The DeerSlayer: Chapter 2

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Summary – Chapter Two
Deerslayer says how it would warm Hurry’s heart to sit in a lodge of the Delawares on a winter night to ‘listen to the traditions of the ancient greatness and power of the Mohicans’. Hurry calls him ‘fri’nd Nathaniel’ and says that ‘these red-skins are notable boasters’. Deerslayer agrees with this, but sees this as another gift from nature.
 
Deerslayer then finds the fallen tree that Hurry has been searching for. This contains a canoe inside the dead trunk and when they retrieve it they reach the shore in 10 minutes.
 
The lake and the area around it are both described as not yet being ‘defaced or deformed’ by ‘the hand of man’. Deerslayer then spots something, which is a home built on the water, and Hurry tells him that the officers from the garrison call it Muskrat Castle. There is also a boat, which is referred to as the ark, and both belong to Hutter. Deerslayer explains he knows the meaning of the word ark from the teachings of the missionaries and then tells him the story.
 
They get in the canoe and head towards the castle and Deerslayer continues to appreciate the area that belongs to no one but the King in name. He is also pleased that Chingachgook arranged to meet him at the lake as it means he has had the chance to see this ‘spectacle’.
 
Hurry explains that the castle is built on a shoal and how Hutter made this as he had been burned out three times before (by Native Americans and white hunters). In one ‘affray’ with Native Americans, he lost his only son and since then he has lived on the water for safety. It has been constructed with protection in mind and is sturdier than the usual frontier log cabins.
 
They reach it and realize the place is empty. Deerslayer enters and looks around with curiosity. He goes in a bedroom and notices it belongs to the daughters. This brings back childhood memories and he thinks of his mother and how her ‘homely’ clothes resemble those he thinks belong to Hetty. He also thinks of a sister whose taste for ‘finery’ resembles Judith’s.
 
The two men then talk of hunting and Deerslayer explains he was given the name by the Delawares as he has killed deer, but has not killed a man. They then discuss the lake and March says it has not been mapped by the King’s surveyor yet. He says how the Native Americans refer to it as ‘Glimmerglass’ and Deerslayer says he is pleased that it still does not have a ‘pale-face name’ as he thinks such christenings ‘always foretell waste and destruction’.
 
Analysis – Chapter Two
The gradual colonization of the United States is made reference to in the mention of the naming of the lake and the King’s surveyor mapping the land. Although this is not investigated fully, there are the suggestions that the land is being gradually measured and contained by outside (white British) forces. When Deerslayer says he is pleased that the lake does not have a ‘pale-face name’ yet, an observation is made of how destructive the colonization process has been and will continue to be.
 
This chapter also reiterates the youthfulness of Deerslayer. This is apparent when he explains to Hurry that he has not yet killed a man, as this indicates he has not yet matured in the eyes of those who live the frontier life.
 
 
 

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