Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper utilizes a historical romance style to tell his story. is apparent through settings, characters and plots. As Cooper is considered by many critics to be the father of the American historical romance, The Last of the Mohicans is surely an example of why this is so. Cooper celebrated the creative spirit of the individual and had a deep appreciation for nature. He was a romantic who enjoyed the mysteriousness and exoticness of the frontier. He favored the use of emotions over reason. Through the use of romantic writing, Cooper is able to captivate the reader and led them on journey through his imaginary world.

The Last of the Mohicans takes place in a historical setting and "showed, he worked best with material from the past (whether his own personal past or this country's) which had been accumulated gradually by curiosity and filtered slowly by memory, material which he felt comfortable in 'embellishing'" (Steinbrink 339). The novel takes place in the American frontier. The mystique of the frontier entices the reader and allows their imagination to soar. The mystery and excitement of the historical setting lends itself to the romance. Cooper understood this and utilized it to its fullest.

Cooper's descriptions of the natural scenery are picturesque and striking. But it was also a place shrouded in danger and darkness. "Rather than beginning Mohicans by describing the wilderness as a place of renewal and progress, as he does in The Pioneers, Cooper associates the America of 1757 with chaos and destruction" (Kelly 49). Cooper describes the frontier so vividly that the reader feels transported into the novel. Through his descriptive writings of nature, Cooper shows his deepened appreciation of nature.

His descriptions create a very real and genuine setting, giving the reader a very complex setting that is both beautiful and dangerous. "The fading light increased the gloominess of the bleak and savage wilderness, that stretched so far on every side of him, and there was even a fearful character in the stillness of those little huts, that he knew were so abundantly peopled" (Coooper 230). Cooper, like most romantic writers, writes about an unspoiled America. He writes about the comely Glenn Falls and the pure forest. He brings the reader into his unblemished world, where everything is pure. The setting in The Last of the Mohicans shows Cooper's deepened appreciation of nature.

Romanticism is also seen in the characters in the novel. Romantic characters are typically unrealistic. Hawkeye is one of these impossible characters. He is an ideal character who is pure and untainted by the corruption of society. Hawkeye, like Cooper, is a romantic in that he has a deep respect for nature. Cooper uses Hawkeye to celebrate the creative spirit of the individual. Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas are characters all folklores are about. They are the heroes that complete impossible task to help others. Cooper also portrays, in his novel, the stiff upper-class society and their true desire to escape to the frontier. Cora and Alice represent the stiff, elegant society. The reader soon sees that under their refined life, they have a wanting to be freed from their upper-class society. They want to escape this boring life and be allowed to live. They see the frontier as this pure, beautiful place where they can be freed of the control of their society.

Romanticism can also be seen in The Last of the Mohicans in the plot. Cooper's plots favor emotions over reasons. Cooper opens the…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans; A Narrative 1757. Historical Introduction by James Franklin Beard. Text Established, with Explanatory Notes, by James A. Sappenfield and E.N. Feltskog. Albany: State U. Of New York Press: 1983.

Fiedler, Leslie A. Love and Death in the American Novel. New York: Criterion Books: 1966.

Kelly, William P. Plotting America's Past: Fenimore Cooper and the Leatherstocking Tales. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press: 1983.

Pattee, Fred Lewis. "The Historical Romance: Cooper's 'Last of the Mohicans'." The Chautaquan, 21(3), 1900: 287-292.

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