Re: Mohicans

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Posted by Gayle on March 25, 1999 at 12:16:00:

In Reply to: Re: Mohicans posted by Pat on March 25, 1999 at 11:49:41:

: : : :
: : : : : : : : What is the proper name of the person who is believed to be the last
: : : : : : : : Mohican??

: : : : : : And, of course, if you are referring to the Michael Mann movie, rather than the books, Chingachgook refers to HIMSELF as the last of the Mohicans.

: : : : : : MMMMarcia

: : : : : I don't remember that specifically, but why would he do that? He wasn't a man who overlooked the existence of his son, certainly. I wonder - was that a slip on the part of the script writers? On the other hand, once Uncas was dead, yes, Chingachgook was the last. When did his reference to himself as the last come?

: : : : : Gayle

: : : : Ken, Marcia, Rich and Gayle,

: : : : I always felt that Chingachgook was lamenting the fact that not only his family ended with the death of his son, but his entire tribe ended, also. He was left alone on this earth - the last of his people. To me it is a metaphor for the destruction of an entire race of people - the American Indian. When Chingachgook refers to himself as "the last of the Mohicians" it is sad on the human level because of the loss of his beloved son. It is catastrophic on a larger scale because of the loss of his tribe and, on an even larger scale, the decimation of a race of people. To me, it is the sadist moment of the movie and what it was all about.
: : : : Did anyone else feel this way or am I treading water alone?
: : : : Pat

: : : Pat, I am in 100% agreement. THAT is the movie!

: : Just an additional note to the question of who was the last of the Mohicans. In the book, Hawkeye asks Chingachgook, "But where are to be found those of your race who came to their kin in the Delaware country, so many summers since?"

: : And Chingachgook replies, "Where are the blossoms of those summers! - fallen, one by one; so all of my family departed, each in his turn, to the land of the spirits. I am on the hilltop and must go down into the valley; and when Uncas follows in my footsteps, there will no longer be any of the blood of the Sagamores, for my boy is the last of the Mohicans."

: : This is a beautiful and eloquent speech, but I wonder why Cooper placed it at the very beginning of the book. At that point Chingachgook would not have known that Uncas would be killed, and I should think he would have assumed that Uncas would marry and father sons of his own. I think Mann did it better by reserving Chingachgook's eloquence til the end of the movie. Stronger impact, somehow, and far more significant.

: : Gayle

: I think you're right, Gayle, it was more powerful the way Mann did it. I wonder if Cooper put Chingachgook's speech (about his son being the last of his tribe) earlier in the book for irony - Chingachgook never dreaming that he, himself, would be the last.
: Pat


Good thought. I am always rambling on about Cooper's use of irony, but it never occurred to me in this context. Still, whatever Cooper's intention was in placing it in the very first scene between Hawkeye and Ching, I think somehow he "missed the canoe". Except as, perhaps, one of those self-fulfilling prophecy things. Actually, a movie makes better use of an eloquent speech as a summing-up than a book does. In the book, Tamenund attempted a noble epitaph at Uncas and Cora's funeral, but I think he fell short of real drama, too.

It was the Indian maidens (still re the book) who were the most inspirational with their elegies about Uncas and Cora being reunited in the Hunting Grounds of the Great Spirit. I thought that was truly beautiful, except for the image of Cora hauling around behind Uncas toting his gear and cooking his food for him while he floated around fishing and hunting deer in euphoric eternity. She did better in the movie, ending up with Good Teeth/No Lice/Clean Hair Hawkeye.

Gayle (small grin)

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