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MonkeyNotes-The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
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Chapter 14

Summary

The group travels to a brook and walks barefoot in it for an hour, thereby leaving no trail. They are now closer to Fort William Henry. A French solider passes by, but Duncan, by speaking French, is able to convince him that he is a French solider bringing prisoners to their general. The solider leaves but, Chingachgook, taking no chances, kills and scalps him. The party understands that they are in the midst of the enemy and that they must find another, less dangerous path to the fort.

Hawkeye leads the party up a mountain, from which they can see the fort and the tents of the French encampment. Cora wants to go and meet Montcalm to explain her problems, but Hawkeye discourages her. In the meantime a thick fog covers the woods and the party decides to use its cover to sneak toward the fort. When they reach the plain, the Mohicans and Hawkeye explore the region ahead. They bring news that the French have posted pickets around. Duncan suggests traveling around them, but Hawkeye does not want to stray from their path for fear of getting lost in the fog. Suddenly, the crashing sound of a cannonball echoes nearby. Desperate, they decide to follow its furrow back to the fort. On their way, they run into French soldiers, who begin firing upon them. Hawkeye and party return fire and begin fleeing. Suddenly the voice of Munro, the girls' father, is heard. The girls shout to attract their father's attention. Munro, on hearing their screams, rushes to hug his children.


Notes

Again the superior hunting skills of the Indians are emphasized. The party walks in water at the behest of Hawkeye, so that they leave no trail behind. This is an Indian skill. The party is appalled by Chingachgook's killing of the French solider, but Hawkeye is more ambivalent, saying that if it had been a white man who had done it, it might be counted a sin, but that Chingachgook was acting according to his nature. Though this remark can be interpreted as a recognition of cultural difference on Cooper's part, it also suggests essential differences between the white man and the Indian. By the conventions of the novel, Chingachgook, despite his nobility, can still be considered a savage at heart.

The vividness of the battle scene again is so finely etched that one cannot help but marvel at the author's skills. Cooper takes his characters -- and his audience -- into the heart of the fight.

Cora's courage can be seen in this chapter, as she wants to directly go to Montcalm and say that she is Munro's daughter. She is also not afraid to make the dangerous journey, and she is praised by Hawkeye for her bravery.

In the midst of the crossfire, they are lucky to find Munro, who is overjoyed to meet them. This chapter is one of reunion, as the group has at last reached Munro. But the French have already attacked the fort, so the perils of the group are still not over.

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