Posted by Vita on August 07, 1998 at 21:10:23:
In Reply to: Re: Duncan-Admirer of Colonists/A posted by Elaine on August 07, 1998 at 19:25:49:
: " Dear Elaine,
... by what virtue did (Alice) gain strength prior to her leap? By chucking it all and saying, "I can't go on!"?...
Hmmm. Well, actually, with or without What If... the way Jodhi May acted... and the close-ups of her face... as she calmly studies Magua (with drops of water (or mountain dew) playing light & shadows in her doe-eyes - what camera work!) and then as she looks down the cliffs ... scanning the vertiginious depths... probably seeing what we (or I, due to the fact that I still refuse to wear prescription eyeglasses)can not see: Uncas' broken body... does seem to make a deliberate, sober choice. I felt that she thought: NO to submission and humiliation in Magua's hands! After witnessing such a good man as Uncas die for me, I rather join him by honoring his sacrifice then connive to stay alive.
Cora had reason to STAY ALIVE. Alice had lost her's.
Perhaps, if she had survived that moment, let's say Magua forcefully tears her away from the cliffs and she has to endure ... and six months later, in hindsight, she might judge her moment's decision as foolish or a cop-out to be ashamed of. But in the searing heat of that one moment, having just witnessed the knife slicing through Uncas' throat...
Indeed, and without presuming to speak for Fenimore, I do imagine Alice as a genteel and naive school girl. For the first time out in the real world, and the real world is shockingly different than her hitherto protected life... and her father is gone too... she may not have witnessed his murder but she must have an idea he is dead... and though she is virginal and probably never ever been kissed, she must have read romantic tales, white knights in shining armor, tales of touching chivalry, and here is Uncas, a most chivalrous knight giving up his life for her. From her expression, I'd say she did not fancy herself as strong or gracious or anything of that sort, but on the spur of that one moment, she decided that a world without the presence of such a good man, is not worth living. And she bid us all Adieu.
That segment was Jodhi's best as an actress, combined with a excellent cameraman and director, the nuances in her expression bespoke volumes... in favor of plenty What-Ifs.
: What?!!!! The Loyalist, pro-English Rule, professional Redcoat turned dastardly rebel?!!! Yes, a man of honor, but so were many Tories. And when it came down to it, Duncan was quite willing to lie in order that English interests were served. :
(Romantic that I am, I think he lied because he was jealous of Cora's attraction to Hawkeye. There is a split second before he delivers the lie... when he glances at Cora and sees her rooting for Hawkeye... I think her expression wounds him terribly. My impression of Duncan is that though he is a King's Man, he would not deliberately lie, especially not when Hawkeye saved his and Cora and Alice's lives. I feel he did so not for the King, but for Cora. Though this is absolutely no excuse for his behavior! During that moment, he was at his absolute lowest as a Gentleman and an Officer. By going against his rival, he also discredited an English commandant (he knew Weber had promised the Militia could leave if their homes were endangered)etc.
The story plays out in 1757, and the fight for independence came approx. 20 years later.
If he had the chance to spend 20 years with the Colonists and Hawkeye... especially if it had been HIS beloved who'd been lost in the Massacre after leaving the fort, or Hurons' flames or the cliffs... who knows...
what if... what if... hmmmmm.
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