The DeerSlayer Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


The DeerSlayer: Chapters 17-18

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Summary – Chapters Seventeen and Chapter Eighteen
Deerslayer reaches the canoe and one of the enemy jumps on his back. As he pushes at it, he and his assailant fall into the lake. When the man’s comrades come to help, Deerslayer yields and during this time Chingachgook and Wah-ta! –Wah have paddled off.
Deerslayer is taken to the fire and Rivenoak recognizes him, and so they know that he killed their friend. The men show their admiration of him for his exploits, but the old woman insults him. After this, Rivenoak talks and Deerslayer introduces himself as Hawkeye. Rivenoak wants him to return to the castle and give the signal for them to come and raid it when it is safe to do so.
Deerslayer says that he cannot do this (he says, as a white man). Rivenoak asks if he loves Hutter and his daughters and Deerslayer denies this. He then explains the connection between Chingachgook and Wah-ta! –Wah and why they were there earlier. Further talk ensues and Deerslayer suddenly thinks he sees a spectre before him: it is Hetty standing by the fire.
She explains that Judith told her to come this time and paddled to the shore. Judith thought she should bring more elephants to trade with but she brought her Bible instead. Judith wants to know what will happen to him, and so Hetty keeps asking him this. He tells her there is a chance he will be tortured.
In Chapter Eighteen, it is explained that as people sleep in the camp three men are used to keep guard of Deerslayer. Hetty wakes at midnight and goes over to the fire and stokes it for warmth. The guard there is not suspicious and when she walks away he presumes another will watch her. She walks away from the sentinel on the beach, who is waiting for his lover, and gets into the canoe that has been brought by Judith.
On being prompted, Hetty tells her how Deerslayer says he might be tortured. Judith reveals she feels more for him than she does for Hurry, and says she thinks Hurry and their father will not be so quick to pay Deerslayer’s ransom as he was to help them.
The two women cannot find the ark and then hear the crack of a rifle and a woman shrieking. They approach where they heard the woman scream and see it is the woman who was meeting the sentinel (as Hetty was leaving). The woman has been shot and is now dying. It looks as though she has been shot from the water.
Analysis – Chapters Seventeen and Eighteen
The capture of Deerslayer means that further incursions will be made into the enemy camp and, therefore, is used to keep the plot moving. This also highlights how this is an adventure novel that is a development on the historical romance rather than a realist text. This is because the main focus is kept on ensuring that action continues rather than claiming to have any semblance of realism. Action and danger are then the central narrative concerns.


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