James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans: Book and Movie Essay

James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans: Book and Movie Essay

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James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans: Book and Movie


The book Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper was very

different from the movie Last of the Mohicans in terms of the storyline.

However, I feel that the producer and director of this movie did a good job

of preserving Cooper's original vision of the classic American man

surviving in the wilderness, while possibly presenting it better than the

book originally did and in a more believable fashion to a late twentieth

century reader.


    The makers of the movie Last of the Mohicans preserved Cooper's central

ideas and themes very well, the most important of which  is the question,

what makes a man?  Very few books that I have read contain such a clear

sense of what a man should be as Last of the Mohicans.  Cooper portrays the

hero, Hawkeye, as brave, independent, and skillful in the ways of the

woods.  He is a tracker, he can hit a target with a bullet from any

distance, he can fight the evil Iroquois Indians without batting so much as

an eyelash.  The makers of the movie take great pains to preserve these

facets of Hawkeye, but then go beyond what Cooper originally laid down as

the basis for  his hero's character.  In the book, Hawkeye displays very

little feeling and the reader has very little empathy with him, even though

he is the hero.  In the movie, however, there is a great romance between

Hawkeye and Cora that does not exist in the book.  This romance adds a more

human side to Hawkeye's character;  it show s his caring side beyond all

the hero-woodsman qualities--in other words, the non-Rambo, late twentieth

century version of a hero.  Every hero should ha...

... middle of paper ...

...d, when Magua, the evil antagonist, kills Uncas and Alice is

presented with the choice of being Magua's wife or killing herself, she

chooses death. Cooper's original intent was to have Cora killed for being

"impudent," while Alice remained docile and alive.  Instead the makers of

the movie transform even the wimpy Alice into a character of strength and

independence (the late twentieth century ideal), as shown in her final act

of suicide.  Cora, also strong and blessed with the ability to think for

herself throughout the film,  survives.  I f these changes added a lot to

the characters of both Cora and Alice, who in the book were stick figures,

"females" who did virtually nothing but be saved. and because of this again

reinforces my opinion that the movie retains Cooper's vision and presents

it better than Cooper did himself.

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