Ellen's Reviews > The Pathfinder: Or The Inland Sea

The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper
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Jan 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: classic, historical-fiction, 19thc-pd, 18thc-tp, identity, nationalism, masculinity, domesticity, whiteness-studies
Read from December 18, 2012 to January 05, 2013

The following review contains spoilers if you haven't read The Prairie or if you don't read the introductions of the Penguin Classics editions.

If you're reading the Leatherstocking Tales in chronological order of the story, you may or may not know that Natty kicks the bucket at the end of the series. If you're reading the series in chronological order of the publication dates, then you are already aware of this fact before you read The Pathfinder.

Since Cooper decided to kill off his hero in the third novel he wrote for the series and his fans wanted more heroic adventures of Natty Bumppo, he wrote The Pathfinder, which is supposed to take place between the events of The Last of the Mohicans and The Prairie. Unfortunately, because Cooper wanted to show his fans how Natty remains a hunter throughout the series without the chance of settling down with a wife and family, The Pathfinder is a bit short on action and violence that The Last of the Mohicans and The Deerslayer (as I've read so far) deliver. Still, that isn't to say there were no other good points about this novel. As I found when reading The Deerslayer (after reading The Last of the Mohicans), The Pathfinder was easier to read although it took a little longer to digest because the action just wasn't as prominent. Plus, the language is beautiful even though some readers might find it tiring. It might be the opposite of Hemingway as far as lack of simplistic style, but there is lots to be said about Cooper's ability to evoke such detailed imagery.

Really, this book is meant to show the readers that Natty does try to retire from his life as a hunter, but he can't because he's just too darn fitting for the job. Hey, if you're great at what you do, why quit?
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03/08/2016 marked as: read

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