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The DeerSlayer: Chapter 5

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Summary – Chapter Five
Hutter knows there are other canoes hidden on the shore, but thinks these will not be found. Deerslayer and Hurry disagree, though.
Hutter then surveys the area and asks Judith to prepare some food. He asks her to take Hetty with her and this allows him to talk to the men out of the women’s hearing. Hurry tells him he thinks that he and his possessions are in jeopardy. Hutter wants to know if they will help him and Deerslayer confirms he can rely on both of them. Judith interrupts and says they cannot rely on Hurry and she is told to go back to the cooking.
The conversation turns from self-defence to attacking the enemy and Hutter asks Hurry’s opinion on taking scalps for money. It is pointed out that ‘high prices are offered for scalps on both sides’ and Hurry disputes the idea that ‘savage blood’ is human blood, and would take money for ‘a red-skin’s scalp’ as readily as he would for wolf’s ears.
Hutter presumes Deerslayer thinks the same way, but Deerslayer disputes this. However, he does say he will stand by Hutter and defend the females. Hutter says he thinks there are a group of women and children among the camp of Native Americans (who are referred to as Hurons, Iroquois and Mingos at various times) as he has seen the footprints. He says it is possible that a hunting party and a war party have met. He goes on to say how the Colony is willing to pay a bounty for any scalps including those of women and children. Deerslayer disagrees with this idea and Hutter tells him to listen to reason. Judith interrupts once more and tells her father to listen to Deerslayer who has a conscience.
After discussing revenge and the idea of fighting a man with the same weapons he uses, Deerslayer talks about forgiveness, which he says the Moravians taught him. He also says that, ‘revenge is an Injin gift, and forgiveness a white man’s’.
When Judith brings the food, she gives Deerslayer the choicest pieces and shows that she thinks of him as the honored guest. It is now getting dark and after the meal Hurry and Deerslayer row the boat and Hetty comes to her father and sits at his feet and sings. He asks her why she is sad and she says he cannot scalp women and children. He tells her they are at war and she asks him again to not sell human blood.
Hutter changes the subject and says how she must be glad to see Hurry and how he might marry Judith. Hetty says that Judith will never have him as she does not like him. They talk more and the conversation turns to beauty. He tells her to think less of this and more of her duty. She responds by saying how Hurry says ‘beauty is everything in a young woman’.
Deerslayer and Hutter swap places and Judith joins Deerslayer. He senses her charms, and is accordingly somewhat charmed by her. She is critical of Hurry and it is unclear at this point in the story if this is due to her vanity or because of a consciousness of good and evil. As they talk, she notes Deerslayer’s sincerity and she grasps his hand and tells him he is the first man to speak to her without flattering her or wishing her ruin. She goes back inside and leaves him astonished.
Analysis – Chapter Five
The preparedness to scalp women and children for money highlights how little Hutter and Hurry care for morality or the Christian teachings that Deerslayer espouses. It also demonstrates hypocrisy on their part as they accuse Native Americans of savagery when they are seen to be ready to kill for money and not on principal or because of war. This is all the more evident when Hetty who has been described as ‘ignorant’ and is also called ‘feeble minded’ is able to see more clearly that her father and Hurry have made a decision to commit a crime against the codes she has been raised with.


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