A Strong CORA , a Weak Alice, and True Bravery

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Posted by Marcia on August 08, 1998 at 12:27:20:

In Reply to: Re: A Strong Alice posted by caitlin on August 08, 1998 at 12:00:11:

Caitlin wrote:
: I don't necessarily think that they were overprotecting her. She was a child. I think they needed to "keep her in the dark". I suspect that if she would have more informed then she would have been more of a problem/freaked out/etc.

Yes, Caitlin, you've got it. Alice was very young, and I suspect the fact that Cora and her father tried so hard to protect her was because they knew her nature very well. She was fragile. Who better to understand how much (or little) she was capable of handling than the two people closest to her. And it certainly appears they were right.

As for Cora reacting similarly to Alice when being held under the knife, that is simply not true. She fought throughout the battle, when she could. We see her for one moment, having been thrown to the ground, head yanked back & knife at her throat. If you will look closely in that split second, you will see she is looking directly at Hawkeye who is almost upon them. Obviously, her best bet at that moment is to sit still & stay out of the way of Hawkeye's tomahawk. The whole thing took only fractions of seconds. That does not mean that she was accepting her fate & waiting to be rescued. Not at all like Alice, who simply stares dumbstruck at the carnage around her, and doesn't even turn her head away from the Indian who grabs her face. One gets the feeling she wouldn't even have had the presence to flinch from the blow, let alone try to fight or escape. No comparison, if you ask me.

As for Alice appearing brave before she leaps to her death, I think you are confusing the peace of mind she appears to have come to with courage. She is terrified one moment, looks down at Uncas, comes to a decision, and is at peace with her choice. But brave? I believe (and surely I'm not alone in this belief) that suicide is almost NEVER a brave act. Surely the brave thing to have done would have been to go along with her captors, looking constantly for a way to outwit them, and maybe even avenge Uncas' death, herself. After all, who knows what opportunities might have been presented to her, especially since no one perceived her as being any real threat. But by stepping out into space, she gives up. Period. While some might consider it terribly romantic, it should never be considered brave.


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