The Last of The Mohicans

A Short Response

Any book published during the 1800s is honestly going to scare me at first. I often worry that the language will not be engaging and I will find myself drifting away from the text and into whatever other thoughts are circulating my head at the time. I’m not necessarily a slow reader, but I can get distracted easily, having to go back to reread paragraphs, which sometimes makes me take forever to get through a novel. However, to my surprise, this has not been the case with The Last of the Mohicans.James Fenimore Cooper, author of The Last of the Mohicans, has created a very engaging, action filled, and fast paced story. It has all the elements of a good story; romance, misery, suspense, comedy, cheesy B-list movie like fight scenes, etc. Although it can often be confusing distinguishing the characters throughout the text due to the characters having multiple names, it actually makes them more interesting and gives them a greater sense of depth.

I believe the element of speech and language is significant throughout the text. Early on in the novel, Alice expresses how she judges character based off the tone of someone’s voice. “Foolish it may be, you have often heard me avow my faith in the tones of the human voice!” (13). The tone of the human voice combined with their speech patterns can be direct reflections of who the person is. It’s harder to deceive a person once they know your speech. Just think about all those unfortunate people who get catfished! The person who constantly denies talking to you on the phone or meeting up with you is clearly catfishing you. They know their voice will give them away.

I like this text because it’s not just about pitting white men against a minority group. There are both good and bad Indians, just like how there are both good and bad guys in any given race. “The white man seemed to take counsel from their customs and relinquishing his grasp of the rifle, he also remained silent and reserved” (28). Here the man (Hawkeye) is appreciating and respecting the Indian culture, not criticizing it. It’s individuals like Hawkeye that help expose the similarities between different groups of people, thus contributing to the diminish of racism.

Sometimes it is unlikely situations that make people see the similarities between them. For instance, when Hawkeye shoots the Indian in the tree, “all eyes, those of friends as well as enemies, became fixed on the hopeless condition of the wretch who was dangling between heaven and earth,” (79). The untimely death of an individual resonates deeply with everyone, whether it be a friend or an enemy. This death in a sense brings the two opposing groups together because they are reminded that they are all living a life that eventually has an end.

I absolutely love Cora. Cora reminds me of myself, especially in the beginning of the novel. She is composed, confident, knows how and when to be a leader, and of course, is a sucker for love. When the men begin doubting themselves, Cora steps in with a plan. She exudes leadership qualities. “This is not a time for idle subtleties and false opinions…but a moment when every duty should be equally considered,” (85). What a speech! Girl power! Men often need the validation that they are important, and Cora gives them that validation by reminding them that each one of their tasks is beneficial to the circumstance.

Kiana Noble