Re: The Major's sacrifice

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Posted by Kate on December 29, 2000 at 20:35:57:

In Reply to: Re: The Major's sacrifice posted by Jeri on December 29, 2000 at 19:19:55:

: : : : : : : Hi Tim,

: : : : : : : Welcome! I'm glad that you 'jumped in' and gave us your 'take' on this question. Being 'new' in Mohicanland, only lasts as long as it takes to 'post' and introduce yourself. After that, you're just another 'Mohicanlander':o)

: : : : : : : You raise some interesting points and *I* think you're probably pretty close to the truth of it. From the moment of the ambush on the George Road, Alice was experiencing life as she had never encountered it before - cruel, barbaric, and with little to make her want to go on. To be honest, *I'm* not even sure she was aware of Uncas's interest in her - her face seemed to register only terror and I can't think of an instance where her terror fades and she indicates that she is aware of his feelings toward her.

: : : : : : : Because WE see Uncas's face, as he cradles her in the cave, we know HIS feelings, but - she doesn't see his face. Therefore, is SHE aware? DOES she reciprocate those feelings? When she steps off that cliff, it seems to me that it could be as you say - she has been pushed too far and can take no more, especially knowing that the Huron will not be kindly to her, at journey's end. She has just witnessed one of her 'saviours' death - perhaps she feels that Magua and his band are capable of killing the others too. So - what end for her? In weighing it up, perhaps she feels that death is preferable to anything she can imagine.

: : : : : : : A lot of people say that 'death is the easy way out' - I'm not one of them. I believe that to CHOOSE to die, must be one of the MOST difficult and loneliest decisions a person can make. But I believe that you are right - the height of desperation and sheer hopelessness that she must have felt, at seeing her 'hope of salvation' die before her, would likely have been the thing that caused her (quite literally, as Bill said! :o) to send her over the edge!

: : : : : : : Yes, I think many folks here in Mohicanland agreed that Duncan DID have many redeeming qualities - but he hid them well, sometimes!! :o)

: : : : : : : It was interesting reading your thoughts about this.
: : : : : : : Kate.

: : : : : :
: : : : : : Thanks Kate, sweet of you to welcome.
: : : : : : You've a good point; because of the romantic tension he felt and her suicide apparently as a reaction to his death, I made an assumption. Either way she certainly must have had some kind of dependency on him. I guess I'll just have to watch the movie again - darn. Maybe twice more...

: : : : : ...............

: : : : : Hey, Tim,

: : : : : Well, I think it's an easy assumption to make and it's a theory that a lot of people here, hold. However, I've never really been convinced that there was a 'reciprocal' romantic liason, here. But that isn't to say that I've got that right! We're all just following our instincts here, I think! :o) But - it IS 'another' theory.

: : : : : Yes, I agree that Alice does seem to have formed some kind of 'dependency' on Uncas, though what that 'dependency' actually is, is the mystery that we are all forced to resolve for ourselves. And I think that's a deliberate ploy on the part of MM.

: : : : : It is obvious that Uncas has a 'wee romantic notion' (as we would say here) for Alice, but I just don't believe that Alice knows or indeed, is in a position psychologically speaking, to weigh up that knowledge, if she had it, and reciprocate that feeling.

: : : : : In view of her state of mind, I tend to think she views this quiet, but confident and skilled hunter, as her likely 'rescuer' until he is killed. The only spark of the light of hope, in her long, dark tunnel is snuffed out. Myself, I believe she has just experienced more than her mind can adjust to and borne of desperation and hopelessness, chooses death.

: : : :
: : : : >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

: : : : Ooops, sorry about the abrupt closure of that post! Cat hit my Board just as my cursor was paused (or should that be 'pawsd!) over 'Post Message'! *sheesh - everyone/everything wants to use my Board!) :o)

: : : : Like I said, just another slant on things!
: : : : Kate.

: : : :

: : : ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

: : : Oooooo, I love a good meaty discussion......heads comes by two pennies worth! I have always been fairly clear about Duncan and his motives etc. He was an English officer and gentleman, brought up to believe honour and duty, and devotion to ones country were of paramount importance. I have never really seen him as a 'bad guy' in this movie, he lies about what he saw at Camerons Cabin because he sees the bigger picture, the need for England to have victory over the French, as being far more important. But it is this same belief in honour and duty, that ensures he makes the ultimate sacrifice. It is not just about his love for Cora that prompts this sacrifice, I think that he would have done it for any English lady, as he would never have been able to live with the dishonour of not defending 'the fairer sex', to the bitter end. I think that his use of the words 'my compliments, sir' are interesting, because it shows him as being the 'English Officer' right to the bitter end.

: : : And then there is Alice! Isn't it amazing how the least interesting character can be the cause of so much difference of opinion? I always thought that all her actions (or lack of....) were fairly clear until I got talking to Rich about her, and realised that we had completely opposing points of view!! I agree with a lot of what Kate has said. I never thought that Alice was in love with Uncas, simply because she was too naive and inexperienced to know her own feelings. I do agree that she sees Uncas as a protector figure, he projects an authoritative figure at the George Rd incident (with the horses), and again at the Burial Ground (when he keeps her quiet), and then a third time in the cave. When Uncas attacks Magua, the look in her eyes isn't love, it is hope....that once again, he will take control of the situation and protect her. When he fails, she loses that hope, which prompts her move to the cliff edge. Now, here is where Rich and I disagreed, when I watch that (beautifully filmed) scene before she takes the dive, I see a woman who has a moment of clarity. Up until the very last shot of her, she is a trembling, weak, rather pathetic little girl lost. But in the last shot, having made her decision, she has a look of total peace...almost strength. I think that she believed death was the only way out, remember that like the loss of ones honour for Duncan, the loss of a womans virtue would have been the greatest imaginable shame. She could not have known what happened to the others, and Uncas ..... her 'protector' was gone. I think that I am in the minority here, because I think that most people think she killed herself because she was completely overwhelmed by fear, but personally, I think that it was her one and only brave and independent act.

: : : Aaaahh, I feel soooooo much better now that I have gotten that off my chest!

: : : Welcome aboard Tim!

: : : Adele

: : ...........................

: : Hi Adele,

: : Yup, I go along with your views re: Duncan. It was just those points you made regarding the fact that as an English Officer and 'Gentleman', he saw honour, duty and devotion to country as THE most important things in his life, that I made in the last discussion we had, regarding his character.

: : Back in Duncan's day, the head of a well off family would buy Officer commissions for sons, and many generations of families 'belonged' to the same Company. Each generation saw it as their sworn duty to serve not just their Company but their Country, with the highest honour, in the way their fathers and forefathers had done before them. To bring shame and dishonour to their position was to bring shame upon the whole generations of their family and wasn't to be contemplated at ANY price!

: : This 'code' of honour was instilled in Duncan as deeply as in any officer of his time - and when it came to the question of survival of himself or his friends, his sense of honour would not allow him to do other than give up his life for the children of his Colonel, who had been entrusted to his care.

: : I agree with you, Adele, in that his sacrifice was made not only from love of Cora, but through his 'conditioning' that honour demanded it. I think it was a choice he would have made, no matter WHO the girls were, or whether there was a romantic attachment or no.

: : And I'd say that your analysis of Alice's final moments are much the same as mine. I do believe that towards the end of her ordeal, she was terrified, desperate and saw things as being totally hopeless, but I don't think that fear caused her to just jump on impulse. Like you, I believe that in that moment on the ledge, her mind became clearer, her thoughts more lucid and coherent to the point where she was able to understand exactly what her future was likely to be, now that her 'protector' was gone. I think she examined her options rationally and clearly and, taking into account the moral code of ethics at the time - DELIBERATELY chose death before dishonour.

: : And it's that single act that allows us a glimpse of Alice's true character, a stength hidden under her young years. We see the person she might have been had she been older, when the strength gained through life experience may have fitted her more for dealing with such a hostile environment.

: : Yes I agree, Tim, that the script gives us a completely different picture of Uncas's and Alice's relationship. But - going by the actual film, I'm not at all convinced there WAS a 'relationship'. It's interesting - if the new DVD version contained that scene, we'd have to rehash this whole argument! But I think you're right - it behooves us to watch the film AGAIN - just to be sure we've not missed anything!!

: : Kate.
: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

: Hello Ladies!

: I'm going to add my 2 cents worth to the discussion. I'm in complete agreement with you both on the Alice/Uncas relationship and the motives behind Duncan's sacrifice. Throughout the movie, Alice is portrayed as the younger, protected and certainly inexperienced sister. Pampered and shielded from the harshness of life by her father and sister, there's no way she could have been prepared for the savage reality of life in the frontier and the murder and mayhem perpetuated by Magua and his crew. By the end of the movie, she was a creature holding on to sanity by a thread and when Uncas, her protector, was killed, she reached the end of all hope. That's why those few moments on the cliff edge were so powerful. However, having said all of this, I must also agree that if that love scene in the cave had been left in, we'd have to start this discussion all over again.

: ...Jeri


Well Jeri - I dare say we could do it, if we HAD to!! Course, it WOULD mean watching the movie a few more times, just to absorb the new scenes and do justice to the new discussion... I dare say we could do THAT too... if we HAD to...:o)


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