Effects of the French and Indian War on Diversified Groups in "The Last of the Mohicans" by James Fenimore Cooper

The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper, describes the effects of the French and Indian War on a diversified group of people. Cooper describes the quest of three friends, Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas, to deliver two young women, Cora and Alice, to their father. As they attempt to carry out this mission, the group encounters groups of Indians who interrupt and threaten their success. As the novel progresses, many characters’ virtues are put to the test, namely their loyalty. Throughout the novel, Cooper shows a character’s loyalty to be interwoven with their courage and steadfastness. The only characters who exhibit unwavering loyalty are those who show themselves to be both valiant and unfaltering.

Cooper uses a great portion of the novel illustrating either the loyal or treacherous temperament of various characters. Through his numerous descriptions, Cooper defines what loyalty is in The Last of the Mohicans. Cooper shows loyalty to be not one’s dedication to an individual, association or institution, but a cause. These various causes, which vary from character to character, act as the cores of various individuals’ loyalties. Cooper writes “let us not delay a moment, without some good and obvious cause” (196). This supports Cooper’s illustration in that it is vital for one to be dedicated and loyal to a specific cause in order to succeed in any effort. These bases for various characters’ loyalties allow them to show allegiance to other individuals, nations, etc. From the beginning of the novel, General Heyward shows allegiance to his cause of safely delivering both Alice and Cora Munro to their father. Alice and Cora show themselves to be dedicated to this same cause through their insistence on seeing their fathe...

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...ted valor and resoluteness allowing them to maintain their loyalty in the face of danger, which they had to do on numerous occasions. Magua, on the other hand, shows no signs of being loyal to a cause throughout the novel. He is primarily concerned with benefitting himself. Magua is infatuated in ensuring his own safety and flees from any threat that he faces in the novel. Magua’s lack of belief in a cause coupled with his cowardice and lack of steadfastness shows he is a character who is incapable to exhibiting loyalty. Cooper illustrates loyalty as one’s dedication to a specific cause. Throughout the novel, the only characters to maintain loyalty are those who exhibit bravery and an unwavering nature. Cooper underscores the idea that loyalty is not simply having a belief or a cause, but rather having the courage and dedication to live for and fight for that cause.

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