Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Plot Analysis

By James Fenimore Cooper

Plot Analysis

Initial Situation

Okay, great. This appears to be pretty basic. Cora and Alice need to reunite with their father at Fort William Henry and they're going to need a little help: the path is confusing and full of Native Americans ready to scalp them. Luckily, they've got the dreamy Major Duncan Heyward for protection, a (hopefully) reliable Indian guide named Magua, and a singer named David Gamut for entertainment. 

Conflict

Whoops: the guide Magua proves to be a traitor. He has been leading them the wrong way. This discovery kickstarts the plot of this novel and gives us our villain.

Complication

Cora, Alice, and Heyward have deviated from the initial plan, which always leads to greater complication. Luckily, Hawkeye and his Mohican companions agree to serve as guides for this hapless trio. In this particular story, "complication" means "hiding from Indians in a cavern," "taking a canoe down roaring rapids," and "listening to strange sounds in the wilderness."

Climax

The Last of the Mohicans is in the running for "Goriest Climax Ever." After a long and perilous journey, our group reaches Fort William Henry. Hooray! Except, whoops, there is a crazy-bloody massacre by local Native American tribes, and Cora and Alice are abducted by Magua once again. Boo.

Suspense

This is quite possibly the most fun part of the novel, what with all the disguises (bears and beavers!) the role-playing, and the edge-of-your seat action that occurs in the efforts to rescue Alice and Uncas. This part of the novel is still suspenseful, however, because we don't know if they're going to get away with it. (Psst—they get away with it. This time.)

Denouement

Cora refuses to marry Magua. A Huron Indian kills her. Uncas kills the Huron Indian. Magua kills Uncas. Hawkeye kills Magua. That James Fenimore Cooper is one sick puppy.

Conclusion

Here in the conclusion we see the aftermath of the denouement and how everyone copes with their grief. This conclusion has an added poignancy as we see Chingachgook taking on the new role as the last of his tribe. The book effectively closes, then, with the curtain falling on Native American civilization. At least Cora and Uncas are given very nice funerals?