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What are three characteristics of American Romanticism in The Last of the Mohicans?

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hopper | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 27, 2010 at 4:36 AM via web

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What are three characteristics of American Romanticism in The Last of the Mohicans?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 27, 2010 at 8:45 AM (Answer #1)

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There are many examples of American Romanticism (a version of the English Romantic movement that occurred some years earlier) in James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans.

"Shuns civilization and seeks nature" is seen with the character of Hawkeye. He has a close alliance with certain Native American tribes, however, he is a white man who has chosen to live in the wilderness rather than amid "civilized white men." And while it is important that he maintain his identity as a white man, he finds his strongest friendship with Chingachgook, the "last of the Mohicans."

Hawkeye also embodies the characteristic of "fights for individual's freedom and worth." He fights to save Alice and Cora from Magua. He also helps others of their group escape not only from the Indians (i.e. Major Heyward), but also from the French (i.e. Colonel Munro).

"Finds beauty and truth in supernatural or imaginative realms" also applies to Hawkeye. Whereas Gamut is a religious man, he is ineffective in the wilderness. Hawkeye is not religious in terms of organized religion: he may actually be seen as a pagan in light of this. However, ironically, it is Hawkeye's ability to find beauty and truth in nature that makes him a much more spiritual person than David Gamut. Hawkeye is also a superstitious man, which would bring to light the "imaginative realms" in his system of belief.

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