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He wrote to Munro on 4 August that he should negotiate the best terms possible; this communication was intercepted and delivered to Montcalm. In Cooper's version, the missive was being carried by Bumppo when he, and it, fell into French hands. On 7 August Montcalm sent men to the fort under a truce flag to deliver Webb's dispatch. By then the fort's walls had been breached, many of its guns were useless, and the garrison had taken significant casualties.

After another day of bombardment by the French, Monro raised the white flag and agreed to withdraw under parole. When the withdrawal began, some of Montcalm's Indian allies, angered at the lost opportunity for loot, attacked the British column.

Cooper's account of the attack and aftermath is lurid and somewhat inaccurate. A detailed reconstruction of the action and its aftermath indicates that the final tally of British missing and dead ranges from 70 to ; [5] more than British were taken captive.

They are guided through the forest by a native named Magua, who leads them through a shortcut unaccompanied by the British militia.

The Last of the Mohicans

Heyward is dissatisfied with Magua's shortcut, and the party roams unguided and finally join Natty Bumppo known as Hawk-eye , a scout for the British, and his two Mohican friends, Chingachgook and his son Uncas.

Heyward becomes suspicious of Magua, and Hawk-eye and the Mohicans agree with his suspicion, that Magua is a Huron scout secretly allied with the French.

Upon discovery as such, Magua escapes, and in the correct belief that Magua will return with Huron reinforcements, Hawk-eye and the Mohicans lead their new companions to a hidden cave on an island in a river.

They are attacked there by the Hurons, and when ammunition is exhausted, Hawk-eye and the Mohicans escape, with a promise to return for their companions. Magua and the Hurons capture Heyward, Gamut, and the Munro sisters, and Magua admits that he is seeking revenge against Cora's father Colonel Munro for turning him into an alcoholic with whiskey causing him to be initially cast out of the Hurons and then whipping him at a post for drunken behavior.

He then offers to spare the party if Cora becomes his wife, but she refuses. Upon a second refusal, he sentences the prisoners to death. Hawk-eye and the Mohicans rescue all four and lead them to a dilapidated building that was involved with a battle between the Indians and the British some years ago.

They are nearly attacked again, but the Hurons leave the area, rather than disturb the graves of their own fellow-countrymen. The next day, Hawk-eye leads the party to Fort Henry, past a siege by the French army.

Munro sends Hawk-eye to Fort Edward for reinforcements; but he is captured by the French, who delivers him to Fort Henry without the letter.

Heyward returns to Colonel Munro and announces his love for Alice, and Munro gives his permission for Heyward's courtship. The French general, Montcalm, invites Munro to a parley and shows him General Webb's letter, in which the British general has refused reinforcements. At this, Munro agrees to Montcalm's terms that the British soldiers, together with their wounded, women, and children, must leave the fort and withdraw from the war for eighteen months.

Outside the fort, the column of British prisoners is attacked by Huron warriors; in the ensuing massacre , Magua kidnaps Cora and Alice, and he leads them toward the Huron village. David Gamut follows them. After the massacre, Hawk-eye, the Mohicans, Heyward, and Colonel Munro head into the ruins of the fort to plan their next move.

The next morning they set out to follow Magua, and cross a lake to intercept his trail.

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They encounter a band of Hurons by the lakeshore who spot the travelers. A canoe chase ensues, in which the rescuers reach land before the Hurons can kill them, and eventually follow Magua to the Huron village.

Here, they find Gamut earlier spared by the Hurons as a harmless madman , who says that Alice is held in this village and Cora in one belonging to the Lenape Delaware. Disguised as a French medicine man, Heyward enters the Huron village with Gamut, to rescue Alice; Hawk-eye and Uncas set out to rescue Cora, and Munro and Chingachgook remain in safety. Uncas is taken prisoner by the Hurons and left to starve when he withstands torture, and Heyward fails to find Alice.

A Huron warrior asks Heyward to heal his lunatic wife, and both are stalked by Hawk-eye in the guise of a bear.

The Last of Mohicans

They enter a cave where the madwoman is kept, and the warrior leaves. Soon after revelation of his identity to Heyward, Hawk-eye accompanies him, and they find Alice.

They are discovered by Magua, but Hawk-eye overpowers him, and they leave him tied to a wall. Thereafter Heyward escapes with Alice, while Hawk-eye remains to save Uncas. Gamut convinces a Huron to allow him and his magical bear Hawk-eye in disguise to approach Uncas, and they untie him.

Uncas dons the bear disguise, Hawk-eye wears Gamut's clothes, and Gamut stays in a corner mimicking Uncas. Uncas and Hawk-eye escape by traveling to the Delaware village where Cora is held, just as the Hurons suspect something is amiss and find Magua tied up in the cave.

Magua tells his tribe the full story behind Heyward and Hawkeye's deceit before assuming leadership of the Hurons as they vow revenge. Uncas and Hawk-eye are being held prisoner with Alice, Cora, and Heyward at the Delaware village when Magua visits the Delaware tribe and demands the return of his prisoners.

During the ensuing council meeting, Uncas is revealed to be a Mohican, a once-dominant tribe closely related to the Delawares.

Tamenund , the sage of the Delawares, sides with Uncas and frees the prisoners, except for Cora, whom he awards to Magua according to tribal custom. To satisfy laws of hospitality, Tamenund gives Magua a three-hour head start before pursuit.

The Last of the Mohicans

While the Delawares are using that time preparing for battle, David Gamut escapes and tells his companions that Magua has positioned his men in the woods between the Huron and Delaware villages. Undeterred, Uncas, Hawkeye, and the Delawares march into the woods to fight the Hurons. London and New York: Routledge, , pp. She was the daughter of a gentleman of those isles, by a lady, whose misfortune it was. The history of the political and eco- nomic disempowerment of Scots within Britain perhaps makes Munro and Heyward each more keenly aware that his colonial affluence depends upon the even greater disempowerment of non-European peoples.

Similarly, although Munro and Heyward are exiles of sorts, they show little concern about the displacement of Native Americans from their lands. The Last of the Mohicans defines American identity in opposition to a savage, brutish masculinity, on one hand, and an overcivilized effeminacy, on the other hand. Magua and Uncas respectively embody the stereotypes of the ignoble and noble savage that, according to Robert F.

Berkhofer, Jr. Magua and Uncas differ from each other most markedly in their capacity for sympathy and, as a result, in their treatment of women.

Smith theorizes that savage peoples must cultivate courage, fortitude, and self-command in order to endure the hardships of their daily existence. Civilized peoples enjoy the prosperity, security, and leisure necessary to cultivate more refined virtues, including sympathy.

Knopf, , p. Raphael and A. Macfie Oxford: Clarendon Press, , p.

Enlightenment historians posited that all societies passed through predictable and relatively discrete stages as they progressed from their primitive origins toward enlightened modernity. They also assumed a fun- damental uniformity of human nature in temporally and spatially disparate societies, which meant that all primitive peoples should share similar traits, as should all civilized peoples. For an introduction to Enlightenment historiography, see Ronald L. Female characters in both The Last of the Mohi- cans and The Prairie are touchstones by which the civility—and Americanness—of male characters can be measured.

Magua regards both Mohicans and Europeans as effemi- nate precisely because of their chivalric respect for women. London: J. Murray, , p. Cooper, however, does not, as Dyer implies, represent all Indians as uni- formly impervious to either sexual desire or chivalric ideals. They have had more time to acquire the relatively refined morals and manners of the settlers.

He embodies the xenophobic stereotypes of French sophistication that were common in mid-eighteenth- century British and early-nineteenth-century American litera- ture. Magua and Uncas, the ignoble and noble savages, obviously are foils; yet Uncas and Duncan, as their names sug- gest, are also doubles, and they share a sympathetic bond that transcends their cultural differences.

Indeed, as Forrest G.

His prudence is put to the test when he determines to infiltrate an Iroquois camp in which Alice is imprisoned. Press, Press, ], pp. His union of feudal Scottish chivalry with savage Indian prudence and self-control signals the evolution of an American identity that will reach its telos in The Prairie. Leland S. Person New York: Oxford Univ. Although Leatherstocking possesses the self-control and presence of mind that Heyward must cultivate, he evidently cannot develop the heterosexual sensibility—or the reverence for women and feminine virtues—essential to chivalry.

This in- difference to female charms suits Leatherstocking for the hard- ships of frontier life so antithetical to domestic comforts, but it also unfits him for participating in the population and civiliza- tion of the American wilderness.

It may be so. The Last of the Mohicans suggests that heterosexual desire cannot, or at least should not, cross racial boundaries, conceived of broadly in terms of light and dark, European and non-European, blood. If, for Cooper, like must attract like, then European men cannot acquire the Native American traits necessary to successful settlement through interracial marriage. They can, however, acquire these traits through homosocial bonds like the friendships between Uncas and Duncan, and between Chingachook and Leatherstocking; or through the pa- ternal and filial love uniting Leatherstocking and Uncas, and, in The Prairie, Leatherstocking and Hard-Heart.

These bonds join like with like in gendered rather than racial terms and en- able the transmission of traits through cultural appropriation 18 See Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel, pp. While Leatherstocking professes a complete incomprehension of heterosexual desire, he under- stands the tie between father and son, and cannot conceive of a stronger feeling than his paternal love for Uncas.

While the process of cultural appropriation through which Leatherstocking and Heyward learn to play Indian is cru- cial to the formation of an American identity combining pru- dence and sympathy, it is not in itself sufficient to create an American people.

Heyward demonstrates, however, that homo- social and heterosexual bonds are not mutually exclusive. Heyward proves his newfound strength of mind in an attempt first and foremost to rescue Alice, but secondarily to help Uncas, the friend from whom he has learned caution and self-command. The dark heroines in both Waverley and The Last of the Mohicans are stronger and seemingly more capable of enduring adversity than their fair counterparts.

Thus Cora, with her Creole ancestry, is much better suited to surviving the trials of life in the Ameri- can wilderness than her faint-hearted Scottish sister, Alice, whose limbs are more or less useless when it comes to holding her upright. Cora is a substitute protector whose native endurance enables her to support Alice throughout their travails in the wilderness, until Heyward is prepared to assume this task.

Alice, by comparison, has no distinguishing qualities other than her Scottish fairness, her ap- propriately womanly weakness, and her adoration of Heyward. She functions to evoke chivalric sentiment from Heyward and to provide him with occasions to test his judgment. Although marriage between Heyward and Cora might have symbolically effected the union of prudence and chivalry that Cooper valorizes, the marriage also would have tainted the racial purity of a formative Ameri- can identity.

James P. Elliott Albany: State Univ. Middleton reveals that following the events recounted in The Last of the Mohicans, Heyward increasingly identified America as his home.Put the students in small groups to talk about a party they went to when they wore fancy dress.

Cora's black hair and slightly dark complexion, obvious all along, are the result of a racial intermixture on another frontier.

Yet much as Un- cas is superseded by Heyward in The Last of the Mohicans, Mid- dleton is superseded by Hover in The Prairie, because he contin- ues to cling to feudal traditions that have limited usefulness on the American frontier. Duncan seized a pile of the sassafras, which he drew before the passage, studiously concealing every appearance of an aperture. Then ask the students to think of any other useful words they could teach him.