The Last of the Mohicans

by James Fenimore Cooper

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What are three examples of an "American Romantic hero" in James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans?

In the novel, The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, two of the characters are Hawkeye and Chingachgook and their relationship with each other shows love. In Chapter 18, Hawkeye first has to tell Cora that he doesn't love her. After saying this to Cora and not knowing what she will say or do, he says "I can't help loving you." But before he does this he makes sure no one is around listening in on their conversation. This shows that Hawkeye loves Chingachgook more than his own life. In another part of the book, Hawkeye tells Uncas that he loves him like a son but then goes back and says they are brothers.

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According to the criteria you helpfully provided, at least three characters in James Fenimore Cooper’s novel The Last of the Mohicans can be classified as “American Romantic heroes.”  Those three characters are the following:

  • Natty Bumpo (“Hawkeye”): Hawkeye is very familiar with nature in general and with the forest in particular. He knows how to survive in the woods and is also skilled in handling a canoe on the river. He and his two Native American friends, Chingachgook and the latter’s son, Uncas, actually escape from danger at one point by floating down a river, thus demonstrating their resourcefulness and bravery. Hawkeye and his friends are also heroic in the way they attack the Hurons who have captured some white soldiers and two white women. Hawkeye is skilled in tracking animals and people, as when he traces the location of the white women after finding a veil belonging to one woman hanging from a tree. Hawkeye shows heroic bravery when he wears a disguise and manages to sneak into an enemy camp. As the novel concludes, Hawkeye uses his rifle to slay Magua, a Huron who is the major antagonist of most of the heroic characters in the book.
  • Chingachgook: a brave Mohican chief, Chingachgook is a loyal friend to Hawkeye and courageously helps Hawkeye whenever the latter needs assistance. Chingachgook is a determined fighter and, as is customary, scalps some of the people he kills. When his own son, Uncas, is killed at the end of the novel, Chingachgook finds comfort in Hawkeye’s friendship:

Chinachgook grasped the hand that, in the warmth of feeling, the scout had stretched across the fresh earth, and in an attitude of friendship these two study and intrepid woodsmen bowed their heads together, while scalding tears fell to their feet, watering the grave of Uncas like drops of falling rain.

  • Uncas: Uncas, a Mohican brave, is young, good-looking, courageous, and romantically attracted to one of the one of the main female characters, Cora. He uses his own familiarity with nature to help find her after she is kidnapped. He is a good and loyal friend to Hawkeye and a worthy son of his father, Chingachgook. Uncas assists his father and Hawkeye in all their heroic schemes, and when he is captured by their enemies he manages to use a disguise to help free himself from captivity. As the novel concludes, Uncas dies in hand-to-hand combat while trying to rescue Cora.

Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas thus display many of the traits you listed as characteristic of an American Romantic hero: Uncas is youthful; all three men have a strong sense of honor based on principle; all three display knowledge that comes from intuitive learning, experience, and common sense rather than from formal schooling; all three love nature over life in towns; all three are brave; Uncas is handsome; and Hawkeye in particular seems to possess almost superhuman abilities, as when he manages to shoot, from a long distance, a Huron who was just about to stab a friend.

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