Chingachgook - Wikipedia
"Hawkeye (Character) from The Last of the Mohicans ()," The Internet Movie Magua · Chingachgook; Natty Bumppo. Hawkeye is the hero's adopted name; his real name is Natty Bumppo. His closest bonds are with Indians, particularly Chingachgook and Uncas, but he frequently of different cultures—Hawkeye provides a link between Indians and whites. Hawkeye and Chingachgook in the Outback: James Fenimore Cooper in . Ross Gibson detects something of a Natty Bumppo correlative in the figure of the . status in relation to whites, his well known nervousness about miscegenation.
Cooper accomplishes both the legal and cultural work of Native American dispossession through his depiction of Chingachgook in an effort to naturalize the American spread West across the continent. Early descriptions of Chingachgook reveal this fundamental goal: As he walked slowly down the long hall, the dignified and deliberate tread of the Indian surprised the spectators.
His shoulders, and body to his waist, were entirely bare, with the exception of a silver medallion of Washington that was suspended from his neck by a thong of buckskin, and rested on his high chest, amidst many scars. His shoulders were rather broad and full; but the arms, though straight and graceful, wanted the muscular appearance that labor gives to a race of men. Here, Chingachgook's slack arms suggest his inability to labor effectively in the new world.
The movement of the passage from the solitary and aging Chingachgook to "a race of men" signals the broader failure of the Native American race to properly settle and develop the land. This same logic is at the heart of the Lessee v. To leave them in possession of their country was to leave the country a wilderness" Cheyfitz Later in the novel, Cooper suggests the limits of Native American nobility through the voice of Natty Bumppo when Chingachgook has too much to drink: For Cooper, the Native American psyche is fatally flawed in a way that dooms their population to extinction.
What is unique and significant about his description of Chingachgook is that this inner deviance becomes legible through the physical degeneracy of his body.
Chingachgook's slack arms reveal the fate of his people, a physical marker of that more deeply rooted inability to contribute to the growth of a civilization. Cooper refuses to narrate the violent extermination of the Native American population, choosing here to age them out in a seemingly more natural and humane way.
It is for this reason that Chingachgook's old age is continually emphasized throughout the novel—his ultimate fate is consciously marked through descriptions of what can be referred to as his disabled body.
This depiction allows Cooper to conceal the power dynamics that structure his relationship to Chingachgook beneath a discourse of paternalism—he sympathizes with Chingachgook's failings and impending death without being implicated in his fate.
Cooper translates the failures he finds in the Native American race onto Chingachgook's physical body, thereby marking Chingachgook's passing out of his novel—symbolically the Native American population passing out of his nation—as a natural phenomenon, a product of his personal and private limitations rather than the result of the violent acts of dispossession propagated by European Americans.
Thinking about Cooper's representation of Chingachgook in relation to disability also provides critical insight into his death scene at the novel's conclusion.
As a fire breaks out and consumes the forest surrounding Templeton, trapping Elizabeth, Oliver, and Chingachgook, Chingachgook is the only character who chooses to forfeit his life to the flames without resistance. As Elizabeth pleads with Chingachgook to move, Oliver explains, "He considers this as the happiest moment of his life.
He is past seventy, and has been decaying rapidly for some time: Oliver relies on Chingachgook's age and the rapid decay of his body to explain his seemingly irrational decision. While Cooper has set this rationale in place from the opening scenes of the narrative, Chingachgook is marked by physical injury one last time. That Cooper relies on a sudden narrative contrivance to punish Chingachgook rather than the legal apparatus outlined throughout the novel affirms that Chingachgook lacks the legal rights of a citizen, but it also suggests that the law is incapable of perfecting the Indian "nature" that Bumppo observes when Chingachgook drinks to excess.
On the surface of the novel, Cooper's resolution is meant to appear benign. Chingachgook's willing death relieves Cooper of the burden of accounting for the Native American claim to the frontier that shadows so much of the novel, providing a "moment of Anglo-American wishful thinking about all Indians as it masks in suicide Anglo-American homicide of Native Americans" Cheyfitz Chingachgook's suicide is contingent upon the depiction of his disabled body—his physical limitations are deployed as the key rationale for his decision to die.
Cooper is only able to exonerate himself from the Anglo-American destruction of the Native American race by relying on the symbolic efficacy of disability to signal decay, assuming his readers will accept the fact that the type of life he affords Chingachgook is not really worth living.
And this is not the only time in Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales that disability discovers its telos in death—the fate of Hetty Hutter in The Deerslayer exemplifies the logic at work in Chingachgook's suicide even more plainly.
Hetty is described throughout The Deerslayer as "feeble-minded" and "mentally imbecile. When the assault was over, and the dead and wounded were collected, poor Hetty had been found among the latter. A rifle bullet had passed through her body, inflicting an injury that was known at a glance, to be mortal. How this wound was received, no one knew; it was probably one of those casualties that ever accompany scenes like that related in the previous chapter.
The mystery surrounding her bullet wound mirrors the mystery of the injury Chingachgook suffers on the lake. The uncertainty of these scenes signals the superficial means by which both romances are resolved, but mystery is also meant to implicate a higher, more natural power of selection in these characters' fates.
In removing Hetty from The Deerslayer, Cooper also reproduces the paternalist discourse that painted his depiction of Chingachgook: Thus died Hetty Hutter, one of those mysterious links between the material and immaterial world, which, while they appear to be deprived of so much that is esteemed and necessary for this state of being, draw so near to, and offer so beautiful an illustration of the truth, purity, and simplicity of another.
His final nod to the spiritual or even metaphysical implications of Hetty's intellectual disability carries no real weight in the world he has constructed in The Deerslayer. The real implications of her disability can be affirmed only through her sudden death, the most pointed being that disabled individuals lack the necessary abilities to own property. In the law written by the Leatherstocking Tales, disability marks an exclusion from property rights by designating types of people who are physically or intellectually incapable of managing that property.
How Much "Moravian" Is Natty Bumppo?
Hetty's case simply lays bare the essential logic at work in Cooper's depiction of Chingachgook in The Pioneers and the Lessee v. M'Intosh decision rendered by the Supreme Court. The Making of a Hero When Cooper first sat down to write The Pioneers, it seems that his initial intentions for Natty Bumppo were similar to those he held for Chingachgook.
If Chingachgook's fate—and by extension, the larger fate of the Native American population in America—is naturalized through consistent descriptions of his physical frailty, Bumppo's introduction really isn't all that different. For much of the novel, he is depicted as an obstinate, elderly frontiersman whose long, rambling stories trail off into nostalgia for his youth and a former way of life.
In such scenes, Bumppo is never meant to be our hero. But as the novel unfolds, Bumppo's character gradually exceeds the boundaries that Cooper's narrative initially imposes—he moves beyond the marginal role prescribed for him and poses questions serious enough to challenge the novel's resolution. His white identity also provides a stark contrast to Chingachgook's Native American identity, a point that will be emphasized repeatedly in the next of the Leatherstocking Tales, The Last of the Mohicans.
While Bumppo's age may have been intended to mark him as a relic from a past way of life that was no longer tenable, it is his ability to hack out a life on the frontier that becomes so appealing to Cooper. For the last third of The Pioneers, Natty Bumppo is absolutely central to the narrative, and figures most prominently in the final series of action sequences. Bumppo rescues Elizabeth and Louisa from a deadly panther in the midst of the forest, he wrestles the much younger Hiram Doolittle away from his home, and he saves Elizabeth and Oliver from a wild fire that would have otherwise taken their lives.
In all of these sequences as in earlier scenes where he demonstrates his proficiency with a rifleBumppo's age becomes inconsequential; in moments of particular danger and intensity, the reader is able to glimpse a side of the Leatherstocking that does not match his seventy-year-old frame.
Nowhere is this more plainly demonstrated than at the conclusion of The Pioneers when Bumppo pulls Chingachgook from the flames: In one way, this scene dramatizes the conflict at work within Cooper's creative imagination—while Cooper leaves Chingachgook to burn in the fire, he has created a character who will not.
At the same time, it is in this scene that Cooper finally realizes Bumppo's full potential. Through most of the novel, Bumppo is positioned at the borderline between two competing worldviews, one represented by Chingachgook and the age of the open frontier and the other by Judge Temple and the age of civilization.
The critical resistance that Bumppo offers Temple rests on what Johnston and Lawson referred to as the "first world" of indigenous cultural authority, and in this way, Bumppo's critical insight is always dependent upon his relationship to Chingachgook.
In this final scene, that relationship is inverted, where Chingachgook is flung to Bumppo's back and hangs like a child, dependent upon Bumppo for his life.
Here, the Lessee v. M'Intosh decision and the later court decisions that would follow find their perfect cultural allotrope—as Bumppo discovers his proper place in the national imaginary, Chingachgook is removed to the position of "domestic dependent.
Donald Pease writes in Visionary Compacts that "Cooper invented a figure who was able to transform cultural dispossession—that of the Mohicans—into a form of self-possession" Bumppo's heroic attempt to save Chingachgook's life is intended to render the Mohican dispossession benign; instead of the Euro-American destruction of Native Americans, Cooper tells the story of a white man risking all to save a doomed race.
Bumppo becomes the American heir to the frontier landscape above all else because of his ability to survive at the borders of civilization. He demonstrates his self-possession at the conclusion of The Pioneers not only through his physical strength in rescuing Chingachgook but also his mental acuity in leading Elizabeth and Oliver through the fire. Scenes like this will be repeated throughout The Leatherstocking series, where Bumppo engages in long philosophical digressions in the midst of the most dire of situations, affording Cooper the chance to show his readers the difference between his hero's capacity to reason and the animal spirits of his Indian foes.
Yet, it is only in the final passage of The Pioneers that Natty Bumppo passes from an aging literary character to the mythic hero of the Leatherstocking tales: He had gone far towards the setting sun—the foremost in that band of pioneers who are opening the way for the march of the nation across the continent" In this passage, Cooper is finally able to resolve the conflict between Bumppo and Judge Temple that threatens the neat resolution of the narrative; the oppositions between Bumppo and Temple, nature and civilization, individualism and property, freedom and law, all dissipate.
Instead, Bumppo and Temple are revealed as ideological partners in the nation's spread west; in fact, Bumppo is put in the service of Temple, blazing a trail west for civilization to follow. Bumppo passes into myth as he passes out of time, becoming the ideal of a type of American whose cultural value has not been exhausted with the passage of any one historical epoch: In passing from the realistic character of The Pioneers opening pages to the mythic figure of the novel's conclusion, Bumppo's age is no longer of consequence, revealing the representative frontier hero's identity as necessarily able-bodied.
That is the true myth of America. She starts old, old, wrinkled and writhing in an old skin. And there is a gradual sloughing of the old skin, towards a new youth. It is the myth of America" Richard Slotkin echoes these sentiments in Regeneration through Violence: Leatherstocking, in the course of the cycle, passes from old age through death in The Prairie, into a new youth.
Thus the legend of Leatherstocking, as it unfolded for the American reader ofwas a myth of renewal and rebirth of the hero. Moreover, the movement backward in historical time to Leatherstocking's youth was accompanied by a movement toward a more mythopoeic conception of the wilderness… Both Lawrence and Slotkin intuit the close relationship between the Leatherstocking's mythological status as frontier hero and Cooper's narrative reversal of the natural aging process.
Slotkin suggests that as Cooper became increasingly conscious of Leatherstocking's constitutive role in a uniquely American mythos, he felt compelled to return his hero to an age of youthful and manly vigor. And Lawrence demonstrates that Cooper's tales reach beyond his specific historical context to resonate with something much more deeply embedded in America's cultural unconscious.
No reader of Cooper today encounters the Leatherstocking Tales outside the knowledge of their eminent status in the canon of American literature. Cooper's set of five novels achieved the class of "great works of American literature" through the consensus of the myth and symbol school of literary criticism that emerged after World War II.
As Donald Pease explains, "each of the masterworks of the myth-symbol school…presuppose[s] a realm of pure possibility where a whole self internalized the norms of American history in a language and series of actions that corroborated American exceptionalism" "New Perspectives" For Pease, the masterworks of the myth-symbol school produced metanarratives about American history in an effort to define what was unique and original about American culture and society, but in the process, they went beyond simply describing these narrative myths and participated in shaping their trajectories.
Lewis's The American Adam provides a paradigmatic example of this tendency as he traces a genealogy of the Adamic figure of American innocence in order to draw a portrait of a uniquely American character out of the body of nineteenth-century literature. For Lewis, the American Adam represented "a radically new personality," "an individual standing alone, self-reliant and self-propelling, ready to confront whatever awaited him with the aid of his own unique and inherent resources" 5.
It is of little surprise that Lewis positioned Cooper's Leatherstocking as the archetype of this figure: Cultural and individual self-renewal was the aim of the day's most magnetic metaphors…Cooper completed that motion a number of years before either Walden or Leaves of Grass—the journey from Natty Bumppo's old age and death in The Pioneers and The Prairie to his birth and golden youth in The Deerslayer—and he completed it in terms of the character of his hero and the experience which shaped it… Natty Bumppo becomes Lewis's ideal Adam in part because he exists outside of time—he passes from old age into youth and is both renewed and immortalized in Cooper's final Leatherstocking Tale, The Deerslayer.Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans THE PRINTER S1E37
He invites readers to follow the order of publication in reading Cooper's Leatherstocking series, and participates in the production of, rather than simply describing, a uniquely exceptionalist American mythos that gains its affective force through the figure of the lone hero hacking out a life at the boundaries of civilization.
Whatever Cooper's initial reasons for returning to the Leatherstocking mythos after the death of Natty Bumppo in The Prairie, critical responses like those of Lawrence and Lewis have not only recognized but celebrated the unusual timeline that animates Natty Bumppo's passage from old age in The Pioneers to death in The Prairie and finally rebirth in The Deerslayer.
These critical responses function to remove the figure of the Leatherstocking from the specific texts he inhabits we can recognize this through the fact that Natty Bumppo is really only the central protagonist of The Deerslayerpresenting a timeless hero represented popularly by the image of the hero of The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans rather than The Pioneers or The Prairie capable of occupying the American cultural consciousness on his own mythic terms.
My contention in this essay is that the myth of American youth that D. Lawrence located in the Leatherstocking Tales carries its own reality effects that are neither benign nor innocent. Cooper's imaginative reversal of the natural aging process reflects a corporeal hierarchy that has been occluded by the critics evaluating his work who have privileged the youth and manly vigor of the young Leatherstocking over his more elderly depictions.
In the process of nominating the Leatherstocking Tales as a uniquely American story, critics like Lawrence and Lewis have simultaneously suggested that the mythos Cooper writes is actually contingent upon this reversal, that the mythic body is necessarily an able body. Far from disturbing America's myth of ability, the myth-symbol school of literary critics who established the American canon participated in its ideology, presupposing a "utopian space of pure possibility where a whole self internalized this epic myth in a language and a series of actions that corroborated the encompassing state fantasy of American exceptionalism" Pease, "New" The myth-symbol school and the Frontier Adam they authorized participated in the articulation of America as an exceptionalist nation of pure possibility, and imagined white, able-bodied men as the agents of that possibility.
Conclusion In contrasting Chingachgook's disabled body to Bumppo's able body, Cooper marks disability as the exception that confirms able-bodiedness as the norm. Positioning disability outside of America's conditions of belonging, Cooper relies on the logic of disability to provide meaning to the category of race—Chingachgook's physical degeneracy inscribes the racial degeneracy of his people.
For Natty, killing a rival in love is murder, and he sets such a case apart from a state of war or self-defense. Judith has the right to make her own choice from among her suitors.
Natty's Moravian manners are also evident in his sympathetic cultural relativism and the instinctive humanism he displays in his defense of the Native Americans. They have their gifts, and their religion, it's true; but that makes no difference in the end, when each will be judged according to his deeds, and not according to his skin. Some of their teachers say, that if you're struck on the cheek, it's a duty to turn the other side of the face, and take another blow, instead of seeking revenge, whereby I understand—" "That's enough!
How long would it take to kick a man through the Colony—in at one ind, and out at the other, on that principle? Revenge is an Indian gift, and forgiveness a white man's. Overlook all you can, is what's meant; and not revenge all you can. They think all the colonies wrong, that offer bounties for scalps, and believe no blessing will follow the measures.
Above all things they forbid revenge. In The Pioneers they form an element in the texture of the local history.
If Cooper wanted to capture the social structure of the region, he had to include them, at least as a reference. Their significant role in the past is grudgingly acknowledged by old Natty, who wishes they had been less successful among the Delawares. After an absence of any mention of the Moravians in The Last of the Mohicans, they are given the role of teachers of history and culture in The Prairie. Thirteen years later, in The Pathfinder, Cooper attempts a new configuration of their influence by establishing a balance between Natty's admiration and distance.
Natty appreciates their teaching but does not convert to their faith and does not join their Church. In The Deerslayer the role of the Moravians is further expanded and they come to epitomize not only the teachers of history and culture, but also the teachers and correct interpreters of the ethics of the New Testament and agents of cultural relativism.
This shift is reflected in the changing conception of Natty. He develops from a religiously indifferent frontier old-timer to an open-minded proto-American. Even though the Natty of The Pioneers is not entirely determined by class, his better social qualities and manners are attributed to his service to the upper-class Effinghams. In the last two novels, The Pathfinder and The Deerslayer, the role of the upper-class gentlemen is replaced by that of the Moravians.
But Cooper does not allow a complete identification with the Moravian value system; Natty's identity is located in a particular place the frontier and in the culture of his origin Anglo-American. His cultural identity is also shaped by the best foreign influences, which, to my pleasure, are represented by the Moravians. These foreign influences give rise to alternative progressive perspectives that fertilize the American mind.
The three phases—distance, absence, and positive presence—also become three aspects of Natty's attitudes to the Moravians because they do not replace one another but are added as a new semantic layer in the structure and continue to coexist. Works Cited Alpern, Will J. Lawrence and the Leatherstocking Tales. In The Leatherstocking Tales, vol. Ljungquist and James A. Library of America, The Last of the Mohicans; A Narrative of The Prairie; A Tale.
Yale University Press, Zinzendorf and the Early Moravians. History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, A History of the Moravian Church, 2nd ed. Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Oxford University Press, The Last of the Mohicans: Civil Savagery and Savage Civility. Political Justice in a Republic: James Fenimore Cooper's America. University of California Press, James Fenimore Cooper Society Website.
Accessed October 16, Accessed October 10, End Notes 1 There are several studies dealing with Heckewelder's influence on Cooper's representation of the Native Americans: Barbara Mann painstakingly reconstructs Natty's genealogy from the information scattered elsewhere in the pentalogy and argues that Natty is in fact a mixed-breed, who having run away from the Moravians, as a child, joined the Delawares.
His adoption was easy because of his Delaware parent. Penguin Books, Even though Allan Axelrad found many mistakes and faults in Lawrence's essay, in my opinion the retrospective change of Natty from an old man to a young man is a hard fact, no matter what happens in between, that is, between the first and the last of the novels of the Leatherstocking Tales. Franklin, "'One More Scene,'" Wallace, and Warren Walker. Axelrad, who in his paper elaborates David Noble's argument.
Axelrad, "The Order of the Leatherstocking Tales: Morton also mentions Kay Seymour House Cooper's Americans, as one of the most persuasive defenders of the biographical order. Morton supports the sequence that follows the order of publication and seems to embrace D. Lawrence's approach that seeks larger patterns, a movement from reality to myth and progression to a greater mastery of art, proving himself "an experimenter with form" Morton, online. The Early Years, Will Alpern asserts that Cooper also read the works of other important Moravian missionaries, Loskiel and Zeissberger.
For a more contemporary account of the special missionary policies of the Moravians among the North American Indians see Gallagher, UTB, ,