The Last of The Mohicans: Novel Summary: Chapter 7-11

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Chapter VII
Hawkeye takes the two Mohicans out of the cavern to keep watch. The sound is heard again, and Heyward realizes what it is. It is the shriek of a horse that is either being attacked as prey or sees some danger which it cannot avoid. Hawkeye sends Uncas to scare off the wolves from their horses. Hours go by without further interruption as the moon shines down. Before dawn, Hawkeye wakes them and says it is time to leave. Suddenly, the cries of Indian warriors are heard, and there are rifle shots. David is wounded. There is then a lull in the attack as the Indians withdraw. Hawkeye knows they will be back, and says that their best chance is to hold the rock until Munro, the English commander of Fort William Henry, can send help. The men keep guard and wait for the next attack. Five Indians swim down the river with the help of driftwood. One drowns, but the others leap out from the cover of the driftwood. Hawkeye shoots one, and Uncas another. Hawkeye and Heyward then engage in hand-to-hand fights with the other two. Hawkeye is easily victorious, but Heyward has to battle hard against the other warrior, and is saved only by the intervention of Uncas.
Chapter VIII
The battle continues as other Indians fire their rifles. One fires down from high in a tree. The Mohicans wound him in the leg, and then Hawkeye shoots and the Indian’s rifle falls. He is left desperately hanging on to a branch of the tree. As he is about to fall, Hawkeye shoots him, and he plunges dead into the river. But soon there is a new danger. An Indian warrior steals the canoe, which means that the Indians will be able to reach Hawkeye and his companions on the island. It seems that their position is hopeless, since they are badly outnumbered. Even Hawkeye holds out no hope. Cora urges the men to flee, so they can at least save themselves. At first, Hawkeye will not hear of it. Cora then says he should go to her father, Munro, and ask for aid. She thinks that when the Hurons capture her, they will take her north, and it might be possible to rescue her. Hawkeye and the Mohicans agree to her idea, although Uncas expresses some reluctance. They swim away down the river. Heyward refuses to go, in spite of Cora’s attempts to persuade him.
Chapter IX
The scene goes quiet. Heyward and David retreat to their inner cave. The small party allows itself some hope as no attack comes. David begins to sing, but his song is interrupted by a yell from outside the cave. There are more yells, coming from around them in every direction. One triumphant yell is heard from near the hidden entrance to the cave. Heyward abandons hope. The Indians discover Hawkeye’s abandoned rifle and talk excitedly about it. They then discover the cave where Heyward and the others have been hiding. But although the Indians enter the cave, they fail to discover the adjoining cave where Heyward’s party have taken refuge. Heyward and his friends are giving thanks for their narrow escape when they see Magua in the cavern. Heyward fires at him, and Magua flees. Then more Indians return. They drag Heyward, David, Cora and Alice out of the cave and surround them in triumph.
Chapter X
As Magua explains to Heyward, the Indian warriors want to know where Hawkeye is. Heyward tells Magua that Hawkeye has escaped and is beyond their reach, and the same applies to Chingachgook and Uncas. When Magua relays this to the warriors, they are bitterly disappointed. Heyward fears that Cora and Alice may be killed at any moment. But apparently fearing that forces from Fort Edward might be coming, the Hurons decide to transport their prisoners by canoe. Six warriors and Magua accompany them. Heyward flatters Magua, pretending that he believes him to be on their side. He tries to play on Magua’s desire for riches by promising that he will be well rewarded by Colonel Munro at Fort William Henry for returning his daughters safely. But Magua makes no immediate response. Back on land, they walk through the woods for miles. Cora tries to leave a trace of their path, as she had been instructed to do, by bending the twigs she passes. She drops a glove, but an Indian sees it and returns it to her. He threatens her with his tomahawk, which puts paid to her attempt to leave a trail. The party climbs a hill and stops to rest.
Chapter XI
Heyward continues to work on Magua, who asks to see Cora. When they are alone together, Magua tells the story of how he was born a Huron warrior, but “fire-water” (alcohol) brought by the whites had caused him to become a rascal, and the Hurons had chased him away. He became a Mohawk and fought the Hurons, in alliance with the English. But because he was caught drinking alcohol, Munro gave him a public whipping. He still resents his treatment. Cora urges him to forgive, but Magua refuses. He says he will agree to return Alice to her father if Cora goes north with him to Huron territory and become his wife. This will be his way of gaining revenge on Munro. Cora calls him a monster and says she will resist him. Magua returns to his men and gives a fiery speech. They all jump up with knives drawn and tomahawks at the ready, and rush at the prisoners. Magua calls them back, telling them to prolong the misery of their victims. The prisoners are bound to trees and preparations are made to burn them. Magua tries again to secure Cora’s consent by exploiting her feelings for Alice. Cora explains the situation to Alice, and says she will let Alice decide what to do. Alice says that they should all die together rather than agree to Magua’s proposal. In a rage, Magua throws a tomahawk at Alice, which cuts some of her hair and lands in the tree above her head. Heyward breaks free of his bonds and rushes to stop another Indian who is about to throw his tomahawk at Alice. The two men fall to the ground wrestling. The Indian is about to stab Heyward with his knife when a shot rings out, and the Indian falls dead.
Analysis
Hawkeye is not religious in the way that the Calvinist David is, but he often shows a religious spirit. An example occurs in Chapter VII, when he says, in a situation of uncertainty, “[L]et us wait for that which the Lord may choose to send next.” Hawkeye has no interest in religious doctrine or dogma, but he does have a keen sense, mediated to him through the grandeur of nature, of the presence and activity of God.
Also in Chapter VII, Heyward again shows his inexperience by falling asleep while on watch at night. His inattentiveness is contrasted with the alert watchfulness of Hawkeye and the Mohicans. Heyward is not lacking in bravery, however, and he is ready to rush at the attacking Mingoes, before the greater wisdom of Hawkeye and Uncas restrains him.
These chapters also reveal the deep friendship between Hawkeye and Uncas. Hawkeye comments that Uncas has saved his life on five occasions. However, it is not entirely a relationship of equals. Hawkeye is much older than Uncas, and they often seem to have more of a father-son relationship. At the beginning of Chapter VIII, for example, Hawkeye gives Uncas careful instruction on the use of his rifle.
Chapter VIII also provides more examples of the theme of race. Hawkeye is very proud of the fact that he is “a man without a cross,” a phrase he repeats more than once. When he expects imminent death at the hands of the Hurons, he says, “As for me, who am of the whole blood of the whites, it is befitting that I should die as becomes my color, with no words of scoffing in my mouth, and without bitterness at the heart!” This comment reveals his belief that the races are fundamentally different, with an underlying implication of the superiority of his own. The same implication can be found in his remark, later in the same chapter, that “what might be right and proper in a red-skin, may be sinful in a man who has not even a cross in blood to plead for his ignorance.” This comment might suggest that Hawkeye accepts the validity of the norms of a different culture, although the dominant meaning seems to be that the Christianity of the whites sets a higher, superior standard to that which operates in Indian life. This is also the implication of a later incident, in Chapter XIV, when Chingachgook kills the French sentinel, and Hawkeye declares that the act “would have been a cruel and unhuman act for a white-skin; but ‘t is the gift and natur’ of an Indian, and I suppose it should not be denied.”
In Chapter XI the theme of racial purity is raised again, in the repugnance Cora feels for becoming the wife of Magua. This is conveyed in her use of such words as “revolting” and “powerful disgust,” which convey something much more than a simple dislike of the man. Such a mixing of races, in Cooper’s time, was considered a great evil, something that no one could approve of.
However, the novel is by no means simplistic in its presentation of relations between the races. Cooper sometimes gives the Indian his due, and does not leave the white man unscathed. In Chapter XI, for example, Magua explains that his troubled life was because of the alcohol which the whites brought, and which was previously unknown to the Indians. Referring to when Munro ordered him whipped for drinking alcohol, Magua’s words to Cora are an indictment of the callousness of the whites: “Is it justice to make evil, and then punish for it?”
This is not the only passage where Cooper allows the reader to see the injustices perpetrated on the Indians by the white settlers. Hawkeye is himself perfectly aware of these injustices, and refers to them on more than one occasion.
Chapter VII
Hawkeye takes the two Mohicans out of the cavern to keep watch. The sound is heard again, and Heyward realizes what it is. It is the shriek of a horse that is either being attacked as prey or sees some danger which it cannot avoid. Hawkeye sends Uncas to scare off the wolves from their horses. Hours go by without further interruption as the moon shines down. Before dawn, Hawkeye wakes them and says it is time to leave. Suddenly, the cries of Indian warriors are heard, and there are rifle shots. David is wounded. There is then a lull in the attack as the Indians withdraw. Hawkeye knows they will be back, and says that their best chance is to hold the rock until Munro, the English commander of Fort William Henry, can send help. The men keep guard and wait for the next attack. Five Indians swim down the river with the help of driftwood. One drowns, but the others leap out from the cover of the driftwood. Hawkeye shoots one, and Uncas another. Hawkeye and Heyward then engage in hand-to-hand fights with the other two. Hawkeye is easily victorious, but Heyward has to battle hard against the other warrior, and is saved only by the intervention of Uncas.
Chapter VIII
The battle continues as other Indians fire their rifles. One fires down from high in a tree. The Mohicans wound him in the leg, and then Hawkeye shoots and the Indian’s rifle falls. He is left desperately hanging on to a branch of the tree. As he is about to fall, Hawkeye shoots him, and he plunges dead into the river. But soon there is a new danger. An Indian warrior steals the canoe, which means that the Indians will be able to reach Hawkeye and his companions on the island. It seems that their position is hopeless, since they are badly outnumbered. Even Hawkeye holds out no hope. Cora urges the men to flee, so they can at least save themselves. At first, Hawkeye will not hear of it. Cora then says he should go to her father, Munro, and ask for aid. She thinks that when the Hurons capture her, they will take her north, and it might be possible to rescue her. Hawkeye and the Mohicans agree to her idea, although Uncas expresses some reluctance. They swim away down the river. Heyward refuses to go, in spite of Cora’s attempts to persuade him.
Chapter IX
The scene goes quiet. Heyward and David retreat to their inner cave. The small party allows itself some hope as no attack comes. David begins to sing, but his song is interrupted by a yell from outside the cave. There are more yells, coming from around them in every direction. One triumphant yell is heard from near the hidden entrance to the cave. Heyward abandons hope. The Indians discover Hawkeye’s abandoned rifle and talk excitedly about it. They then discover the cave where Heyward and the others have been hiding. But although the Indians enter the cave, they fail to discover the adjoining cave where Heyward’s party have taken refuge. Heyward and his friends are giving thanks for their narrow escape when they see Magua in the cavern. Heyward fires at him, and Magua flees. Then more Indians return. They drag Heyward, David, Cora and Alice out of the cave and surround them in triumph.
Chapter X
As Magua explains to Heyward, the Indian warriors want to know where Hawkeye is. Heyward tells Magua that Hawkeye has escaped and is beyond their reach, and the same applies to Chingachgook and Uncas. When Magua relays this to the warriors, they are bitterly disappointed. Heyward fears that Cora and Alice may be killed at any moment. But apparently fearing that forces from Fort Edward might be coming, the Hurons decide to transport their prisoners by canoe. Six warriors and Magua accompany them. Heyward flatters Magua, pretending that he believes him to be on their side. He tries to play on Magua’s desire for riches by promising that he will be well rewarded by Colonel Munro at Fort William Henry for returning his daughters safely. But Magua makes no immediate response. Back on land, they walk through the woods for miles. Cora tries to leave a trace of their path, as she had been instructed to do, by bending the twigs she passes. She drops a glove, but an Indian sees it and returns it to her. He threatens her with his tomahawk, which puts paid to her attempt to leave a trail. The party climbs a hill and stops to rest.
Chapter XI
Heyward continues to work on Magua, who asks to see Cora. When they are alone together, Magua tells the story of how he was born a Huron warrior, but “fire-water” (alcohol) brought by the whites had caused him to become a rascal, and the Hurons had chased him away. He became a Mohawk and fought the Hurons, in alliance with the English. But because he was caught drinking alcohol, Munro gave him a public whipping. He still resents his treatment. Cora urges him to forgive, but Magua refuses. He says he will agree to return Alice to her father if Cora goes north with him to Huron territory and become his wife. This will be his way of gaining revenge on Munro. Cora calls him a monster and says she will resist him. Magua returns to his men and gives a fiery speech. They all jump up with knives drawn and tomahawks at the ready, and rush at the prisoners. Magua calls them back, telling them to prolong the misery of their victims. The prisoners are bound to trees and preparations are made to burn them. Magua tries again to secure Cora’s consent by exploiting her feelings for Alice. Cora explains the situation to Alice, and says she will let Alice decide what to do. Alice says that they should all die together rather than agree to Magua’s proposal. In a rage, Magua throws a tomahawk at Alice, which cuts some of her hair and lands in the tree above her head. Heyward breaks free of his bonds and rushes to stop another Indian who is about to throw his tomahawk at Alice. The two men fall to the ground wrestling. The Indian is about to stab Heyward with his knife when a shot rings out, and the Indian falls dead.
Analysis
Hawkeye is not religious in the way that the Calvinist David is, but he often shows a religious spirit. An example occurs in Chapter VII, when he says, in a situation of uncertainty, “[L]et us wait for that which the Lord may choose to send next.” Hawkeye has no interest in religious doctrine or dogma, but he does have a keen sense, mediated to him through the grandeur of nature, of the presence and activity of God.
Also in Chapter VII, Heyward again shows his inexperience by falling asleep while on watch at night. His inattentiveness is contrasted with the alert watchfulness of Hawkeye and the Mohicans. Heyward is not lacking in bravery, however, and he is ready to rush at the attacking Mingoes, before the greater wisdom of Hawkeye and Uncas restrains him.
These chapters also reveal the deep friendship between Hawkeye and Uncas. Hawkeye comments that Uncas has saved his life on five occasions. However, it is not entirely a relationship of equals. Hawkeye is much older than Uncas, and they often seem to have more of a father-son relationship. At the beginning of Chapter VIII, for example, Hawkeye gives Uncas careful instruction on the use of his rifle.
Chapter VIII also provides more examples of the theme of race. Hawkeye is very proud of the fact that he is “a man without a cross,” a phrase he repeats more than once. When he expects imminent death at the hands of the Hurons, he says, “As for me, who am of the whole blood of the whites, it is befitting that I should die as becomes my color, with no words of scoffing in my mouth, and without bitterness at the heart!” This comment reveals his belief that the races are fundamentally different, with an underlying implication of the superiority of his own. The same implication can be found in his remark, later in the same chapter, that “what might be right and proper in a red-skin, may be sinful in a man who has not even a cross in blood to plead for his ignorance.” This comment might suggest that Hawkeye accepts the validity of the norms of a different culture, although the dominant meaning seems to be that the Christianity of the whites sets a higher, superior standard to that which operates in Indian life. This is also the implication of a later incident, in Chapter XIV, when Chingachgook kills the French sentinel, and Hawkeye declares that the act “would have been a cruel and unhuman act for a white-skin; but ‘t is the gift and natur’ of an Indian, and I suppose it should not be denied.”
In Chapter XI the theme of racial purity is raised again, in the repugnance Cora feels for becoming the wife of Magua. This is conveyed in her use of such words as “revolting” and “powerful disgust,” which convey something much more than a simple dislike of the man. Such a mixing of races, in Cooper’s time, was considered a great evil, something that no one could approve of.
However, the novel is by no means simplistic in its presentation of relations between the races. Cooper sometimes gives the Indian his due, and does not leave the white man unscathed. In Chapter XI, for example, Magua explains that his troubled life was because of the alcohol which the whites brought, and which was previously unknown to the Indians. Referring to when Munro ordered him whipped for drinking alcohol, Magua’s words to Cora are an indictment of the callousness of the whites: “Is it justice to make evil, and then punish for it?”
This is not the only passage where Cooper allows the reader to see the injustices perpetrated on the Indians by the white settlers. Hawkeye is himself perfectly aware of these injustices, and refers to them on more than one occasion.

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