Nineteenth-Century Representations of Native Americans Criticism: The Indians Of The Northeast - Essay

Louise K. Barnett (essay date 1979)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Cooper's Wyandotté: The Indian as Split Personality,” in Cimarron Review, Vol. 46, January, 1979, pp. 25-31.

[In the following essay, Barnett explores the character of Wyandotté/Saucy Nick, who embodies both of Cooper's stereotypes of Native Americans: the noble warrior and the debased drunkard.]

Perhaps prompted by criticism of his Leatherstocking Indians,1 Cooper attempted a more ambitious Indian characterization in his late novel Wyandotté (1843). For the mature Cooper the absolutes of the Leatherstocking world dissolve into ambiguities: the earlier neat division between red and white gifts is replaced by a broader outlook of...

(The entire section is 2961 words.)

Linda Frost (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “‘The Red Face of Man,’ the Penobscot Indian, and a Conflict of Interest in Thoreau's Maine Woods,” in ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, Vol. 39, No. 1, 1993, pp. 20-46.

[In the following essay, Frost examines Thoreau's romantic notion of Native Americans and the inevitable disappointment he felt when confronted with actual Indians who could not live up to his expectations.]

In his introduction to The Indians of Thoreau: Selections from the Indian Notebooks, Richard Fleck interprets Thoreau's fascination with the American Indian:1

If [Thoreau] could only gain insight during his life...

(The entire section is 10131 words.)

Randall C. Davis (essay date 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Fire-Water in the Frontier Romance: James Fenimore Cooper and ‘Indian Nature,’” in Studies in American Fiction, Vol. 22, No. 2, Autumn, 1994, pp. 215-31.

[In the following essay, Davis claims that one of Cooper's underlying themes is that alcohol addiction was the inevitable outcome of contact between Native Americans and Euro-Americans. This theme is partly developed in the author's numerous depictions of the “drunken Indian” stereotype.]

There is something painful in the reflection that these people were once numerous, and that by our approach they have been reduced to a few. It is natural that we should feel averse to the...

(The entire section is 6751 words.)