge of that time and place.His life would be be lived on the edge of civilization in the American frontier town of Cooperstown, New York, founded by his father I m not going to say that this book was easy reading, but with a little patience you will learn much of the unspoiled American frontier with Cooper s exact and fascinating descriptions of the flora and fauna.Until the invention of a time machine, I will have to content myself with Cooper s detailed account of life in the primeval America frontier Cooper tells of the harmonious lifestyle of the Native Americans, living off the land and their respect for nature I ve often wondered what life would be like living off the land in such a manner so I found reading this book a learning experience in that aspect as well.Cooper s knowledge of the Native American lifestyle and its destruction with the advancement of civilization, is also related in this classic book Decimated by disease and intermingling with the white race removed their way of life forever The noble Chingachgook and his beloved son Uncas, together with his adopted son Natty Bumppo, better known as Hawkeye, are the last pure blood natives of the Mohican nation They are making their way to Kentucky to find a wife for young Uncas Their mission is interrupted by the French and Indian War which will irrevocably change their way of life forever As they discover a ravaged frontier settlement with all the inhabitants savagely murdered, they soon learn that their Huron enemies are responsible for this heinous attack They continue their journey cautiously and arrive just in time to save a regiment of English soldiers under attack from the Huron nation The Hurons under the leadership of Magua have allied themselves with the French army The English regiment, lead by the tiresome Major Duncan Heywood, along with the Munro sisters, making their way to Fort William Henry and are the only survivors of the Huron assault They have no idea that Fort William Henry is under attack, as Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas, attempt to safely deliver the Munro sisters to their father From this point onward, this threesome s intrepid attempts to save the Munro sisters from Magua and his Huron warriors will take your breath away Their journey to safety makes this classic a harrowing tale of action adventure The end of this sad tale has the ancient Chingachgook the only surviving member of the Mohican nation, which Cooper uses to illustrate the advancement and destruction by civilization upon the primeval American forest and the beauty that once existed.The tragic Chingachgook will break your heart as he accepts the destruction of his family, tribe and way of life, as the last living member of the Mohican nation He patiently looks forward to the day when he will once again rejoin them in the afterlife Could any fate be heartrending Cooper s classic Leatherstocking tales, consisting of 5 books, relate the adventures of Natty Bumppo, which would become popular in America as well as Europe Whether or not you are a fan of historical fiction, I wish you would give this book a chance at least.For those interested, I m posting a link to the hypnotic soundtrack, which also has a cult following.https www.youtube.com watch v 4iyLphttps www.youtube.com watch v aVjwBhttps www.youtube.com watch v 2O40qEnjoy Plot 1 Hack your way through the forest 2 Get ambushed by Mohicans 3 Kill a bunch of Mohicans 4 Hack your way through forest 5 There are those damn Mohicans again 6 Kill a bunch Mohicans 7 start over at 1.Somebody explain to me how this ever got to be a classic. The Wild Rush Of Action In This Classic Frontier Adventure Story Has Made The Last Of The Mohicans The Most Popular Of James Feni Cooper S Leatherstocking Tales Deep In The Forests Of Upper New York State, The Brave Woodsman Hawkeye Natty Bumppo And His Loyal Mohican Friends Chingachgook And Uncas Become Embroiled In The Bloody Battles Of The French And Indian War The Abduction Of The Beautiful Munro Sisters By Hostile Savages, The Treachery Of The Renegade Brave Magua, The Ambush Of Innocent Settlers, And The Thrilling Events That Lead To The Final Tragic Confrontation Between Rival War Parties Create An Unforgettable, Spine Tingling Picture Of Life On The Frontier And As The Idyllic Wilderness Gives Way To The Forces Of Civilization, The Novel Presents A Moving Portrayal Of A Vanishing Race And The End Of Its Way Of Life In The Great American Forests Mislike me not, for my complexion, the sad owed livery of the burnished sun When you first open Last of the Mohicans, by James Feni Cooper this is one of the first things you read This quote from Shakespeare seems to state that the book will not show the racist tendencies of the time, but display the different races in equal light While writing a historical fiction, being a completely anti racist novel is not possible but Cooper seems to state with his head note that the color of skin does not matter Despite the surface level image of a heroic narrative of Native Americans, Cooper betrays an underline racist agenda, much like the opinions of his own protagonists, which comes through in relationship tension and through the inversion of the native tribes, which played into the racist propaganda of the times increasing tension Last of the Mohicans is part of a series which tells the adventures of Hawkeye as the main protagonist Hawkeye is a white male, who has in a sense, disowned his race and ancestors and lives in the wild with the Mohicans Yet while Hawkeye seems to see his race in such a bad light to live out in the wild, he takes extreme pride in being a white male Iroquois, daren t deny that I am genuine white, the scout replied, surveying, with secret satisfaction, the faded color of his bony and sinewy hand 23 While his best friends are Native Americans, Hawkeye still acts as if he is above them, evolved, because he is a white man During racial arguments, Hawkeye always draws attention to his race, demonstrating that it is of such great importance to his personal identity and something of which others must be made aware of Even though he has left the settled life of a white man he has not ultimately left behind the white man s philosophy on Native Americans and those who are mixed race I am not a prejudiced man 23 This is always Hawkeye s way to start a conversation It is a method he uses to smooth over the conversation right before be goes into how he is genuine white and above them No one ever comments on this or corrects Hawkeye of his ways showing that it is not something that he should be ashamed of or in any way wrong But neither the Mohicans, nor I, who am a white man without a cross, can explain the cry we heard 59 I find it interesting that instead of saying we, Hawkeye uses the Mohicans and I Again, No Indian myself, but a man without a cross 126 He makes a point to separate himself from them He is a white man, not a Native American Also he points out that not only is he white, but he is without a cross Here I think it can be implied that it means that he is pure white, his bloodline has not been crossed with any other race He uses this as a status of power, inserting himself carefully above the Native Americans and those of mixed race Is this how Cooper then sees the hierarchy of people, that those with a pure white bloodline are above the rest That they are better than everyone else I believe in a way this is how Cooper feels, if not why would he write a whole series on Hawkeye, allowing him to spew his propaganda about how whites are above all the rest It is then interesting to look at how Cooper displays characters that aren t pure white Cora the heroin of the story is actually of mixed race decadency, her father is white, and her mother was from the Caribbean You scorn to mingle the blood of the Heywards with one so degraded lovely and virtuous though she be 161 When Heyward goes to Colonel Munro to ask one of his daughters hand in marriage Munro is shocked and calls Heyward racist for picking his daughter with fair skin instead of his eldest darker skinned daughter Heyward s embarrassment and shock come through but he realizes in a way that is why he doesn t desire Cora, because of how he was raised to look down on those of mixed race Yet Cora is ultimately the center of desire for two Native Americans, Uncas and Magua Near the end of the book I would have guessed that the novel would end happily with Cora and Uncas remaining together despite the fact that Uncas is a Native American and Cora of mixed decadency Ultimately, we see the collapse of every character in the love triangle however, love is not lost Alice and Heyward having both survived the final battle are deeply in love Their relationship is allowed to flourish and grow as they both take their experiences back to civilization, leaving the wild, savage forest behind Cooper in allowing the relationship of Alice and Heyward to thrive while that of Uncas and Cora is doomed reveals his thoughts on mixed race relationships Mixed race relationships or even that between a civilized person and a savage person are doomed to fail They can t happen or he may even mean to say that they shouldn t be allowed to occur Cooper even goes as far to say that even in heaven the lovers will not be together Say to these kind and gentle females, that a heartbroken and failing man returns them his thanks Tell him, that the Being we all worship, under different names, will be mindful of their charity and that the time shall not be distant when we may assemble around his throne without distinction of sex, or rank, or color The scout listened to the tremulous voice To tell them this, he said, would be to tell them that the snows come not in winter, or the sun shines fiercest when the trees are stripped of their leaves 360 61 From Hawkeye s point of view, even in heaven there is apartheid, which means there is no way that the lovers will ever be happy together in heaven or on earth This again is where the racism of Cooper s time comes seeping through the pages of the novel Mixed race relationships were greatly frowned upon, even considered illegal in that time Copper while trying to display the book as anti racist by making Uncas and Cora, both who aren t white, his heroes, he underneath the main plot creates this racism that mirrors that of the 1820s And I tell you that he who is born a Mingo will die a Mingo 31 Only a couple of chapters into the book and Cooper already shows his true colors about how he feels about the Native Americans There is no redemption for them, they cannot move up the totem pole of class structure, they are born low class Native Americans and will die that way Cooper actually inverts the native tribes in the book from that in history During the French and Indian War, the Mohicans was actually paired with the French, not the British, and the Iroquois were paired with the British In historical context the Mohicans were actually the villains and the Iroquois the heroes but that is not the case in the book So why did Cooper have this role reversal While it may seem like an innocent difference it actually has very racial implications When Cooper s book was published was the time of Native American removal During this time, the tribe that the country was trying to move was mainly the Iroquois tribe Here is where we see the propaganda that Cooper displayed He makes the Iroquois in the book the villain, which in turn causes people to be less sympathetic of their cause and makes people likely to support the Native American removal The pale faces are the masters of the earth, and the time of the redmen has not yet come again My day has been too long In the morning I saw the sons of Unamis happy and strong and yet, before the night has come, have I lived to see the last warrior of the wise race of the Mohicans 363 64 In the end the Native Americans left decide that it is time to move on, it is the white man s turn to thrive This is the solution Cooper paints to the Native American removal and shows his support to the cause They should want to leave They no longer have a key influence to the making of the world The Native American tribes should just move on and do what the white man says for they no longer have a place in history Mislike me not for my complexion A bold statement that Cooper inserts on the front pages of the book yet tears apart as the reader dives deeper into the novel The head note can be compared to Hawkeye stating, I am not a prejudice man right before he says something racist This is Cooper s way to smooth over the racism that he displays in his novel With Hawkeye as his main character in this series he can be thought of as having Cooper s own thoughts on race, interracial relationships, and the Native American removal Cooper allows the racism of the current time seep through as propaganda in the book and destroying any anti racist plot that he tried to display in his novel.This review is actually a paper I am writing for class and in the editing stages UPDATE This was a paper for class and I got the grade back today and received a 3.8, one of the higher grades in the class Man alive, I hated that book Again, I procrastinated and tried to jam the whole book into one weekend, since I had an oral book review due on Monday for history or social studies or something God, why can t I even remember the name of the class My sister will know It was in high school, junior year, and the teacher who later became our mayor wtf was totally hot Balding, tan, charismatic, awesome Every summer, he d mow his yard Shirtless Good god, y all And he had a daughter in my grade, so he was totally in the Old Enough To Be Your Dad zone, which was creepy and yet completely awesome when you re 16 or 17 and crushing like crazy on him, which half of everybody was So anyway Read this book as one of the required oral book reviews in his class, which was a before or after class thing, one on one, which made me want to crawl into a hole and die from nerves, since it was him Totally great.None of this made the book any good The movie was better Go watch the movie The book would spend like 25 pages on describing crap like what every freakin stone and pebble looked like while going down a path omg zzzzzzzzzz In conclusion Book report with hot teacher which makes you think of that Lolita y song by The Police Awesome Picking this book for it Not so much. This is another famous book that most people only seem to know through the movie version While the movie was quite good the book is truly a wonder First a little bit of real history during 1755, in the middle of the French Indian Wars, Sir William Johnson decided to build a Fort in the New York province The Fort it s still there and worth visiting was built to control the important inland waterway from New York City to Montreal, and occupied a key forward location on the frontier between New York and New France If you happen to see the Fort you will notice that Fort William Henry is designed in an irregular square fortification with bastions on the corners, in a design that was intended to repel Indian attacks, but not necessarily withstand attack from an enemy armed with artillery such as the French The fort was surrounded on three sides by a dry moat, with the fourth side sloping down to the lake The only access to the fort was by a bridge across the moat It housed about 400 500 soldiers In 1757 Col George Monro with the 35th Foot Regular and the 60th Royal American Foot occupied the Fort In August of 1757 French forces totaling some 8,000 soldiers, consisting of 3,000 regulars, 3,000 militia and nearly 2,000 Native Americans from various tribes laid siege to the Fort Due to the inability or some have deemed it cowardice of General Webb in not sending reinforcements, Col Monro had no other recourse than to surrender Allowed the full honors of war which means the British can keep their arms and unit colors the weapons can not be loaded ammunition must be left behind they couldn t engage in hostilities with French forces for 18 months and an exchange of prisoners the British marched out of the Fort and were promptly massacred by the Indian forces of the French This is something of a black mark for the French commander Montcalm, who had responsibility for their safety according to the Laws of War Sadly, in reality, Laws of war tend to be a ridiculous construct of civilians and tend to come into existence post incident But I digress this book has this event and historical situation as its backdrop.This is the story of the famous Anglo scout Hawkeye and his Mohican companions Chingachook and Uncas father and son As Col Monro s daughters run into Magua a Huron scout in the service of France What follows is a heroic tale of Hawkeye and his companions racing to protect the women and their two British companions I will not spoil the plot it is worth reading What makes this book shine isn t the plot but rather the background America when it was a new nation and covered in unexplored, by the British, wilderness This world does not exist any save in these pages of Cooper s magnificent novel Take a trip to an America of the past and revel in the descriptions of familiar locales that are nothing like what they were in the past It is a truly wonderful book that tells an exciting story, yet the setting the vast American wilderness and the Native Americans who people it are what make this a classic Highly recommended to any one that appreciates good literature.
Susan Feni Cooper was also a writer.Series
- 410 pages
- The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757
- James Fenimore Cooper
- 05 June 2019 James Fenimore Cooper