Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Chapter 30

By James Fenimore Cooper

Chapter 30

  • Epigraph from Merchant of Venice on judgment.
  • Uncas stands in the center of the circle completely calm.
  • Tamenund asks which language Uncas speaks. Uncas replies in the same language.
  • The crowd is taken aback. (Yes, we're all mystified as to why that's news.)
  • Tamenund chastises Uncas, saying that even though he's an old man, he's never seen a Delaware so shameful as to sneak home.
  • The two bicker. Tamenund chastises him for selling out to the English; Uncas chastises them for selling their pride to the French. Tamenund shames him for deserting his people at a time when warriors are needed.
  • Tamenund tells his people to deal with Uncas as a traitor.
  • Someone tells the crowd that the sentence is torture by fire.
  • Everyone freaks out except Uncas, who remains calm. Some overeager young warrior runs up and rips off Uncas's shirt. The Delaware Indian freezes in shock. He points to the small tattoo of a turtle on Uncas's chest.
  • Uncas smiles calmly and then calls out to the crowd: "My race upholds the earth!"
  • Brief explanation here: The Lenape believe that the world rests upon a turtle's back. Uncas, who belongs to the Mohican tribe, is part of the lineage that supposedly supports the world. He says: "My race is the grandfather of nations!"
  • Tamenund is overjoyed to have met Uncas.
  • Uncas tells him that the only Mohican warriors left are himself and his father Chingachgook. Tamenund tells him that they had heard of two great warriors who had left their places at the council fire empty.
  • Uncas explains when the white men encroached on their land, his forefathers decided to continue heading towards the setting sun (that would be west) until the time comes for them to return.
  • Uncas, seeing that the crowd is content with his explanation, makes his way over to Hawkeye and cuts his bonds. He takes his friend to Tamenund and tells him that Hawkeye is a friend to the Delawares.
  • After some interrogation, Tamenund accepts Hawkeye and asks about Magua, who steps forward and demands the prisoner he has given to the Delawares.
  • Uncas has explanations for why each of the prisoners should be freed, with the exception of Cora. Magua claims her as his own.
  • Uncas, upset, has no counterargument.
  • Tamenund tells Magua to leave with Cora, who is horrified at the prospect of becoming Magua's wife … because Magua is the worst.
  • After repeated attempts to bargain with Magua, he finally leaves with Cora. At one point Hawkeye even offers to become the Hurons' prisoner if he releases Cora. He continues upping his offer, but Magua remains undeterred. Cora says bye-bye all around.
  • Uncas tells Magua to get lost, and that when the sun has cleared the trees, the Delaware Indians will begin their pursuit.
  • Magua's parting words are nasty, but he leaves the encampment protected by the laws of Indian hospitality.