What are three characteristics of American Romanticism in The Last of the Mohicans?
The characteristics of American Romanticism are: values feelings over reason; places faith in the imagination; shuns civilization and seeks nature; prefers innocence to sophistication; fights for individual's freedom and worth; reflects on nature to gain spiritual wisdom; finds beauty and truth in supernatural or imaginative realms; sees poetry as the highest work of imagination; and, is inspired by myth, legend, and folklore.
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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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