Re: The Character of Duncan

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Posted by Gayle on July 30, 1999 at 17:39:33:

In Reply to: Re: The Character of Duncan posted by MMMMarcia on July 30, 1999 at 12:25:13:

: Rich wrote:
: : Absolutely! Duncan, along with Cora, were developed more, I thought, than ANY of the other characters. The two British "aristocrats" - in love at one time, apparently, back in Europe - face a world totally foreign to them. Each handles it in their own way, but each seems to come to an appreciation, of sorts, by film's end.

: I agree with most of what you say, Rich, but I AM curious as to why you think Cora & Duncan were "in love" back in Europe. This may be so in the book (?) but in the movie, my impression is that Duncan is in love with Cora & has apparently been pursuing her for some time. But Cora very clearly states to him that even though she wishes they did, her feelings "don't go beyond friendship." I get the distinct impression that she has never been in love with him, and thus, does not want to commit to marrying him, regardless of the advice she may have received from others. Again, I refer strictly to the movie version.

: I DO feel that we are given the story from the perspective of the "three Brits," for sure. Hawkeye may be the central character in the tale, as far as a hero is concerned, but the impressions of him, the country, the war, and the tragedies are presented to us, if not through the eyes of the Brits, at least through their points of view and interpretations of events.

: MMMMarcia

Rich and Marcia,

I get the impression that Duncan and Cora have been at least good acquaintances for many years - perhaps grown up knowing each other. The British system of arranged marriages at that time tended to pair sons and daughters according to their family status and bloodlines, as well as professional (military) connections. It is probable that, being up-and-coming in the military, Duncan was more or less the assumed suitor from the point of Munro, even as he was in the book. It is doubtful that Cora was consulted. Unfortunately for Duncan, he was so steeped in tradition that he would have died before doing something so direct as grabbing her, taking her out behind the fort and kissing the daylights out of her. If he had, Cora might have thought a little differently about him, because she responded to honest passion. That's where Hawkeye had the advantage - he could appeal to her more "directly", so to speak.

Cora was not your average simpering British blueblood daughter, and I imagine she was more or less looking for a good way out. Not that Duncan would have made a bad husband - he was as honorable and reliable as a young man could be, but I think Cora was looking for something more than spending the rest of her life sitting around tatting lace and giving orders to the maids. She was the one who actually anticipated an "adventcha", and I don't necessarily think she pictured a Hawkeye appearing to make her day. She was up for whatever the new frontier had to offer. Even without Hawkeye the colonial scene made life with Duncan look pale by comparison.

It is still interesting to hear and read how the American Experiment is viewed through the eyes of the Brits. But you're right, Rich, the movie was looking at the colonial situation from the British point of view. Another aspect of the music that fascinates me - Cora's theme captures so penultimately the English garden feeling. It makes the transition of her personality to the American frontier even more obvious.


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