Frienship and Heterosexual Love in Cooper's The Deerslayer

Essay by sleepynuA, April 2004

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James Fenimore Cooper is often considered to be the "father" of the western genre. Cooper's novel, The

Deerslayer, addresses numerous themes, among them the act of friendship versus heterosexual love. The plot does not follow a strict linear scheme, although it conveys a message concerning the social mores of life in the west during the ninteenth century. Cooper depicts his protagonist,Natty Bumppo, also known as the deerslayer, as a a man who is caught between two worlds; the American white men and the Native Indians. During Bumppo's ongoing struggle, he remains diplomatic and adheres to fairness and follows his belief in moral behavior despite what is considered to be politically correct of that time. Deerslayer is a man who is surronded by love, war and friendship. Despite the constant turmoil that he is surrounded by, he attempts to convey the message that friendship is not only skin deep.

The novels setting creates a mythical quality towards the land, which evokes the sense of timelessness found in mythical writings. For example, the setting is of "the earliest days of colonial history, the period seems remote and obscure"( 9 ), through such a setting, Cooper heightens the notion that a lesson pertaining to life seeps through the core of the text in order to convey a message about friendship and love. The novel begins by Hurry Harry, breaking the peaceful sound in nature and disrupting the wilderness. Hurry Harry calls to Deerslayer in attempts to locate him ,"the calls were in different tones,evidently procedeeing from two men who had lost their way ..."(11). Like his name, Hurry is described as a physically attractive man but restless in nature. He is a man who seeks adventure and is on the constant move from one place to the next. Deerslayer, on the...