James Fenimore Cooper, the author of The Last of The Mohicans, tempers with the reality of history in his novel to manipulate it to become a romance, tragedy plot. Cooper does this by tempering with the historical setting and creating unknown events to help better his focus into a romance. There is one specific character that reveals the idea of romance in the novel. Cooper shows us the impact race has on romance through interracial love. While it is both dangerous and desirable to some extent, it is also doomed through many events in the novel.
The plot of the book is supposed to resemble the French and Indian War (1756), also known as the Seven Years War. This war started in 1756 and ended in 1763. The French and English were in battle for the land between their two settlements and the possession of America. At the beginning of Coopers novel, he tells you that it is 1757, the third year of the war. In reality 1757 was only the second year of the war. The setting of the novel is the wild forest frontier of western New York. However, the novel does follow reality in terms of the countries that were involved: England and France, plus the Native Americans.
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Next, while it is true that there was a tribe called the Mohicans, there is no proof that there were three heroes said to be the last of the Mohicans. These three heroes would be Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachcook. Cooper then uses these three to create imaginary battles and conflicts to help better develop an emotional standpoint when it comes to Munro’s two daughters; Alice and Cora. It is said in the novel that Munro sends for his daughters to be rescued in the middle of the war. At first, we are shown how much Uncas loves Cora. However, she shows less and less interest as time passes because of how she was raised. She is more of an independent woman who has no desire to be saved or helped by anyone. With that being said, Cooper creates a romance between Cora and Hawkeye. Hawkeye is perceived as the hero to Cora because he helps rescue her from the Hurons and they begin to fall in love. While we are made to believe that this was an actual event in the war, in reality Munro never sends for his daughters to be rescued. This means that the romance was never actually to occur.
While these events helped turn the genre of the novel into a romance, we see many other situations that show us it is a romance as well. Hawkeye and Cora fall in love, even though Colonel Webb hates Hawkeye and also knowns that Duncan has interest in Cora. While they both know that everyone does not want them together, they chose to remain together. Alice, Cora’s sister, commits suicide out of love after Uncas died trying to save her from marrying Magua. This showed us that Alice cared more about her love for others than her own life.
The romantic theme of this novel is revealed by Hawkeye. He showed desire for individual freedom, love of nature and his use of emotion and sentiment over logic and reason. Known to be born and raised in the wilderness, he had a massive love for nature. He was a very sentimental man. No! You stay alive! If they don’t kill you, they’ll take you north up the Huron lands. Submit, do you hear? You’re strong! You survive! You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you! No matter how long it takes, no matter how far I will find you! This quote helps to show how passionate and loving Hawkeye was. He was sure to show how much he cared. When he fell in love with Cora, he would always do what he believed was right and not what everyone else believed was right. The Last of The Mohicans is mainly thought to be a novel about race. By Hawkeye and Cora falling in love, Cooper shows us that interracial mingling is both desirable and dangerous through the relationship between Hawkeye and Cora. Cooper also shows that interracial romances can be doomed and undesirable through Alice and her take on love.
In the end of this novel, after a long battle and series of unfortunate events, Cora ends up being killed by a rogue Huron. Uncas tries to attack the Huron that killed Cora but is stabbed in the back. The one to kill Cora’s murderer ends up being Hawkeye. This is just another way for Cooper to exploit the idea of romance once again. While Hawkeye was not able to save Cora, he was sure to do her justice in being the one to kill the man who took her life away.
Overall, this novel, once believed to be a historical piece, was actually a romance novel. James Fenimore Cooper tempered with the reality of history and turned his novel into a romantic tragedy plot. His visions of Hawkeye allowed for him to really enhance the emotion throughout all of the novel. We are able to see the effects, both good and bad, of interracial mingling. Due to the manipulation of the realistic history and using the frame of the French & Indian War he has allowed to fill the missing pieces with fictional events adding to the romance plot. Cooper succeeded in twisting his novel from a historical perspective to what could be considered an all-out love story.
Chapter 3. The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper; Chapter 3 Page 1, www.pagebypagebooks.com/James_Fenimore_Cooper/The_Last_of_the_Mohicans/Chapter_3_p1.html.
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