Re: Chingachgook's Birth Game

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Posted by Gayle on May 12, 1999 at 12:04:33:

In Reply to: Re: Chingachgook's Birth Game posted by Kathy S on May 07, 1999 at 22:56:08:

Kathy wrote:
: Hi Gayle,

: I'm so glad you are back.When you, Elaine and other interested parties hash out the details of JFC's books, it keeps the topic of Cooper and HIS characters a very lively part of this board. It's stimulating to read the posts, and always makes me want to read more of Cooper's works.

: I've always been a little curious about your knowledge of Cooper. (Maybe I missed a post somewhere along those lines.) And I bet there are others besides me who would love to know how you got interested in Cooper's books. So, if you don't mind, could you share how you came to be so knowledgeable. Are you a teacher? Or is it a hobby? Is Cooper just one of your favorite authors? Whatever the case, your insight adds so much.Thanks.

: Kathy S

Dear Kathy,

Old Mohican saying - "Flattery will get you everywhere!" Actually, if our discussions of Cooper's work are stimulating and make you want to read the books, I'm really pleased. Now, when you post in and say "I READ one of his books, and I want to talk about it", then Elaine and I will die happy!

As to my "knowledge" of Cooper, I think it's just a matter of my mind set. I have always enjoyed an author who can settle back and weave a really good tale. Cooper wrote about my home territory of Upstate New York, so I can visualize exactly where and what he's describing. His characters are not, for the most part, superficial stereotypes, nor are his plots predictable. They are as multifaceted and conflicting as any people and life circumstances can be, so I enjoy working through the situations whether I like the characters and endings or not. Some I love dearly, such as Natty Bumppo, Cora Munro and Guert Ten Eyke; and some I thoroughly despise, such as Mabel Dunham, Eve Effingham and Richard Jones. Cooper was an acute observer of human nature, but one has to really study his characters, because just like real people, they are not necessarily what they seem. Cooper is subtle - he can take you for a ride if you don't read carefully.

All in all, I guess my "knowledgeability" consists simply of having read more of Cooper's works than most people and having truly listened to what he had to say through his characters and the unwinding of his plots. I ponder a lot - and Cooper gives me a lot to ponder about. And just as you say reading our discussions makes you want to read his books, reading his books makes me research and learn - about history, about Indian tribes, about the realities of our cultural and social and political foundations - in order to ferret out what is really going on in the stories and the characters' lives.

To answer your other questions, no, I am not a teacher, nor is studying Cooper just a hobby with me - it ranks right up there in my life with oxygen and rocky road ice cream. And yes, Cooper is one of about fifty favorite authors, which run the gamut from Dickens to Dave Barry. Go figure ;o).

At any rate, thanks for asking, and thanks for the feedback on the Cooper discussions. Any time you want to get in there and wrestle with Cooper's plots and characters, we'd love to have your views and ideas. Just as with the movie, there's no one way to view the books. All analyses are interesting to play with.


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