The DeerSlayer: Chapters 26-27

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Summary – Chapters Twenty Six and Twenty Seven
Before Deerslayer leaves, Judith says she wants Hetty to go with him and he finally agrees to this. He then wants to talk to each one before he departs and tells Judith to remember that good looks do not last forever.
 
He moves on to Chingachgook and says there should be moderation in the way Native American women are treated. He wants to give his possessions to Wah-ta! –Wah if he does not return and she will be able to sell these and pay for labor. He also asks him to bury his bones if there are any left.
 
He leaves with Hetty in the canoe and on the way she asks him why he is returning. He explains how he is a captive and has made a promise.
 
In Chapter Twenty Seven, it is explained that he returns at exactly the right time and finds everybody gathered at the shore. There are two main chiefs present (Rivenoak and the Panther) and neither move nor speak until Deerslayer introduces himself and says he is ready to receive his judgement.
 
The chiefs consult together and the widow of the man he killed is included in their talks. Deerslayer is told the widow needs food for her children and is told to shoot deer for them and call himself her husband. Deerslayer says he has dreaded this and would not do so in ‘peaceable times’ still less to save his own life.
 
There are murmurs of disgust and the most resentment comes from the Panther (as the widow is his sister). He throws a tomahawk at Deerslayer and he catches it by the handle and throws it back at him. It strikes the Panther between the eyes and kills him on the spot.
 
While the people crowd around the Panther, Deerslayer runs away. He reaches the open woods and rifles are shot at him. He runs in a diagonal straight line up an incline. He stretches himself beneath a fallen tree and those chasing him run over the tree and down into the glen. When it is safe, he throws himself over the tree and runs away. At this point, he is seen and is now surrounded on three sides and decides to try to reach the canoe.
 
He finds it but realizes the paddles have been removed. He runs with it further into the water and casts himself forward into the bottom of it. He lies there for a few moments and notices it has gone quiet on the beach. He knows this is a foreboding of evil. The canoe is shot at and he looks through the bullet hole to see where he is. He is fired at again when he attempts a ruse of putting his cap on a branch (which he brought with him when leaving the shore). He begins to row with the stick and is shot at again. The stick breaks and he decides to leave his chances to the drift of the water and knows the voices are growing more distant.
 
Analysis – Chapters Twenty Six and Twenty Seven
Deerslayer’s refusal to submit to the demands of the enemy is indicative of his stoicism and, of course, his often quoted refusal to contemplate marrying a Native American woman. Both points come together in the demand that he marry the widow in return for his life.
 
His escape from the enemy adds weight to this depiction of a brave, unmovable man and the descriptions of the chase are also useful means to enhance the adventure story.
 
 
 
 

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