The DeerSlayer: Chapter 4

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Summary – Chapter Four
This begins with a description of the ark and we are told it bears a resemblance to a modern canal boat. Hurry leaps on board to talk to Judith and Deerslayer enters cautiously and examines everything minutely. He then looks at Hetty with interest. He tells her he knows her name and when she asks what his is, he says he has had many. He explains the Delawares rarely ‘settle’ on a man’s name until he has had the chance to show his ‘true’ nature in war or a council meeting. He says this is the first war he has known (that is, the Anglo-French King George’s War), but the enemy has not come this far yet.
 
She asks for all of his names and says she wants to know what to think of him. He explains his background and that he is a white-born Christian and his given name is Nathaniel or Natty Bumppo. He tells her the Delawares saw he was trustworthy and first called him Straight-tongue. He was then The Pigeon, Lap-ear and now Deerslayer.
 
He sees her flush when she mentions Hurry and notices where her affections lie. Hutter appears and is pleased to see Hurry and this is especially so as he has been warned ‘that the Colony and the Canadas were again in trouble’. Hurry introduces Deerslayer and Hutter says he is welcome as ‘in such times, a white-face is a friend’s’.
 
Deerslayer asks Hutter if he is certain that the ‘red-skins’ he has seen are Canadians. Deerslayer then reveals he is meeting a Native American friend and Hutter questions his honesty as he sees treachery as ‘an Indian virtue’. Hurry defends Deerslayer and says he will answer for his honesty, but Hutter still wants to know the reason why he is here.
 
He explains to Hutter that the Delawares wanted him to go out among white people when they heard news of the war so that he could find out the exact details. On his return, he met an officer of the Crown who had money to forward to ‘friendly tribes’. It was thought to be a good opportunity for him and Chingachgook to go out on their first war-path together. He says Chingachgook has another reason for coming this way too, but it does not affect Hutter.
 
Deerslayer asks to see the moccasin Hutter found to see if it belongs to a Delaware man or not. He examines it and says he believes it is not one of theirs and thinks it is a northern one from beyond the Great Lakes. Hutter knows they will have to move from where they are and explains to Deerslayer they are at a disadvantage to enemies while in this place.
 
As they come out into the lake, Hutter says this is the most dangerous time and tells his daughters to go into the cabin and asks Deerslayer to be on look-out. He does so and sees a party of Native Americans and also notices they are wearing war paint and are from ‘a hostile tribe’. He shouts for Hurry to pull to get them away. Six of the attackers try to jump on the boat but only one of them manages it and Judith pushes him off into the river.  Deerslayer takes her back inside and shortly after the boat is fired at with guns. The attack soon stops as the enemy do not want to waste their ammunition and the ark moves further off into the lake.
 
Analysis – Chapter Four
When the introduction is made between Deerslayer and Hetty, the opportunity arises for the reader to be given more information about the central character. He reveals, for example, how he has had various names and what these imply about his character.
 
Hutter is also exposed more to the reader and his intolerance of Native Americans is dropped casually into the conversation. His trust of Deerslayer depends on his being a white man and when he claims treachery is indicative of a Native American no direct questioning of this is made.
 
 

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