The Last of the Mohicans Main Character Essay Assignment
This collection of essays is from Diane’s American Literature class

In James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, I do not think that there was just one main character. I believe that the group (consisting of Cora Munro, Alice Munro, Major Duncan Heyward, Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas) was intended to be viewed as the “main character” rather than focusing on one specific character throughout the book.  One reason I believe this is because Cooper, in writing the book, did not bring out one specific person.  Secondly, because The Last of the Mohicans has an action-filled plot, the story needs all the characters to hold it together; otherwise, the plot would be limited by having a single main character, because one person can only be involved in so much at one time.  Lastly, I do not think that the idea of a main character was Cooper’s point in The Last of the Mohicans.  Cora Munro, Alice Munro, Major Duncan Heyward, Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas all played nearly equally important roles in the story; therefore, I do not believe that any one of them alone was meant to be the single main character.  

L.W. (15)


Main Characters

I think that there is a group of main characters.  This group includes the Mohicans, Uncas and Chingachgook, Hawkeye, Duncan Heyward, and the two Munro girls, Alice and Cora.  Mainly, we see through Duncan’s view, though the focus is on different people.  This group (except for Cora and Alice) is searching for the girls after they are re-captured. The focus is centered on Uncas, who is finding the trail, and the scout, who is mainly talking.  It then goes to Heyward and Alice for a bit.  As the group chases Cora, it again centers on the scout, Uncas, and Duncan.  After Uncas and Cora die, Heyward, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye are the main focus again.  In The Last of the Mohicans, there is not just one main character.  Honestly, it all depends on opinion. Someone might think Uncas is the main character, but someone else may think Hawkeye is.  I, for one, could not decide who I thought was the main character so I picked a group.  

L.J.W. (13)

Alternate (L.J.W. couldn’t make up her mind.)

I think that Uncas was the main character.  He was slightly overlooked in the beginning of The Last of the Mohicans.  However, it seems that the title of the book applies to him.  Uncas seemed very important although he was not mentioned much in the first section of the book.  After the massacre when the group looked for the two girls and of course, the random David, Uncas played an important part as the tracker of the party.  He was the one who seeks the trail and discovers most of the tracks.  Uncas attempted to rescue Cora, but as he leaped down upon Magua, one of Magua’s assistants killed her.  After Uncas slayed her murderer, he is then killed by Magua.  Because he ended up dead, Uncas is not The Last of the Mohicans as supposed.  His father, Chingachgook, is actually the last of the Mohicans.  Uncas could have been described as humbly proud.  He does not step up to the front and vaunt his abilities, yet he stood in the background as an Indian, proud with undisguised scorn for his enemies.  Uncas is a major part in the book.  If we took him out of the book we lose his tracking skills, half the funeral, and much more.  Uncas is needed to complete this book.  He helped rescue Heyward Cora and Alice the first time, and if he had not been captured by the Hurons, then rescued, then a portion of the book is lot.  I think Uncas is the main character because of the reason previously stated.  

Main Characters

James Fenimore Cooper has many kinds of characters in his book The Last of the Mohicans, from the handsome scout to an always fainting Alice, to the brave Mohican, Uncas.  I believe that Cooper didn’t have a main character, because he wanted the readers to pick what they thought is the main character.  

Uncas, I believe, is the main character in The Last of the Mohicans.  Uncas is the main character not only because the book is named after him, but because the reader got to know him more than the other characters.  Cooper displayed Uncas as a brave, loyal, and trustworthy Indian, trying to reunite two girls to their English father.   

Uncas displays his loyalty when he wants to stay behind to protect the women from the invading Hurons after his companions have escaped to safety, and when he risks his life to save the  women he said he would protect.  Uncas displays his bravery when he fights for the English during the massacre on the field.  He didn’t run away like a Huron or faint like Alice.

Besides Uncas’s bravery, Cooper made him an excellent scout, tracker, and hunter.  Uncas displays these skills in many parts.  My personal favorite part is when Uncas and his companions are searching for the captured women and Uncas finds a tiny bell that was dropped by one of them that no one else could find.  Uncas displays bravery, loyalty and skill even in the face of death.  

Above all, I love Uncas because he gave his life for the woman he loved.  

B.B (15)
In the mid 1700’s colonial Americans found themselves fighting with the British against the French and Indians and this is the setting for James Fenimore Cooper’s book, The Last of the Mohicans.  In this book Hawkeye, Major Duncan Heyward, British soldiers, and the Mohicans travel through Indian infested territory to escort two young ladies, Cora and Alice, back to their father who is residing at Fort William Henry.  I believe the person who played a major role in this book was Hawkeye because Cooper followed him around and he  was a scout, protector and friend.

As a scout, he was appointed the responsibility by the British of leading his fellow companions through the rugged colonial frontier.  As stated previously, it was his duty to guide Cora and Alice to their father at Fort William Henry.  Because of this knowledge of the wilderness some say Hawkeye was modeled on the famous Daniel Boone.  

Throughout the story Hawkeye was continuously put in situations where he needed to protect the British officer’s daughters, Cora and Alice, and defend his fellow travelers.  His heroic behavior was displayed when he was fighting off Indians from all directions in a cave at modern Glenn Falls.  His vast knowledge of the frontier and skills learned from the Indians make him a protector.

Not only was Hawkeye a scout and protector he was also a friend.  He was willing to step in and help his companions in need and put his life on the line for them.  Hawkeye had a special bond with the Mohicans and considered Uncus a brother.  Showing compassion for those in need made him a treasured friend.  

Cooper immortalized Hawkeye in his book The Last of the Mohicans.  Haykeye’s frontier and scouting skills and his loyal disposition made him an invaluable asset to the British.  Hawkeye’s many adventures captivate the reader’s attention throughout this beloved classic, and this is why I believe Hawkeye played the major role in James Fenimore Cooper’s book The Last of the Mohicans.  

G.B (14)

Return to the Last of Mohicans Article
Return to Diane’s American Literature Course series