The DeerSlayer Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


The DeerSlayer: Chapters 30-32

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Summary – Chapters Thirty, Thirty One and Thirty Two
The break in proceedings is explained by the appearance of Judith and she is wearing the brocade dress. She impresses them all and asks to speak to the principal chief. Through Deerslayer, she goes on to address Rivenoak. She claims to be of high rank, but to avoid lying she does not specify her position. She offers a ransom of two more elephants and the pistols, but Rivenoak declines and says they want to see if Deerslayer is as stout-hearted as he boasts.
Deerslayer disputes this and says no man has heard him boast. Rivenoak counters this and points out that he is boasting he is not a boaster. Rivenoak asks Hetty about Judith, knowing she will tell the truth, and she tells him that Judith is her sister.
When Rivenoak moves out of earshot, Deerslayer tells Judith he wishes she had not come and will likely lose her liberty as well. She says she cannot stop the process, but can suffer and die with her friends. She then quietly passes him the message that his friends are not idle and that ‘half an hour is all in all to us’.
Judith’s entrance has had the opposite effect of what she desired and Rivenoak has now abandoned the wish to save Deerslayer. He is tied up more tightly and a fire is lit. The aim is to break his ‘resolution’ before killing him and ultimately they intend to scalp him. The fire is too close to him, though, and Hetty rushes through and scatters the blaze.
The fire is lit again and this time a Native American woman dashes the fire with her foot. It is Wah-ta! –Wah and as the others realize she quickly has time to say something to Judith and place a small knife in her hand. The young women crowd round Wah-ta! –Wah as she is a great favorite with them. She passes this to Hetty in the hope she will cut the ties on Deerslayer’s hands and then pass it to him. Instead, Hetty cuts at the strap that is now around his head.
This is noticed and distrust is aimed at Wah-ta! –Wah. She insults Briarthorn with ‘bold language’ and says how he should be put face to face with Deerslayer. This is the man who wanted her for a wife and has been barely tolerated in the camp. This idea is rejected, though, but then a man appears and cuts the ties holding Deerslayer. When he shows his face, he reveals he is a Delaware (it is Chingachgook). He asks for them to be allowed to leave, but Briarthorn throws a knife and Wah-ta! –Wah deflects the blow. In the next instant, Chingachgook throws a knife at him and hits him in the heart. Shortly after, troops are heard approaching and the scarlet uniforms are seen and Hurry is with them.
Chaos ensues as the enemy try to leave. Deerslayer shoots two of his recent tormentors and this draws fire from the Hurons. The soldiers do not shoot; instead they kill with their bayonets.
In Chapter Thirty One, it is the next day and there are around 20 officers at the ark and castle. Two look through glasses to see officers on the shore burying bodies. One of the men watching is Captain Warley and he says how all has changed. It is also explained that Hetty is dying.
Rivenoak is captured and is on the ark, and Hetty is inside close to death after being shot. The others are there with her and she says how her eyes are failing. She asks Warley about what happened and he explains that Hurry, Chingachgook and Wah-ta! –Wah helped the soldiers to find the camp.
Hetty then speaks to each of her friends and tells Deerslayer she feels they will meet again. She tells Hurry that she wishes he would try to be more like Deerslayer. She dies after saying goodbye to Judith.
In the final chapter, Chapter Thirty Two, Hetty is laid to rest the following day and is put in the lake beside her mother. The castle is to be abandoned and we are told no explanations are asked for or given. Judith wishes to remain with Wah-ta! –Wah and the ark takes the soldiers away.
Deerslayer rows her away and she asks him to stop near the graves. At this point, she makes a proposal to him and says how they could live together here. He tells her she is in haste ‘to fill the places of them that’s lost’. He thanks her and says he cannot take advantage of her. She tells him she will burn the brocade dress to show him how completely she wants nothing more than to be his wife, but he questions that this will make her happy.
She realizes he is saying that he cannot marry without loving somebody and he does not love her. They say no more and when on the land she follows the trail of the soldiers to the garrison and passes Wah-ta! –Wah unnoticed. Deerslayer follows Judith and she asks him if he has been influenced by what Hurry has told him. He says nothing and she sees from his face that it is true and with her heart nearly broken she continues on her way. He stands irresolute for some time and then joins the Delawares.
15 years pass before Deerslayer revisits the lake with Chingachgook and Chingachgook’s son; Wah-ta! –Wah is now dead. The remains of the castle are still visible and the ark is found stranded. Deerslayer finds a ribbon of Judith’s and his heart beats quicker, but it also reminds him of her ‘failings’. He then ties it to the gun she gave him.
They leave with melancholy feelings. Nobody remembers the Hutters now and this is also true of Judith. When Deerslayer (who is now referred to as Hawkeye) went to the Mohawk garrison, no one knew her but an old sergeant told him that Sir Robert Warley lived ‘on his paternal estates’ with ‘a lady of rare beauty’ in the lodge. She has great influence over Warley, but does not bear his name. It is not known for certain if this woman is Judith.
Analysis – Chapters Thirty, Thirty One and Thirty Two
At the end of the novel, Deerslayer’s morality is once more a focus as he is seen to decline Judith’s idea of marriage as he has been influenced by Hurry’s view of her. This view is shaded by the stories of her flirtations with officers, and her decision to follow their trail rather than leave with Wah-ta! –Wah emphasizes how this is the only path left open for her. The readers are not given an explanation about this, though, and her perspective is no longer followed once she finally leaves the central character, Deerslayer.


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