The Last of the Mohicans
The battle for the rights of the territory in the northern part of America saw France and England go to war in the earlier centuries. The scramble for the northern territory was a strategy to find a solution for overcrowding witnessed in many parts of Europe during the 17th century. During the war, the French troops faced fierce resistance from the English troops who combined forces with the Native American tribes. However, the story focuses more on the interaction between the local Indians and the Englishmen.
James Fenimore Coopers’ “The Last of Mohicans” is one of the narratives written in the historical context of the Indian perspective to portray certain unexpected outcomes during the colonial period. “The Last of Mohicans” is a story by James Fenimore Cooper published in 1826, depicting the role of the Indian natives, portraying the good and the bad sides of Indians. Using his story, Cooper reveals several genres to reflect the real historical events.
Coopers’ story is structured to show events that unfolded, including the massacre at Fort William Henry, revealing how Indians perceived foreigners. The two main Indian figures Uncas and Magua show contrasting perspectives of the role of Indians and also present the main theme which is revenge. The whole story is centered on the massacre at Fort William Henry and the challenges faced by foreigners. Duncan Heyward, the leader of the small band, was charged with the duty to safely deliver Munro’s daughters to another English Fort which becomes the subject of the story.
Cooper merges an extraordinary plot with real-life events that happened at Fort William Henry, to produce an insightful story. Using the main character named Hawkeye, a white man raised by Mohican named Chingachgook after his parents died; he presents several encounters that enhance the story plot. Hawkeye assists an English soldier Duncan Heyward, who was in charge of escorting Lieutenant Colonel Munro’s daughters, Cora and Alice from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry. The band is attacked by the native Indians, Hawkeye saves them. The port is later captured by the French, forcing them to leave. While moving out of the fort, the band is attacked by Indians led by Magua, an Indian chief. Hawkeye escapes with Munro’s daughters, Cora and Alice; however, the two are later captured by Magua.
Chingachgook’s son, Uncas, and Hawkeye go after chief Magua, and during the fight, Uncas and Cora are killed. Because Chingachgook and Uncas were the only Mohicans left, when Uncas died, Chingachgook becomes the last Mohican as suggested by the title. In the story, Cooper focuses on the three characters to show the contrasting views of the native Indians. Uncas is portrayed as a brave warrior with noble character and proud of his roots. In the story, Uncas is a hero because he manages to reach the Huron village to rescue the Munro’s daughters, Cora and Alice after being capture by Magua. At some point, the story shifts to describe the Indian way of life, showing how white men are powerless. It also portrays a world where bravery is a requirement.
The other Indian Cooper describes Magua; he portrays Magua as bad Indian, a hurtles person and a savage. After being exiled by Colonel Munro, Magua wanted to revenge; he threatens to marry his daughter Cora to intimidate Munro. He knew that the idea would terrify the Colonel since white men feared interracial marriage. Initially, Magua wanted to harm Munro’s daughters, but his affection for Cora makes him changes his mind.
Hawkeye becomes the main focus of the story; Cooper uses him as a symbol of hybridity, during the colonial period. Having been raised by a Mohican, Hawkeye demonstrates his skills on several occasions, proving that despite being a white man, he is a Mohican at heart. Hawkeye fights with other Mohicans to show his support for Englishmen. In the end, Hawkeye kills Mauga to revenge Uncas’ death. He considered Uncas as a brother since he was raised by Chingachgook. Despite their different cultural backgrounds, Hawkeye supported the natives.
Although revenge is a common theme in the story, love is one of the themes that enhance the story plot. Hawkeye and Uncas fight for love, Cooper, brings out the European, Indian relations and how the white men change the lives of Indians in a different perspective. The story portrays how it was difficult to overcome racial divided suggesting how interracial interaction was beneficial at the same time dangerous. However, he praised the genuine relations and the friendship witnessed among Hawkeye a white man raised by the Indian natives, and Chingachgook a Mohican Indian.
The shared relationship between these two people surpassed race; this enabled the two to team up to fight against the enemies. Cooper presents his conviction about interracial romance, which is viewed to be undesirable. The interracial love better Cora and Uncas ends up with death while the intermarriage proposed by Mugua to Cora is seen as unnatural. The fact that Cora’s mother was black shows how race played a major role in the story.
Cooper relates the title of his story using Uncas to present the reason for the title “The Last of the Mohicans” the death of Uncas can be interpreted as the death of the Indian culture caused by the encroachment of the European civilization. The title anticipates tragedy of the whole story plot using other larger historical events.
Throughout the book, the Indian and European custom is described from time to time, and in the end, the author merges the two cultures during the two funerals of Cora and Uncas. He describes these burial rituals differently, whereby Cora was buried according to the customs of her people while Uncas was left to be mourned in the Mohican style. In his concluding paragraphs, Cooper predicted the interaction between Europeans and the Indian as inevitable. The story presents the true account of American history, exploring insightful detail about the many encounters between the Indians and the colonies that formed part of American history.