Saturday, July 20, 2019

James Fenimore Coopers Last of the Mohicans: Book and Movie Essay

James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans: Book and Movie    The book Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper was very different from the movie Last of the Mohicans in terms of the storyline. However, I feel that the producer and director of this movie did a good job of preserving Cooper's original vision of the classic American man surviving in the wilderness, while possibly presenting it better than the book originally did and in a more believable fashion to a late twentieth century reader.      Ã‚     The makers of the movie Last of the Mohicans preserved Cooper's central ideas and themes very well, the most important of which   is the question, what makes a man?   Very few books that I have read contain such a clear sense of what a man should be as Last of the Mohicans.   Cooper portrays the hero, Hawkeye, as brave, independent, and skillful in the ways of the woods.   He is a tracker, he can hit a target with a bullet from any distance, he can fight the evil Iroquois Indians without batting so much as an eyelash.   The makers of the movie take great pains to preserve these facets of Hawkeye, but then go beyond what Cooper originally laid down as the basis for   his hero's character.   In the book, Hawkeye displays very little feeling and the reader has very little empathy with him, even though he is the hero.   In the movie, however, there is a great romance between Hawkeye and Cora that does not exist in the book.   This romance adds a more human side to Hawkeye's character;   it show s his caring side beyond all the hero-woodsman qualities--in other words, the non-Rambo, late twentieth century version of a hero.   Every hero should ha... ...d, when Magua, the evil antagonist, kills Uncas and Alice is presented with the choice of being Magua's wife or killing herself, she chooses death. Cooper's original intent was to have Cora killed for being "impudent," while Alice remained docile and alive.   Instead the makers of the movie transform even the wimpy Alice into a character of strength and independence (the late twentieth century ideal), as shown in her final act of suicide.   Cora, also strong and blessed with the ability to think for herself throughout the film,   survives.   I f these changes added a lot to the characters of both Cora and Alice, who in the book were stick figures, "females" who did virtually nothing but be saved. and because of this again reinforces my opinion that the movie retains Cooper's vision and presents it better than Cooper did himself.

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