In what ways might James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans be considered a "romantic" work?
James Fenimore Cooper’s novel The Last of the Mohicans might be considered a “romantic” work in a number of different ways, including the following:
- The novel features a brave, skillful, daring hero (Hawkeye) and thus exemplifies a typical “Romantic” emphasis on striking, powerful individuals.
- The novel emphasizes danger and death and thus appeals to the typical “Romantic” emphasis on strong emotions.
- The novel also emphasizes “romantic” relations between men and women, and thus appeals to the typical “Romantic” emphasis on love.
- Balancing the heroism of Hawkeye is the evil of Magua: the novel thus appeals to the typical “Romantic” focus on memorable villains and the strong emotions they can provoke.
- The novel depicts women at risk and the men who save them. It thus once again appeals to the typical Romantic interest in daring deeds, great dangers, and strong emotions.
- The novel takes place mainly in the forest and thus appeals to the typical Romantic interest in the splendors of nature.
- The novel features many characters who are Native Americans and thus appeals to the typical Romantic interest in so-called “primitive” cultures (people living very close to nature).
Typical of the frequently “Romantic” emphasis on exciting action and physical bravery is the following sentence describing sudden combat between Hawkeye and his allies and their Huron opponents:
Neither party had firearms, and the contest was to be decided in the deadliest manner, hand to hand, with weapons of offense, and none of defense.
Romantics would be intrigued by the bravery, heroism, danger, suspense, and intense emotions implied by this kind of fight, especially since so much depends on the conflict’s outcome.