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The red-skins should be friends, and
look with open eyes on the white men.
See Important Quotations Explained
The red-skins should be friends, and
look with open eyes on the white men.
Heyward searches in vain for Alice. He discovers that
the Hurons, who think he is a doctor, want him to cure a sick Indian
woman. At this moment, Magua appears and identifies Uncas as Le
Cerf Agile. He convinces the other Hurons that Uncas should be tortured
and killed the next morning. The Huron chief takes Heyward toward
a cavern at the base of a nearby mountain. On the way, they encounter
a strangely friendly bear that follows them closely. Inside the
cavern, the sick woman rests in the company of other women and Gamut.
The psalmodist sings at her bedside on behalf of her recovery; when
the bear imitates his song, Gamut hurries off, dumbstruck. Heyward
can see that the woman will soon die with or without his aid.
The chief sends away the other women and exhorts Heyward
to cure the sick squaw. However, when the bear begins to growl,
the chief takes fright and leaves. The bear removes its own head
and Heyward realizes the bear is actually Hawkeye in disguise. Hawkeye
explains that he led Munro and Chingachgook to safety, leaving them
in an old beaver lodge. Hawkeye tells Heyward that Alice is concealed
in the very cavern in which they stand. Heyward goes to Alice and
tells her they will rescue her soon. He explains that he dreams
of an intimate tie between himself and her. Magua suddenly appears
in the cavern, laughing in a sinister tone. Hawkeye and Heyward
capture him and tie him up. Alice is incapacitated with fear, so
Heyward conceals her in the clothing of the dying Indian woman and
takes her in his arms. Outside, he tells the chief that he will
take the squaw he holds to the forest for healing herbs. Heyward
says an evil spirit remains in the cave, and the Hurons should stave
it off if it tries to escape. Once they reach the forest in safety, Hawkeye
sends Alice and Heyward toward the Delaware camp, while he returns
to help Uncas.
Still dressed as a bear, Hawkeye returns to the camp,
where he finds Gamut. The bear frightens Gamut until he understands
that it is simply Hawkeye in disguise. The two men proceed to the
main lodge and find Uncas. When the Hurons are at a safe distance
from the lodge, Uncas takes the bear costume, Hawkeye takes Gamut’s attire,
and Gamut dresses like Uncas and resumes his place at the stake.
Because Gamut’s singing has prevented the Indians from attacking
him in the past, he assumes it will protect him now. As Hawkeye
and Uncas escape and approach the woods, a long cry pierces the
night, and the men realize the Hurons have discovered their deceit.
They feel confident that Indian superstition will save Gamut, so
Hawkeye retrieves their hidden guns, and they hurry toward the Delaware
The Huron warriors descend upon the man they think is
Uncas, although the man they attack is actually Gamut in disguise.
Gamut begins to sing wildly, and the Hurons draw back in confusion.
The Hurons discover the sick woman, now dead, in the cavern, along with
the bound Magua. They release Magua, and he explains how Hawkeye
tricked them. The Hurons, now furious, debate what to do. The wily
Magua persuades them to act cautiously, and they agree to follow
his judgment. The Hurons again trust Magua’s intuition and passion
and grant him primary leadership power. Magua leads twenty warriors
toward the Delaware camp. On the way, a chief whose totem is the
beaver passes the beaver pond, where he stops for a moment to speak
to his animals. A very large beaver pops its head out of a dam,
which pleases the chief. After the chief passes by, the beaver removes
its head to reveal Chingachgook.
Magua appears in the Delaware camp the next morning, looking unarmed
and peaceful. He discusses the current situation with Hard Heart,
the great Delaware orator. However, Magua does not learn any news
about Cora, who first came to the camp as his prisoner. He seeks
to please the chief of the tribe by giving him gifts. He shocks the
assembled Indians by revealing that he suspects the white man La
Longue Carabine hides among them. Magua reminds the people that
La Longue Carabine is a notorious Indian-killer.
More than a thousand Delawares congregate to hear the
judgment of the ancient and revered sage Tamenund, who is more than
one hundred years old. Shortly after Tamenund appears, warriors
bring Hawkeye, Cora, Alice, and Heyward to the assembly. In an attempt to
protect his companion and stall for time, Heyward claims to be La
Longue Carabine, but Hawkeye insists that Heyward is lying. To Magua’s
delight, the Delawares stage a shooting contest to determine which
man is truly La Longe Carabine. Heyward is a good shot, but Hawkeye
displays almost superhuman marksmanship. Magua stirs the crowd into
a frenzy of hatred, and the Indians tie up both Hawkeye and Heyward.
Attempting to gain some time, Cora implores Tamenund to hear the
pronouncements of Uncas. Tamenund is lethargic and skeptical, but
not unwilling to welcome the Mohican.
Cooper makes Alice’s behavior in the cavern conform to
the stereotype of the weak, emotional woman. Alice’s fragility inspires
Heyward to declare his feelings for her, which suggests that in sentimental
novels at least, men find feminine weakness sexually attractive.
In sentimental novels, characters frequently demonstrate their love
by performing a rescue. Heyward conforms to the sentimental model
when he rescues Alice. Heyward and Alice typify the romantic pairing
of sentimental novels: the brave, manly hero and his weak, lovely
lady. While Cooper includes a stereotypical couple, he also breaks
with the all-white world of sentimentality. He invites the reader
to enjoy the adventures of Heyward and Alice but to develop greater
admiration for their counterparts, Uncas and Cora. Despite their
kindness and good intentions, Heyward and Alice are disempowered
by their unfamiliar surroundings. In contrast, Uncas and Cora are
brave, complicated, and dignified characters.
Although Hawkeye drops out of the plot for chapters at
a time, he always reemerges at pivotal moments to affirm his position
as hero of the novel. He occasionally pops into view like a cartoon superhero,
whipping off his bear head to reveal himself or demonstrating outrageous
shooting skills in a contest. Hawkeye looks even more impressive
in the shooting contest in contrast to the well-meaning Heyward,
who cannot quite find his footing in this strange and unfamiliar
Cooper emphasizes the differences between Hawkeye, the
hero, and Magua, the villain. Hawkeye proves his heroism through action,
but Magua uses language to effect his villainy. Despite their differences,
however, Hawkeye and Magua share some traits. Just as Hawkeye bursts
onto the scene after disappearances, Magua slinks back, reappearing
even after he is thought dead. One of his surprise entrances occurs
in Chapter XXV, when at the pivotal moment he announces his presence
with a sinister chuckle.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Last of the Mohicans!