The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper’s the Last of the Mohicans is a gripping novel that
depicts the travel of 7 people through the dangerous woods of western New York
in the late 18th century. The story takes place during the French and Indian war at
the height of conflict. Major Duncan Heyward is accompanying singer David
Gamut and the two daughters of the English colonel Munro from Fort Edward to
Fort William Henry. Along the way, the four travelers discover that their Indian
guide Magua has purposely lead them in the wrong direction. Their only chance of
making it to Fort William Henry now rests in the hands of Hawk Eye (a man who
knows the way of the Indians but continuously asserts that he has no Indian
blood) and Uncas and Chingachgook (the only two living members of the once
great tribe known as Mohican). Together, the group sneaks through the woods
avoiding the French troops as well as the dangerous Huron’s who have formed an
alliance with the French.
The book is full of adventure. Earlier in the book, the travelers stop to
spend the night in a cave near a waterfall, but they are attacked by Magua’s allies
the Huron’s. Hawkeye and the Mohicans managed to escape down the river but
Heyward, Gamut, and the Munro sisters are all taken as prisoners by the Huron’s.
Magua then tells the group that he seeks revenge on colonel Munro. But before he
had the chance to act, Hawkeye and the Mohicans attacked the Huron’s and killed
all but Magua who managed to escape.
Although the book had a fictitious spin, a little research shows me that the
events and certain characters are more or less historically accurate. One occasion
was the Massacre of William Henry. Once the travelers arrived at their destination,
they learned that the fort was receiving no more troops and would be forced the
surrender to General Montcalm and the French. Montcalm told Fort William
Henry that he would allow them to leave with all their belongings, without a fight.
However, once the party left the fort, they were surrounded and almost everyone
was killed. The Munro sisters and David were once again captured by Magua.
The book also discusses the alliances between Europeans and Indians. The
French and English were quick to make friends with the Indians because they
knew they would need their help. The Indians knew the woods and how to live off
the land, so they were more or less exploited by their European settlers.
The climax of the book wouldn’t let me put it down. Magua had recaptured
the travelers and Hawkeye, the Mohicans, and Heyward were on their trail. They
found David in the woods who informed them that the sisters were being held at
two different posts. One, a post of the Huron’s, the other of the Delaware. Using
different disguises and deception the group rescues Alice from the Huron’s. At the
camp of the Delaware where Magua was holding Cora, Magua convinced the
others that Hawkeye and the Mohicans were...