James Fenimore Cooper

608 Words3 Pages
James Fenimore Cooper

Many great people have told history. Stories of how we progressed from the small colonies to the country we are today have been passed down to every generation. We were given the idea of our triumphs, struggles, tragedies and adventures of history through story telling, and no- one tells of the adventure of history like James Fenimore Cooper and Nathaniel Hawthorne. They wrote with such a passion of history entwined with adventure that it swept you away into their world. After all, that is what makes a "classic" timeless, the passing down of history. Let us start with James Fenimore Cooper. James Cooper was born in 1789, and in 1790 his family moved to Cooperstown. The rest of his brothers had died and Cooper was the head of the household; he took on the responsibility of caring for his family. In 1803 he entered Yale and was expelled in 1805 for a prank. After serving on the Veruvius for three and a half years, he left the navy and married Susan Delancey. They had five daughters and two sons. In 1826, he added the Fenimore to his name. But it was by accident that James Fenimore Cooper became a writer. He took a dare from his wife to write a better book than the English one he had been reading to her.

Precaution was published in 1820. Though I completely understand why it won't be on anyone's nightstand, it does show us some importance to understanding Cooper's writings. We know that he critically observed the manners and morals of Europe during a seven-year tour of England and then upon his return to America, he remained a defender of American principles, but also a caustic critic of American Practice.
The central idea of "Precaution" (1820) was parents taking more time to ensure the proper marriage of their daughters. Here, I believe he reveals an early interest in social themes and moral principles. The lack of the principle is what ultimately leads Jane to get her feelings hurt when the man she loves runs off with a new, young heiress. Though the characters are like lifeless cardboard, Precaution's theme dimly foreshadows what is to come next. If a reader was to read only Cooper's early fiction and perhaps a volume of his social criticism, they are likely to go away with the feeling of Cooper having several mistaken notions.
Open Document