Chanticleer of Wilderness Road Critical Essays

Meridel Le Sueur


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Le Sueur has combined fact and fiction to present a few pages from American history. She has told the story of an individual who helped to shape the United States and who, in the shaping, left a legacy of courage and loyalty. The result is a book that can be read for its rhythmic prose. Chanticleer of Wilderness Road conveys strong emotion as well as factual truth.

This book serves well as a biography for young people because of its description of a hero who is worthy of admiration. Le Sueur portrays Crockett as a real person with superhuman characteristics, and she shows him as a mighty hunter who enjoyed teaching his own sons to hunt. Although she mentions that Crockett killed seventeen bears in one season, Le Sueur is careful to note that this action not only would ensure a supply of meat for the long winter but also would provide “rugs for the floor, covers for the bed, and grease for the griddle.” The reader glimpses Crockett’s human side when he states, with “something in his eye mighty like a tear,” that “nobody knows what a hunt is till he hunts with two brave sons of his own flesh.”

Le Sueur also underscores the bond between Crockett and Andrew Jackson, which began during Crockett’s service as a scout against the Creek nation. Even then, Crockett was a defender of rights, and he stands with Jackson against the symbolic figure of the Yankee Peddler, who always represents those decided on treachery.

The reader is made aware of Crockett’s own modest opinion of himself, which is evidenced during his campaign for Congress when he refers to himself as having “just crept out of the cane.” Underneath the outlandish jokes and stories, however, Crockett emerges...

(The entire section is 706 words.)