Study Guide

Alice Munro in Last of the Mohicans

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Alice Munro

She's a Nobel Prize-winning author of short stories, and our own personal hero.

Oh, wait. Wrong Alice Munro. This Alice Munro, the character in The Last of the Mohicans, is, in the words of her sister Cora:

"Kind, gentle, sweet, good, as mortal may be. There is not a blemish in mind or person at which the proudest of you all would sicken. She is fair—oh! how surpassingly fair!" laying her own beautiful, but less brilliant, hand in melancholy affection on the alabaster forehead of Alice, and parting the golden hair which clustered about her brows; "and yet her soul is pure and spotless as her skin!" (33.90)

In other words, Alice is the archetypical nineteenth century pure, sweet, morally upright, and utterly useless heroine. Even "heroine" is stretching it too far. Alice is an archetypical "damsel in distress," one who throws up her hands when the bad men arrive and inspires good men like Heyward to everlasting devotion.

The Last of the Mohicans demonstrates the ridiculousness of women like Alice on the frontier, even as it uses her as motivation for Heyward's chivalry and the impetus behind some of the more daring feats of skill exhibited by the other men.

We've mentioned how Cooper pushes stereotypes a little too far, even when the stereotypes are positive (Uncas, anyone?), and Alice is one example of this. She has all the bland ineffectual sweetness of an early Disney princess… the kind of heroine that would have contemporary princesses like Elsa shaking their heads.

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