Re: Question about "a man without a cross"

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Posted by Elaine on August 18, 1998 at 08:12:21:

In Reply to: Question about posted by Sarah on August 18, 1998 at 07:48:43:

: I've noticed in Cooper's book that Hawkeye frequently refers to himself as "a man without a cross" and I'm at a loss for what this means. For example: " Indian myself, but a man without a cross." and, "revenge is an Indian feeling, and all who know me know there is no cross in my veins..." Clearly, this "cross" is an Indian thing and not a Christian thing.

: Can anyone tell me what this is about?

: Thanks,
: Sarah


You are bringing up a pivotal point about Cooper's Hawkeye. The frequent reference to himself as "a man without a cross" is a strong identifying mark for Hawkeye. It is a Christian reference, however, not an Indian one. This one line is enough to provide essays on who Hawkeye is and is not. A brief summary; it identifies him as a man with no actual religion (though he espouses Christian principles), no family, no cultural ties, no world in which he truly belongs. He is as he is ... a natural man. The tragedy of it, as Cooper intends it I think, is to place Hawkeye in a limbo. He doesn't really belong to either culture by which he is surrounded, nor does he really fit in either age ... the old or the new. He is a loner; an island. A man of the wilderness.

This is very much the "son of a trackless forest" which Mark A. Baker is telling us about in his book.

A point for much analysis and discussion, this "man without a cross", not to mention the reason She-Who-Tracks-La Longue Carabine
has so much trouble staying on his trail!


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