What are the symbols in The Last of the Mohicans?

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There are two very important symbols seen in James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans.

First, the character of Hawkeye is a symbol. While Hawkeye is a character in the novel, he also represents an idea. Hawkeye represents the mixing of both Indian and European cultures. Therefore, by making him a character, Cooper is able to portray him as a living symbol in the novel. Second, Hawkeye represents the mythological figure of the heroic woodsman. The importance of mythology and culture is important to the Indians.

The second symbol is the fact that Uncas is referred to, repeatedly, as "the last of the Mohicans." The fact that the novel speaks to the end of the tribe, and the oppressive nature of the incoming Europeans, shows how Uncas represents the last of the true Indians. When one refers to the title, one knows that the novel will speak to the end of a culture. Therefore, by "naming" Uncas as the last, readers can anticipate that the tribe will meet its end based upon something happening with Uncas. In the end, Uncas' death symbolizes the death of the tribe.


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