Re: The Deerslayer

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Posted by Kate on November 06, 1999 at 20:40:52:

In Reply to: Re: The Deerslayer posted by Gayle on November 06, 1999 at 15:54:04:

: : : So! How about Hurry Harry? What do you like or dislike about him, and why do you think Cooper created the character?

: : : Gayle

: : Happy Deerslayer Day!!! I liked Hurry Harry! He put me to mind of Forest Tucker. He's so moody and unpredictable, though. Totally opposite of Natty. I think that is the purpose of Hurry's character. To provide contrast. Hurry makes Natty look all the better. Then you have the contrast between the two sister's. I can only imagine what is going to happen when all these opposites are thrown together.

: : Dana S.

: I tend to want to like Harry, too, at times. He is like Duncan in the movie - has a few admirable traits. When he actually attacked Natty for commenting rather cooly that he would not hesitate to pass on Harry's threat to the proper authorities if Judith's hypothetical husband were found murdered, I had the feeling that he was absolutely without morals or any kind of human feeling whatever. That impression was strengthened when he spouted off about his views on the relative status of the races. Still, it was Harry who had discovered the sapling bowed down by the weight of the snow and stopped to straighten it and prop it against a branch so it could grow up toward the sun - a very compassionate and sensitive thought for someone who comes across as so crude and unfeeling. And I wondered - does Harry have some redeeming qualities after all, and is he going to turn out to be a hero of sorts? Still it is Natty who is written as the thoughtful moralist. Cooper creates some interesting contradictions in these two men as the story progresses - worth keeping track of.

: Does it strike you that Hetty Hutter and Natty Bumppo are written as mirror images of each other? How often does Cooper describe Natty's looks, expressions and actions with precisely the same words he uses to describe Hetty? Do you see any real difference in the two characters other than the fact that Natty is free to roam the forest and make a life for himself, while Hetty must remain dependent and sheltered because she is a girl? Again, the deceptive contrast of characters - when all is said and done, will Judith display the same strength of character and self-sufficiency that Hetty does? This is another thing to ponder as the book progresses.

: So where are Chris and Kate when we need them? Hey guys - it's Deerslayer Day!

: Gayle


Yo, Gayle and Dana!

I'm here! (getting onto the 'net on a Friday night is like trying to fish without worms!!)

So - Hurry Harry? Well, actually, I LIKE him!! Well, I find him the more 'human' of the two. He has lots of faults but he also has many redeeming qualities.

But to be honest, I don't much care for our 'Natty' - I couldn't be comfortable with him!! Don't get me wrong - I admire his strength of character, his honesty and his integrity. But he takes it to a level that I would find difficult to live with. He is uncompromising and isn't willing to 'bend', even for a friend. Of course, he's young and hopefully, with some 'life experience', he's going to learn to 'give' a bit, and learn that sometimes the 'truth' isn't always what it seems! Also that it is sometimes better to compromise and be tactful rather than truthful! Perhaps he 'gets better' as the book progresses - I hope so!

Yes, I can see that JFC HAS written the characters in direct contrast to one another. He does that with his environment too - the smooth, shimmering lake, with the untouched wild country around it. A land of contracts, the different kinds of people on the frontier, the moral differences between Native and White - alliances of Delaware and Huron, etc., etc., But, I will have to keep reading to really get the 'whole picture' of where he is taking us with this story.

I am finding their attitudes towards race and mental disability hard to accept - yes, I realise that those were the attitudes of the day and our 'friends' were probably less bigotted and racist than many people of that period, but living in THIS time, I find it hard to read those comments and not want to 'smack' someone! However, I'm getting through that.

As for JFC's descriptions, they are so graphic, indeed you do feel that you are actually 'seeing' those images! The description of Muskrat Castle and its construction was particularly vivid and I SWEAR I was there with Floating Tom and Hurry Harry and helping build the darn thing!!

'Natty' and I have hardly met Hetty, so I can't really comment on their similarities yet. However, I suspect that she is far from being 'touched in the head'. I suspect Hetty's quiet, thoughtful ways (not to mention her 'louder' sister) tend to mask her real 'identity', but, again, let me get back to you on that.

Wherever this story is going, I'm really enjoying it!! And now I'm going to bed and grabbing another five minutes with 'Natty' before 'lights out'!

So, take care, all,

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