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The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

Updated on December 24, 2009

The Last of the Mohicans is a novel by James Fenimore Cooper, published in 1826, the second of the author's "Leatherstocking" series, both in order of composition and in the biography of its chief character.

It establishes the plot pattern used with little variation in the rest of the series. There is the folk hero (Natty Bumppo, "Hawkeye") ; the gentleman hero (Duncan Hey ward) ; two heroines, one intelligent and ill-fated, the other beautiful and helpless (Cora and Alice Munro) ; the Indian heroes (Chingachgook and his son Uncas) ; the Indian villain (Magua) ; the "comic" character (David Gamut) ; and assorted supernumeraries. The action throughout consists of flight and pursuit.

The date of the story is 1757. Cora and Alice, daughters of Colonel Munro, are being escorted from Fort Edward on the Hudson River to Fort William Henry on Lake George by Hawkeye, Heyward, and the two Mohicans. They are captured by hostile Hurons, rescued after a desperate pursuit, and delivered to their father at William Henry. The surrender of the fort to the French starts another series of flights and pursuits in which Cora and Uncas lose their lives. The villainous Magua is shot by Hawkeye, and Heyward marries Alice.

Swift movement and verbose dialogue mark the story. It has fewer of the gross improbabilities ridiculed by Mark Twain than its successors in the series, maintaining on the whole a good balance between romantic exaggeration and the realism of frontier war. Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas are permanent additions to the world's gallery of fictional characters and, when the hunt is up, the action is swift and enthralling.

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    • tnderhrt23 profile image

      tnderhrt23 8 years ago

      Good book review. "Last of the Mohicans" is now on my "books to read" list!

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