Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Genre

By James Fenimore Cooper

Genre

Historical Fiction, Romanticism, Tragedy

In the beginning of one of the best movies ever made, The Princess Bride, a kind grandfather introduces his grandson to an awesome book. "Has it got any sports in it?" the grandson asks. The grandfather answers: "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautiful ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."

Yeah, The Last of the Mohicans is kind of like that… except without the magical stuff. It's a big genre casserole—you throw everything in a buttered pan and cover it with crumbled Doritos, er, a tragic massacre at Fort William.

We'll just list the primary genres here, to make things easy-peasy.

The Last of the Mohicans falls primarily in the realm of Historical Fiction and Adventure. This is fairly easy to figure out—after all, the novel incorporates real historical events such as the massacre at Fort William Henry and the dang French and Indian War.

The Last of the Mohicans also falls under the category of Romanticism. No, no "romance," although we have our Alice/Heyward and Cora/Uncas couplings, and Daniel Day-Lewis looks a little Fabiotastic on the cover of the film version of this novel. Romanticism was a primarily 19th century genre that explored high emotion and the natural world. The Last of the Mohicans definitely has emotions running amok in the wilderness.

It's also a Tragedy because of the senseless deaths at the end—both Cora and Uncas' and the larger death of the Mohican tribe.

By blending all of these genres, Cooper manages to offer a little fun for all types of readers… except, maybe people who don't like stories about men convincingly dressing up like bears. Luckily, we've never met the soulless weirdo who doesn't like that kind of story.