The DeerSlayer: Chapter 3

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Summary – Chapter Three
Hurry has been thinking of the ‘beauties’ of Judith while Deerslayer has been admiring the lake and wants to set off to find her and her family. Before doing so, he checks the shores with his ‘ship’s glass’ and believes Hutter will be in the southern part.
 
They leave in the canoe and on the way they argue about Native Americans and Hurry refers to them as ‘savages’ and his prejudices against African-American and Native American people in comparison to whites are detailed. Deerslayer disputes his racist arguments and says ‘God made all three alike, Hurry!’
 
They then talk about appearances and Hurry tells Deerslayer he thinks he is not good-looking. Deerslayer says he does not deny that at times he wishes he were ‘comely’ but then reminds himself he is better off than many and is able to look evil in the face.
 
They hear a noise on the land and Deerslayer gets out of the canoe to see what or who it is. He discovers it is a buck and when Hurry sees it too he shoots and misses it. Deerslayer criticizes him for trying to shoot a deer when there is no need to do so for the food or hide. He admits his name is Deerslayer but says he is not a slaughterer.
 
Their conversation turns to shooting men again and Hurry says there are no scruples required when shooting ‘an Injin’. Deerslayer disputes this: ‘I look upon the red-men to be quite as human as we are ourselves, Hurry.’ Hurry says such talk is ‘downright missionary’ and this will have little favor in this part of the country ‘where the Moravians don’t congregate’. He has no logic for his racism, but his conscience ‘accused him of sundry lawless acts against the Indians’.
 
They paddle on and find the outlet to the river where they think they will also find the ark. Eventually, Hurry spots Hutter on a bank and presumes out loud that Judith will not be in the mud and says she is more likely to be looking at her reflection in a spring. Deerslayer tells him he ‘overjudges’ young women and a woman’s voice is heard saying ‘it’s a pleasure to hear truth from a man’s tongue’. It is Judith and she thrusts her face through an opening in the leaves. It transpires the two men had dropped alongside the camouflaged ark without realizing it.
 
Analysis – Chapter 3
Hurry’s racism towards Native Americans is challenged up to a point by Deerslayer in his argument that ‘red-men are quite as human as we are ourselves’. However, it could be said that this defence of Native Americans and of diversity generally is weakened as the narrative develops. At this point, though, there is at least a semblance of questioning the prejudice that marks those people who are not white as lesser than those who are descended from white Europeans.
 
 
 
 

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