Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Race

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When we talk about race, we're talking about racism. And when we talk about racism, we're talking about the racism that our dear author, Jamie Cooper, exhibits toward his characters.

The narrator treats race as deterministic within the world of the novel: white characters exhibit certain character traits (simply because they're white) and Native Americans exhibit certain character traits (simply because they're Native American). For example, The Last of the Mohicans traffics in the stereotypes of the "noble savage" and the vaguely magical, nature-lovin' Native American. It's an old novel, and it totally buys in to some super-backwards, old-timey thinking.

Questions About Race

  1. What are considered quintessential "Indian" qualities in The Last of the Mohicans? How is this complicated when assessing "Huron" qualities or "Mohican" qualities?
  2. What about quintessential "white" qualities?
  3. Do you think The Last of the Mohicans can be considered racially progressive? Why or why not?
  4. What is Hawkeye's attitude towards interracial mixing? To what extent does he consider it acceptable?

Chew on This

Magua represents Native Americans in decline, while Uncas represents the last of the "noble" and "uncorrupted" Native Americans.

Whiteness, in The Last of the Mohicans, is viewed as a mixture of gentility and incompetence.

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