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Sample essay topic, essay writing: James Fenimore Cooper - 1361 words
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.. the Mohicans, a.p.). The next day Cora and Uncas are buried amidst much mourning. Chingachgook is now the last of the Mohicans. (JFC, Novels for Students, 135). The Deerslayer, another historical romance novel, takes place in Glimmerglass New York near a lake and the Hudson River. Although a date is never specified, it can be assumed to be around 1750.
The Deerslayer is a precursor to The Last of the Mohicans. The first character is Deerslayer (Natty Bumppo) who will become Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans. Deerslayer is, as before, a white man who is familiar with the ways of the Indians. Hurry Harry is an immoral mountain man who often hunts for Indians (James Fenimore Cooper, Deerslayer, a.p.). Judith and Hetty Hutter are the daughters of Thomas Hutter. They live on the lake and are motherless. Judith is beautiful, honest and somewhat intelligent
Her sister, Hetty, is very plain and simple minded. Chingachgook is the son of a chief and is again a brave Indian. Hist is Chingachgook's Indian love (Cooper, Deerslayer, a.p.). The book begins with Hurry and Deerslayer going to the lake to meet with Judith and Chingachgook, respectively. Upon arrival Hurry and Thomas Hutter decide to go hunting for Indians, which Deerslayer does not approve of.
Their destructive behavior is soon punished as the Iroquois whom they were hunting capture them both (Cooper, Deerslayer, a.p.). Deerslayer also finds out that his romantic interest, Hist, was taking captive by the Iroquois. Hurry and Hutter are freed through trading items from Thomas Hutters chest. Consistent with the wanton nature of the European settlers in America, after Hutter and Hurry are freed they go Indian hunting again. This time they both don't make it out alive; Tom Hutter is scalped by the Iroquois and dies soon after. Deerslayer and Chingachgook attempt to free Hist forcefully and end up just making a trade as Deerslayer is then in captivity, but the two do accomplish their goal of freeing Hist (Cooper, Deerslayer, a.p.).
The Iroquois offer Deerslayer a deal. If he agrees to marry the widow of an Iroquois whom he had killed in the past and take care of the children they would spare his life. He rejects on moral grounds and over his love for Hist. The widow's brother, insulted by his decision, throws a tomahawk at Deerslayer but misses (Cooper, Deerslayer, a.p.). When Deerslayer returns the throw, he kills the man and the Indians call for Deerslayers death.
As the Iroquois are going to kill Deerslayer, one by one allies of Deerslayer come and interrupt the proceedings as they have seen the approaching English army. Chingachgook and the troops burst on the scene and save the day (Cooper, Deerslayer, a.p.). The Iroquois are massacred at the hands of the ruthless English captain. Deerslayer is freed and most of the Indians are killed with the exception of a few who are taken hostage. One casualty of the fighting the fighting was Hetty Hutter, who was shot and dies the next day.
After burying her, Chingachgook, Hist and Deerslayer go back to the Delaware tribe from which they came. Judith proposes marriage to Deerslayer, but he rejects (Cooper, Deerslayer, a.p.). In The Last of the Mohicans Cooper develops distinct style that sets him apart from other authors. First, we see point of view changes. For instance, the book starts with the Focus on Heyward and the girls but then shifts to Hawkeye and the Mohicans. The perspective is still third person but the focus of the story has changed.
Coopers writing style is known as "Historical Romance." This is when one would take actual historical events, elaborate them and create a story within a story. For example, the Fort William Henry massacre happened in reality but the kidnapping of the commanding colonel's daughters did not. In both Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans the religious characters are portrayed as somewhat useless but end up saving themselves or others. For example, Gamut who is just kind of the tagalong in the adventures of The Last of the Mohicans has his life spared because the Indians assume him to be crazy while he is singing his prayers. A final element of style in Coopers books is that he gives women a diminished, "rescued" role.
The women never are the actual heroes themselves. In both books the people who land the groups in trouble are women. In the Last of the Mohicans, Alice and Cora wish to visit their father but are captured. Also, in Deerslayer, Deerslayer is captured in his attempt to save Hist which creates the dilemma in the story. The female significance (or insignificance) may be a product of the era in which Cooper lived. Tabitha Mcintosh-Byrd writes in Novels for Students (144), "Cooper extensively blends fact with fiction." This is the essence of the historical romanticism in which Cooper writes. Essentially he takes history and makes it fit into his novels.
In the same evaluation, Byrd speaks of Cooper writing stories marked by movement between hostile civilizations (Byrd, 145). For example there is the constant struggle between the European immigrants and the Native Americans, the French and the British (Byrd, 145). The story is enhanced through the oppositions. I see the opposition adding a dimension to the story. With so many conflicting sides the reader is left almost choosing sides, which makes the book more interesting (Byrd, 144-47).
John Miller writes in Novels for Students (149) that the in depth depiction and understanding of the Indian lifestyle was crucial to Coopers novels. His level of understanding of the Indian culture is definitely made greater by the fact that he grew up near the wilderness and probably had contact with Indians. Later in the review, Miller talks about the simplicity of Cooper's plotlines (Miller, 149). The Last of the Mohicans is not a complex book to follow. It tells of the damsel in distress but keeps the reader interested with elements of horror, suspense and danger.
It seems that there are several sub climaxes throughout the book that add to the excitement. Miller goes on to write that Cooper creates particularly well developed characters that are easy to relate (Miller, 149). The previous two evaluations of Coopers work look upon it favorably. However, Mark Twain disagrees with the greatness of Cooper's novels. Twain claims that Cooper fails to accomplish or arrive at anything in Deerslayer (Mark Twain, Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism, 208).
Furthermore, Twain feels that Cooper created meaningless, unrealistic dialogue that added no further dimension to the story being told. The final shot Twain takes at Cooper is that Cooper allegedly broke 114 out of 115 literary rules in two thirds of a page (Twain, NCLC, 208). What exact two thirds of a page is never specified. Twain is very harsh in his assessment of Cooper, however Twain probably knows literature better than anyone. Sometimes other authors can be the biggest critics of each other's work (Twain, NCLC, 208-210). D.L.
Maulsby offers retaliation to Twains thoughts on Cooper's Deerslayer in Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism (210). Maulsby disagrees that the story fails to arrive at a conclusion. To him, Deerslayer is the account of a mission undertaken by a hero and the mission is completed in the end. It was good to see someone defend against Twains critical attacks on Coopers style (Maulsby, 210-211). In all of Coopers books there is a very vivid depiction of the surroundings writes W.C. Brownell in Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism (214).
The setting really becomes part of the stories that wouldn't be the same if there were a remotely different setting. Cooper had extensive exposure in the two types of settings he wrote in, wilderness and nautical, which probably facilitated the process of describing the surroundings. To think that James Fenimore Cooper was an always cheerful, always upbeat man who wrote well received novels would be incorrect. He managed to insult people on both sides of the Atlantic and still achieve stardom. Cooper was disliked by the common person and the author alike; despite the way people disliked Cooper the man, they could not attack his novels as he was considered the first great American Novelist.
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