The DeerSlayer: Chapter 8

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Summary – Chapter Eight
Deerslayer tells them that their father and Hurry are in ‘Mingo hands’, but that by sunset they will be reinforced by Chingachgook’s presence. He explains what happened and after a meal he asks about their father and if he was a sailor. Judith replies that she does not know and the chest probably contains information about this, but the fastenings on it are too strong.
 
Hetty reveals her father often opened it when Judith was away but she will not tell her father’s secrets. Judith changes the subject and asks him to explain what happened earlier that day too (as they heard the gunshots). He then explains who Chingachgook is and how he is a Mohican by blood and the son of Uncas, a great chief.
 
They talk about Hutter and Hurry again and Judith says she thinks they will not be scalped, and Deerslayer says he believes their captors will eventually want revenge and he and Chingachgook will try to free them.
 
He then tells them Chingachgook’s secret errand, which is to bring back Wah-ta! –Wah as they have taken a fancy to each other. This woman has gone missing, as she has been stolen from her people, and they think Briarthorn is the culprit as he also desires her.
 
Judith then asks Deerslayer who his sweetheart is. He says it is ‘nature’ and cannot ‘in reason’ love a Native American woman as he has a ‘white heart’ and thinks he will think in this way at least until the war is over.
 
They lock up the castle and canoes and in the ark Deerslayer checks around with the ship’s glass. It looks safe and no preparations for a raft appear to have been made, but he knows they are more vulnerable for being spied on by others. They set off to meet Chingachgook and Deerslayer keeps altering the course so as to deceive anybody watching.
 
Analysis – Chapter Eight
When Judith questions Deerslayer as to whether he has a sweetheart, he replies it is nature and then informs them he has a white heart and thus, he argues, would not marry a Native American woman. Through Deerslayer at this point, it is possible to see racist view of miscegenation and is one that goes unexamined in the novel. As the supposed hero of the action, it is telling that his views are unquestioned as these may leave the reader to believe such opinions are acceptable. As readers, we are allowed to criticize such opinions, though, and should recognize that this perspective is also inconsistent with how we are invited to interpret Deerslayer as being fair-minded.
 
 
 

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