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MonkeyNotes-The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
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Minor Theme

James Fenimore Cooper has woven the theme of romanticism into The Last of the Mohicans at several levels. In his description of the land, Cooper displays the spirit of a lover. Reams and reams of space have been filled in his book by his special love for the extraordinarily hard but beautiful life of the frontier. Indeed, Cooper so romanticizes this hard frontier life that it seems that the brutal destruction and killing of men does not hamper, but, in fact, enhances the joy of living this kind of life.


Romance among the characters also infuses a kind of subtle spirit to the general feeling of the book. Rather than emphasizing this aspect, however, Cooper willingly underplays it, teasing the reader with "wistful looks" and "longing sighs." While the feelings that Duncan and Alice have for each other are eventually made explicit, the relationships between the other characters are especially subtle. The reader can actually sense Uncas being drawn to Cora, or even Magua's strange and harsh desire for Cora. Indeed, Magua and Cora's relationship can almost termed as some kind of magnetic attraction, in which the players are equally attracted and repulsed.

Romanticism is a special theme added to enhance the ambience of the book. It gives a very soft yet subtle touch to the happenings. Yet the undercurrents felt throughout the book are almost crackling with pent-up desires and longings. Between Cora and Uncas, this tension is most apparent. There is a vast difference in their backgrounds, yet there is a unique bond that brings them closer together. In life they cannot fulfill the spirit of romanticism -- nor the fictional conventions of the day -- but in death they bridge the gap.

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