Louise K. Barnett (essay date 1979)
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.)