The DeerSlayer Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


The DeerSlayer: Chapters 12-13

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Summary – Chapters Twelve and Thirteen
The next morning Deerslayer gives Chingachgook some of Hutter’s clothes and advises him to wash off his war paint. Although disgusted, he sees the necessity of this and does so.
Deerslayer and Judith talk again about paying a ransom with a rifle and powder. She agrees that they need more than this and refers to her father’s chest. They search for the key to unlock it and Chingachgook notices immediately that there is a difference between the clothes of the two women in their room. He guesses correctly that the key will be with Hetty’s few possessions (as Hutter does not mind that Hetty knows what is in his chest).
Deerslayer opens the chest and says Judith should look in it alone as it is likely to hold family secrets. She stops him and asks both men to stay as she has not been trusted to do so before. Deerslayer does as she asks and opens it.
He takes out fine items of male clothing and Chingachgook is especially taken with a scarlet coat. Judith then tries on a beautiful brocade dress that is also in the chest and Deerslayer praises her. He is reluctant to go down to the third layer as they have enough to barter with and Hutter may keep his secrets. Judith is reluctant to part with the dress, but Deerslayer explains she can trust to her looks and does not need such finery. The chapter ends with the discovery of two pistols (in the chest).
In Chapter Thirteen, they discover that the guns are loaded and have been for a long time. Deerslayer says they should fire them and his explodes. There is also a mathematical instrument used by seamen in the chest and Judith says this is not her father’s just as the clothes are not.
Deerslayer then takes out a small bag that contains chess pieces. He asks Judith if her parents talked of religion and when she says her father did not he says he has no God and thinks he worships these pieces as idols. She laughs and says she thinks he got hold of them as a sailor. She explains that one of the pieces is in the shape of an elephant and has seen pictures of these at the garrison and her mother had a book with them in. She recounts how her father burnt her mother’s books before she died and how she sometimes thinks this hastened her mother’s death.
Chingachgook says this piece will buy the ‘whole tribe’ but Deerslayer says it will be counterfeit money as it will encourage idolatry. Judith recollects these could be part of a game and when they find a board he comes round to her way of thinking. They decide to use the elephant pieces as payment and put everything else back in the chest.
Hetty suddenly appears in the doorway with a Native American youth. They came on a raft and Deerslayer tells Chingachgook to remain out of sight. Hetty explains what happened and that after reading from the Bible her captors said they would be happy to come to church here and wish Deerslayer would lend them the canoes to bring her father, Hurry and their women to the castle to ‘listen to the singing of the pale-face Manitou’. Judith thinks this is a trick and Deerslayer questions Hetty more and finds out the raft was ready for her to leave (like a miracle, according to her).
Deerslayer then lets the youth have a good look at the elephant piece so he can give an accurate description of it later. He then asks him what they intend to do with the captives. The youth signals that they will be scalped. Deerslayer tells him that two of the pieces are offered as ransom for the two men and is sent back to tell them.
Chingachgook and Hetty talk and she explains that Wah-ta! –Wah wants him to come for her an hour after dark at the point where Hetty landed last night.
Analysis – Chapters Twelve and Thirteen
The search through Hutter’s chest is ostensibly made to find items to bargain with. However, this also enables some more mystery to be alluded to in terms of his past, as it is not certain if the rumors of his earlier days as a pirate are true or not at this point. This background also allows for the introduction of certain exotic items that help to move the plot along. In addition, the references to the chess pieces, for example, are used to display both Deerslayer’s ignorance of worldly matters as well as his piety .


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