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James Cooper 1826 [the Last of the Mohicans]

James Cooper 1826 [the Last of the Mohicans]

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Published by: Groveboy on Apr 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Last of the Mohicans
 James Fenimore Cooper 
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The Last of the Mohicans
It is believed that the scene of this tale, and most of theinformation necessary to understand its allusions, arerendered sufficiently obvious to the reader in the textitself, or in the accompanying notes. Still there is so muchobscurity in the Indian traditions, and so much confusionin the Indian names, as to render some explanation useful.Few men exhibit greater diversity, or, if we may soexpress it, greater antithesis of character, than the nativewarrior of North America. In war, he is daring, boastful,cunning, ruthless, self-denying, and self-devoted; in peace, just, generous, hospitable, revengeful, superstitious,modest, and commonly chaste. These are qualities, it istrue, which do not distinguish all alike; but they are so far the predominating traits of these remarkable people as tobe characteristic.It is generally believed that the Aborigines of theAmerican continent have an Asiatic origin. There aremany physical as well as moral facts which corroborate thisopinion, and some few that would seem to weigh againstit.
The Last of the Mohicans
698The color of the Indian, the writer believes, is peculiar to himself, and while his cheek-bones have a very strikingindication of a Tartar origin, his eyes have not. Climatemay have had great influence on the former, but it isdifficult to see how it can have produced the substantialdifference which exists in the latter. The imagery of theIndian, both in his poetry and in his oratory, is oriental;chastened, and perhaps improved, by the limited range of his practical knowledge. He draws his metaphors from theclouds, the seasons, the birds, the beasts, and the vegetableworld. In this, perhaps, he does no more than any other energetic and imaginative race would do, being compelledto set bounds to fancy by experience; but the NorthAmerican Indian clothes his ideas in a dress which isdifferent from that of the African, and is oriental in itself.His language has the richness and sententious fullness of the Chinese. He will express a phrase in a word, and hewill qualify the meaning of an entire sentence by a syllable;he will even convey different significations by the simplestinflections of the voice.Philologists have said that there are but two or threelanguages, properly speaking, among all the numeroustribes which formerly occupied the country that nowcomposes the United States. They ascribe the known
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