The Last Of The Mohicans By James Fenimore Cooper Essay

The Last Of The Mohicans By James Fenimore Cooper Essay

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James Fenimore Cooper’s novel, The Last of the Mohicans, has stood the test of time due to its cunning confrontation of the issues of race in American society. Immediately from the Author’s Introduction, Cooper readily describes the Native American in an admirable light, unable to be extinguished by the prejudices of many of his readers. “In war, he is daring, boastful, cunning, ruthless, self-denying, and self-devoted; in peace, just, generous, hospitable, revengeful, superstitious, modest, and commonly chaste” (Introduction). The way cooper describes “these remarkable people” (Introduction) clarifies his viewpoint on the bias of racism and its wrongful judgment of one’s character solely based off the color of his or her skin. At the very end of the book, Cooper’s progressive message on race is echoed by Hawkeye’s empathetic words to his dear friend Chingachgook as they mourn his son, Uncas’, death. “The gifts of our colors may be different, but God has so placed us as to journey in the same path” (327). As Cora is buried, her father, Munro’s, statement to Hawkeye further reveals Cooper’s racial insight. “Tell them, 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” (325). These quotes explain to the reader how society must move beyond physical characteristics and instead focus on the moral fibers of every individual. Though Cooper makes a bold point on race and the importance of metaphysical traits, he completely contradicts himself by presenting a close-minded view on gender to the reader. His portrayed discrepancy between the strength of masculinity and the weakness o...


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...ds women, was contemplated as a taboo for Native American warriors and white Europeans alike. This degradation of females in the novel is a distressingly dark contrast with the uplifted image of men, making the reader question Cooper’s consistency in his opinions.
Cooper’s varied perspectives on gender in The Last of the Mohicans are awfully troubling. His book, proven unreliable in its message, only befuddles the reader on what message they should receive. His unintended paradox on forward thinking demonstrates how confused American society was in the 19th century. Cooper is only one of many of his era to be willingly supportive of some enlightened ideals while being dismissive with other morals. In the end, it is up to the reader to decipher what he or she must learn from the novel and modify that piece of thought to fit his or her own puzzle of personal values.

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