American literature 1820 -- 1865 Analyze the Last the Mohicans Volume I Chapter III James Fenimore Cooper. Write a minimum 500 words. Write minimum 4-5 paragraphs. Write a controlled thesis - central idea - sentence
European encounters with the natives:
A close reading of Chapter III of The Last of The Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper's famous novel The Last of The Mohicans reflects but also complicates the Romantic view of the 'natural' primitive savage as closer to nature. The Romantics often characterized Native Americans as more 'pure' than representatives of white civilization. Chapter III dramatically unfolds as a dialogue between characters identified as 'the white man' and 'the Indian' more than their actual names .The Indian chief Chingachgook explains how his culture was irrevocable changed by whites, and the pure, natural idyll of his life was destroyed by the coming of the white man. "Then, Hawkeye, we were one people, and we were happy. The salt lake gave us its fish, the wood its deer, and the air its birds. We took wives who bore us children; we worshipped the Great Spirit; and we kept the Maquas beyond the sound of our songs of triumph" (Cooper 29). This happiness and pure, good connection to nature was impinged upon by the white man, yet Chingachgook is not prejudiced against whites like Natty Bumpo who are friends of his civilization.
The 'white man' Natty Bumpo is described as 'betwixt and between' both white and Indian culture and complicates the polarized racial dynamic of whites vs. Indians. When Bumpo is contrasted with Chingachgook, it is noted " while one of these loiterers showed the red skin and wild accouterments of a native of the woods, the other exhibited, through the mask of his rude and nearly savage equipments, the brighter, though sun-burned and long-faced complexion of one who might claim descent from a European parentage" (Cooper 24). But despite his whiteness and the fact that he uses a rifle as well as a bow and arrow with finesse, Bumpo can speak the native language, carries wampum, and wears skins like a Native American. He identifies his talents with a rifle as handed down generationally, and therefore 'good,' like Indian traditions of fighting with a bow and arrow. This shows that while he does not follow all…