Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Last of the Mohicans

I had skimmed a version of this novel (I think it may have been abridged or paraphrased). What I understood from the story I remembered thus (and seemingly this is not perfectly accurate): two Anglo-American sisters, one (whom I did not like at all) loved and is beloved by another Anglo-American, the other loved and is beloved by an Indian; the last mentioned couple both died, and I remembered an illustration of him holding her dead form as the rest of the party tops the hill; I also think that I thought she was shot.

Anyway, I enjoyed this novel much better than The Deerslayer. The Deerslayer (Hawkeye) himself was faaaar less loquacious and irritating by comparison to his younger self. Although he was still annoying.

The prose style is stereotypical and stiff. Naturally I most was interested in Uncas and Cora and naturally less was said about them. I realized that although what I remembered was correct about Uncas, I am not sure that Cora necessarily reciprocated his feelings; the book gives no definite hint of her having any other feeling than that of admiration of him (Alice admired him as well, though probably less), but the admiration may have been more as of a savage than as of a man. I want to know what caused Cora's depression when after their first adventure, the girls conversed at the fort; this is one place where we could read Cora's romantic feelings in, but for whom? Did Cora love Heyward and know that he loved her sister? Did she love Uncas and this troubled her because of their stations? Did she think that Heyward or any like him would not love her because of her heritage? And it is irritating that this sister, beloved of the "Indian," had to be the one with that heritage.

Obviously the story was also unsatisfactory to me because of the tragic ending, doubly so because of the lack of romantic scenes between the interesting couple. The tragedy was unnecessarily, horribly random because I am not sure that Magua would have killed Cora, he was attracted to her, and I KNOW that he would have hesitated long enough for her to be saved had not that other savage killed her. Uncas would not have died if he had been better prepared. And why oh why did that usually Mr. Perfect scout have to lag behind?

Why so much unnecessary detail of the geography of the land? The novel read like a geography book often. Too many unnecessary events and details described. Too many important details left out.

Who cares about they absolutely worthless Alice and the annoyingly prominent Heyward? We can find such a pair in any silly book of the time. Why the title if not the focus on that character? Obviously this book is more famous for subject and drama of plot than artistic merit, characterization, creativity, and plot development.



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