The novel is set during the 3rd year of the French and the Indian war. There are hostile Indians who live in the forest which makes it a dangerous place to be in (Cooper, 1982, p 3). The Indians use the mountains, rivers, waterfall, rocks and caves to hide from the enemies. There are also ponds and a lake which they cross using canoes in order to move from one area to another. The forest has wild animals such as the wolves and deer. The wolves appear during the night to feed on the deer that have been killed by Indians.
By reading the novel there are various themes that emerge as follows:
David Gamut has expressed his religious affiliation many times. He knows the insights of psalmody which is a popular practice of setting biblical teachings. He worships by singing the Old Testament psalms. When Gamut meets Heyward, Alice and Cora for the first time, he joins them in singing a religious song first sung in New England.
Another instances where religion is displayed is when Gamut in remembrance of his dead colt sings a sad religious song. He is joined by other women and they all sing religious songs to help him in mourning. After defeating the Huron’s, Hawkeye and Montcalm cite religious doctrines. Gamut sings psalmody beside a sick woman at the Huron camp when he had gone to rescue Alice. The Indians believe in healing herbs and evil spirits.
When Gamut wants to escape from the Huron camp after Alice’s capture, he constantly sings to prevent the Indians from attacking him.
The Fort in the novel is the main source of conflict.
The French and British are fighting over the Fort William Henry and the French have given the British some conditions. The French have promised that they will protect the British from the Indians if they allow them to take over the Fort. Indian tribes want to take Fort William Henry from the British. Whites and Indians are in constant conflict which has led to the warring battles among themselves.
Other instances of conflict in the novel are shown when Hawkeye shoots Magua as he runs away from them since he is an enemy. After defeating the Hurons, Hawkeye and Gamut disagree on the type of songs to sing.
Mohicans kill Gamut’s colt when it’s noisy to avoid attracting attention from the enemies. They kill the colt dispose the body in the river. Gamut is wounded by rifles from the attacking Indians and they react by returning fire with Chingachgook. The two groups continue fighting and Heyward is wounded while Hawkeye kills an Indian with his rifle.
The fight is between Hawkeye, Mohicans and the Hurons. The Hurons are finally defeated. Chingachgook takes the initiative to scalp the dead Hurons. He kills a French sentinel and firing occurs between the British and French forces. The Indians emerge victorious as they attack and kill the British. They also drink their blood.
There are different groups of people but they are able to understand each other through interactions among themselves. For instance Heyward translates Magua’s words to Alice and Cora telling them to be silent in the forest because of the Indian enemies hiding in the forest.
The novel also has a theme of power. This is shown when Hawkeye and Chingachgook are hunters who carry rifles as weapons. Their power is portrayed when they attack and defeat their enemies. Tamenund is more than 100 years old and his power is portrayed when the Hurons obey him when he calls for an assembly to convey his judgment. He is able to influence and control them. His words carry a lot of weight. He is revered by the people.
Interracial love and friendship
The novel shows a lot of interracial love and friendship. French General Montcalm has allied with Indian tribes. Magua is an Indian scout who is loyal to the British General Webb. Uncas is attracted to Cora despite their different races. Hawkeye is a white man whose best friend Chingachgook is Mohican. As the Whites and Indians interact, some become friends while others become lovers. They have to tolerate and accept each other’s culture and way of life.
Changing idea of family
As the story progresses, the people start viewing family and relationships differently. They shed off the constraints on the status quo. Uncas is attracted to Cora despite their racial differences. Hawkeye, Chingachgook, Uncas, Heyward, Gamut, Cora and Alice belong to different races yet they protect each other as if they are one family.
There are people in the novel who are great heroes and have accomplished a lot. Hawkeye and his group killed an Indian, defeated the Hurons and released the prisoners. There is a memorial site where Chingachgook and Hawkeye won a battle a long time ago which keeps the Indians away. Heyward returns Alice and Cora to the Fort in peace as they were able to capture them from their enemies.
Cooper, J. (1982). The Last of the Mohicans. New York :Bantam Classics.