Re: Question about

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Posted by Gayle on August 18, 1998 at 12:14:48:

In Reply to: Re: Question about posted by Sarah on August 18, 1998 at 11:14:42:

: Elaine and Gayle,
: I believe I follow what you are saying, and each point alone makes sense, although I think I'm hearing it the way Petra did, which sounds as though these are two different points. The odd thing is that I can't quite get past the way Cooper constantly puts this "being a man without a cross" in opposition to being an Indian, always as though the Indians have something (perhaps character traits) that Hawkeye does not have. But NOT having religion doesn't seem to fit for me in these PARTICULAR instances. In this respect, his not being cross-blooded makes some sense (i.e., not having some Indian blood and thereby Indian traits). But something still seems to be missing for me.

: I understand what you're saying, but I'm having a hard time fitting it and the references together.

: One problem may be the difference of writing styles and meaning of things like "but" between the Regency period and ours, as many changes have occured since Cooper's time, and maybe I'm looking to find something that isn't there at all.

: Thoughts?
: Thanks, Sarah


It never gets less confusing, believe me, since Hawkeye used "Christian" and "white" interchangeably. You're never sure if he's talking in religious, social, or racial terms. You have to read it in the context of whatever situation he's dealing with at the time. Another view of the "man without a cross" idea is that Cooper portrays the Leatherstocking very graphically as a Christ-figure in the final book "The Prairie". Major Christ symbolism there. However, though the Leatherstocking is driven from pillar to post by both whites and Indians and suffers much of the revilings that Christ suffered, including in "The Pioneers", a trial on trumped-up charges, humiliation before the crowds and imprisonment, he never is crucified (tortured, scalped, any of the cuties Cooper could have used to symbolize crucifiction). However, he does turn up out on the western prairies in what is unquestionnably a resurrection mode. No doubt about the symbolism Cooper uses in that scene. And it is DRAMATIC!


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