May 08, 11
Read in May, 2011
The last time I read this book was in High School and that was only for my love of Daniel Day Lewis's La longue carabine. As I remembered, the book was vastly [VASTLY] different from the film. This time around, I find the book surprisingly closer to the film than my memory first serves. Racial and gender politics aside, the plot shared more similarities than I expected. Yes, we have Cora and Alice traveling to Fort William Henry and get caught up in Magua's personal vendetta against their father (which is, as it turns out somewhat righteous, at least by today's standards of personal responsibility--Magua's misfortunes are largely the consequences of his treatment at the hands of white colonials, something that contemporary audiences probably wouldn't agree). They get captured and recaptured a few more times than in the film, but in Cooper's original it is dark haired, dark eyed (and biracial) Cora, not Alice, who ends allowing herself to get offed by a militant Indian just as Uncas, who is in love with her (and presumably acceptably so given her "tainted" blood line) and dies trying to save her. So Hawkeye isn't the stud-muffin that I my teen-self hoped. He's tall solitary woodsman--a perpetual bachelor. The American Indians in this work are also largely portrayed as either foolish, weak (and cowardly) or far too bestial to ever be redeemed. Oh Cooper.