Frienship And Heterosexual Love In Cooper's The Deerslayer

1880 words - 8 pages

James Fenimore Cooper is often considered to be the "father" of the western genre. Cooper's novel, TheDeerslayer, addresses numerous themes, among them the act of friendship versus heterosexual love. The plot does not follow a strict linear scheme, although it conveys a message concerning the social mores of life in the west during the ninteenth century. Cooper depicts his protagonist,Natty Bumppo, also known as the deerslayer, as a a man who is caught between two worlds; the American white men and the Native Indians. During Bumppo's ongoing struggle, he remains diplomatic and adheres to fairness and follows his belief in moral behavior despite what is considered to be politically correct of that time. Deerslayer is a man who is surronded by love, war and friendship. Despite the constant turmoil that he is surrounded by, he attempts to convey the message that friendship is not only skin deep.The novels setting creates a mythical quality towards the land, which evokes the sense of timelessness found in mythical writings. For example, the setting is of "the earliest days of colonial history, the period seems remote and obscure"( 9 ), through such a setting, Cooper heightens the notion that a lesson pertaining to life seeps through the core of the text in order to convey a message about friendship and love. The novel begins by Hurry Harry, breaking the peaceful sound in nature and disrupting the wilderness. Hurry Harry calls to Deerslayer in attempts to locate him ,"the calls were in different tones,evidently procedeeing from two men who had lost their way ..."(11). Like his name, Hurry is described as a physically attractive man but restless in nature. He is a man who seeks adventure and is on the constant move from one place to the next. Deerslayer, on the other hand, is described as less of an attractive man in comparison to Hurry, but his personality is superior to that of Hurry's. Natty and Hurry represent conrasting ideoligies. Natty has a sharp eye, but he avoides unncessary blood shed and takes pride in never had spilling human blood. Hurry on the other hand, finds Indian and animal blood equivalent in value. Thus, he believes that killing one is the same as killing the other. Bumppo and Hurry remain friends, due to Bumppo's belief that goodness can be found within all living creatures.Bumppo creates the image of himself caught between two worlds when he meets his Indian friend, Chingachkook. Harry constantly attempts to convince Bumppo that the Indians are savage creatures who only cause destruction and it is in his best interest to keep distance. Shortly after Bumppo and Hurry were reunited, Natty asked Hurry if the lake was named. Hurrry stated that the land was namless. Bumppo found the nameless river to be positive sign, because he felt that white men traditionally cause destruction to the enviornement and ruin it's natural beauty, whereas the Indians respect and preserve the land. Hurry renegs on his first answer and claims that the...

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