Re: A "Strong" Alice?

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Posted by Elaine on August 07, 1998 at 15:41:01:

In Reply to: Re: A posted by JC on August 07, 1998 at 13:51:41:

: Rich,

: Yes, a "strong" Alice is possible. Not everything is black and white- ie: Cora is strong, therefore Alice must be weak, Chingachgook is the hero, Magua is the bad guy.

: Does "innocent school girl, have you seen the Red Man?, what an adventure!" translate into weakness? Cora had seen the face of war before, and because of that she was able to "handle" herself and act accordingly- Alice is not wise to this world and does not know what to make of it all, she IS terrified because this is her first experience with anything of the kind. I am not hard-pressed to find strength in anyone in this movie, especially Alice, they are all strong powerful characters in their own individual ways.

: In my opinion, going with Magua would have been suicide for Alice Munro, death of her spirit. She was able to rise above her fear, to be at peace with herself for one brief moment, and followed what was in her heart. Her spirit now soars.

: This is art, it is open for interpretation by all. There is no RIGHT answer. And, you may think I'm a foo-foo from out in left field and that's fine!

: She-who-dreams-a-little-dream
: JC

JC (Non-Foo Foo Not From Left Field),

Though film and literature are both art, interpretation of a character's essence does not necessarily follow. When an author writes fiction, or when a screenwriter pens his screenplay, what is created is the author's privilege and possession. In both the novel and the '92 film adaptation, the character of Alice Munro is frail. That's what she is, no matter how much any of us would like to see her differently. Every author must justify the characters he creates because they must be believeable and they must play their part in the story. Alice's purpose was not to counteract the strength of Cora, or bring balance to human nature. Cooper created her to be a very specific person with a very definite personality to serve his literary objectives. If there can be justification to describe her as strong, then so be it. However, there is nothing in Cooper's girl that supports such a description. Quite the contrary. He-Who-Created-Alice says she is emotionally weak. That is why he has her doing the things she does and reacting the way she does. And with purpose!

Though it can be fun to imagine a different scenario, the story has already been written. It is no more true to describe Alice as exhibiting an inner strength that only Uncas sees, than it is to say Chingachgook was really a ruthless killer. My point is that there is room for interpretation in the 'why's' within a story, but not much really when it comes to describing a character.

Think about this ... would you not argue with me if I said Webb was actually a trustworthy, brave officer who would have come to the aid of the defenders of the fort had he only been able to? Or if I said Duncan was probably an admirer of the colonists' independent streak and would have said so off duty? I can't support those assertions, so I can't very well expect any one to accept
them. This is not meant to be argumentative. I'm only trying to say; "Can't you see?"

You are right, not everything is black or white. Alice is not weak BECAUSE Cora is strong. Alice is weak because Cooper made her so. And Magua is not the bad guy because Chingachgook is a hero, he's the bad guy because the story needed its main antagonist. Cooper gave the job to Magua. Cooper then supported his creative decision by having Magua do the things he does.

As for Uncas; could it be that he was simply attracted on a physical level to Alice? Does there have to be more to it than that if neither Cooper or Mann gave us evidence of it? Again, it is fun to recreate the scenarios, recreate the characters, and recreate the outcome ... but that is "playing" with a story already written.

If Alice is to be described as a strong person then there must be some evidence within the story to support such an opinion, don't you think? Aside from speculations and possibilities not evident in LOTM, I truly can't think of any word, action, or description that would enable Alice to be described as possessing strength. I just don't see it.

Lastly, JC, Rich's post was not meant to be offensive or belittling. Hope you didn't take it that way.
He intended only to express his thoughts on the Alice characterization as many, many others have done.

Please consider this?

PS Yes, we are both of the "grandfathers"!!!

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