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MonkeyNotes-The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
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Chapter 11

Summary

It becomes clear that Magua has chosen this hill as a resting place because its view and elevation make it well-suited for defense. Duncan again tries to reason with Magua. He tells him that he will be rewarded for bringing Munro's daughters back to him, for white men are sentimental about their children. Magua tells Duncan that he would like to talk to Cora.

Duncan fetches Cora, telling her that she must be sure to promise Magua blankets and powder if he releases them. Magua tells Cora that he was born a chief and was happy before he met the white man, who taught him to drink firewater. He then "became a rascal." He tries to reason out his misbehavior. He reminds Cora how her father had punished him when he had gone to his cabin drunk. Munro had tied him up and whipped him in front of the soldiers. When Cora remarks that the punishment was just, Magua asks how it could be just for the "pale faces" to punish him for evil they themselves had done. He now wants Cora as his wife for revenge. He tells her that if she agrees to be his wife, he will let Alice go. Cora is appalled and runs to her sister and the other captives.

Magua, with his oratory skills, whips up the passions of his men, inciting them to kill the captives. As the savages rush to kill the prisoners, however, the wicked Magua stops them and advises them that they should not kill the prisoners so swiftly but lengthen their agony. The prisoners are tied to saplings and preparations are made for their torture. Magua once again makes his proposal to Cora, saying there is no need for Alice to die. Weakening, Cora then tells Duncan and Alice of Magua's proposal and leaves the decision up to them. Duncan chooses death without hesitation. Alice wavers momentarily, but also chooses to die with her sister. An angry Magua throws a tomahawk at Alice. This makes Duncan angry, and he breaks free from his bonds and jumps at another Huron who is about to throw his weapon. As the two grapple, a shot is heard and the native falls dead.


Notes

Magua's strong desire for revenge has been emphasized. Munro had had him whipped for drunkenness, and now Magua wants to marry Cora in order to avenge his punishment and humiliation. There is a very strange bond between Magua and Cora, a bond of hatred and obsession. Magua is obsessed by Cora and will to trail her throughout the book. She in turn is ruthlessly stubborn. Even in the last chapter, when Cora chooses death over him, he cannot achieve victory over her.

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