Clothes in "The Last of the Mohicans" Book Review by scribbler

Clothes in "The Last of the Mohicans"
Looks at the ways that clothes, dress and disguise represent an important motif in F. J. Cooper's book, "The Last of the Mohicans".
# 152858 | 1,200 words | 1 source | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Apr 30, 2013 in Anthropology (Cultural) , Literature (American) , Native-American Studies (General)

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This paper explains that the main theme of James Fenimore Cooper's "The Last of the Mohicans", set during the French and Indian War, is the destruction of the Mohican tribe and features Chingachgook, the last chief of the Mohican tribe, and his son, Uncas. The dress of the British, the French and the Native Americans, the author contends, is symbolic of the values of each society; whereas, the men from the industrialized societies wear the fashion of the time and the clothes of the Native Americans demonstrate their bond with nature. The paper concludes that clothes and disguises not only help create the atmosphere of the novel, but also underline the author's core ideas regarding social values and the construction of the social self.

From the Paper:

"One episode which is relevant in this direction involves David, Hawkeye and Uncas where costume is used a strategic element, contributing to the liberation of Uncas. From this point of view, dress is also an element of disguise. People disguise themselves and the reader assists to a sort of play within the play. Leaving this aside and judging the gravity of the situation, we could also state that costume is a means of survival. Once again the writer proves to us that "the clothes make the man" in the sense that according to their use they either help him survive or take him closer towards his destruction.
"The construction of the characters is done through the description of their actions. David's act of saving the scout is a relevant example. In addition, the costumes used by the Native Americans symbolize their values and beliefs. The bear is a symbol of greatness and courage, but also of wisdom. But this is not the only animal that the Mohicans use as inspiration for their disguises. There is an episode in which Chingachgook appears disguised as a beaver. This ludic dimension underlines not only the importance that animals had for the natives, but also some of their religious and philosophical beliefs."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cooper, F. J. The last of the Mohicans. Signet Classics, 2005

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