Historical aspects in Last of the Mohicans - Essay Example

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The Last of the Mohicans: The History of Native American Stereotypes Word Count: 1762 (7 pgs.) I. Introduction From what we know of the history of Native Americans in America, much of what was learned in The Last Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 simply reinforces the thought patterns that whites had of Native peoples during that time period…
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Historical aspects in Last of the Mohicans
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Download file to see previous pages As such, we will analyze how Native Americans were first perceived by the original settlers at Plymouth Rock, by the government with the Trail of Tears, and later on by politicians who bargained with and swindled the Lakhota Sioux. II. The Sorrow: Plymouth Rock When the settlers arrived at Plymouth Rock, Native Americans were considered quote “savages,” as evidenced in the following sentence found in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans: The man had “…a look so dark and savage, that it might in itself excite fear” (Cooper 1859, 47). This stereotype of the Native American painted as some sort of inhuman creature was only reinforced by the idea that they made them feel that there was a definite threat to their women (white women). “Notwithstanding the fearful and menacing array of savages on every side of her, no apprehension on her own account could prevent the noble-minded maiden from keeping her eyes fastened on the pale and anxious feaures of the trembling Alice” (Cooper 1859, 373). While this was not an unmitigated fear, as some white settlers’ wives were caught and captured to be made part of the Indian tribes, this fear was largely propagated by white people—and widely-circulated as rumor that Indians were always on the prowl for some fair, blond-headed maven that they might take in search of satisfying their savage lust. Of course, that is not to say that there was not favoritism displayed even among tribes, as Cooper notes. “[T]here is but little love between a Delaware and a Mingo…” (Cooper 1859, 249). Nor, can it be said, was there the absence of nepotism either. “The Hurons love their friends the Delawares. . . . Why should they not? They are colored by the same sun, and their just men will hunt in the same grounds after death” (Cooper 1859, 365). Surely, by the same token, Cooper—being a white narrator—tries to preface a racist statement by saying the equivalent of, “I’m not racist but…,” thus attempting to neutralize any shred of judgmental ideas coming after that statement as not being perceived racist. Cooper writes, “I am not a prejudiced man, nor one who vaunts himself on his natural privileges, though the worst enemy I have on earth, and he is an Iroquois, daren’t deny that I am genuine white” (Cooper 1859, 36). In essence, he is saying, “Not that this really has anything to do with him being Iroquois, but this guy is the most annoying chap I’ve ever met on the planet. Oh, and did I mention he’s Iroquois?” Well, if was a fact that didn’t matter, why was the fact mentioned? The mere fact that Cooper mentions that the other person being Iroquois didn’t matter, mattered. If he had just simply said, “Well, there was this annoying guy.” But, since he mentioned that the person also happened to be of a certain race, that sort of tempers the statement, tinging it and tainting it in a most unusual fashion—in essence coloring the way one sees the sentence. Indubiously, one is led to believe that perhaps if one Iroquois person is an enemy, then perhaps naturally should many or all Iroquois be one’s enemy—by nature of whatever unpalatable elements the Iroquois people may possess. Although Cooper does not expressly say it, he is (yes) being racist. Although he tries to paint a dapper picture with his writer’s quill, he is has unremarkably sullied the way he will forever be remembered in history— ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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