The Last of the Mohicans

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The Last of the Mohicans Chapter 33 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A funeral service is arranged for Uncas and Cora in the Delaware village, although the Delawares have also “celebrated,” in subdued fashion, the nearly complete destruction of the Huron village. In the Delaware funeral ceremony, Munro sits with Cora’s body in one ring, and Chingachgook with Uncas’s in another. Tamenund, patriarch of the Delawares, rises to speak, saying that Manitou, the gracious God of the Delawares, has chosen to take Cora and Uncas at this time. A Delaware girl sings a funeral song and gives a speech praising Uncas and Cora, and Chingachgook sings a funeral dirge for his son.
A notable final “union” of Uncas and Cora. Uncas’s devotion to Cora has only been hinted at throughout the novel, but in this sequence, which is itself the tragic, terrible opposite of a marital union, Uncas and Cora are laid out side-by-side, and their parents (Chingachgook and Munro), are brought together. One wonders if Cora would have been more amenable to marrying Uncas, a noble member of the native villages, rather than Magua, so clearly an ignoble one. After all, Cora held no prejudice against Native Americans, but rather against Magua’s dishonorable tactics.
Themes
“Savagery,” Civilization, and the Frontier Theme Icon
Escape, Pursuit, and Rescue Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Gender Expectations Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Loyalty and Treachery Theme Icon
Munro then walks with the Delawares as they bury Cora’s body on a small knoll nearby, in a Christian ceremony (in addition to the Delaware one just performed). Munro thanks the Delawares for all they have done on behalf of his family. Hawkeye, still “a man without a cross,” joins with Chingachgook in watching the Delawares wrap Uncas’s body in animal skins; he is then laid to rest in another patch of wood near the village, and Hawkeye and Chingachgook weep over his grave. Chingachgook, though devastated by the loss of Uncas, says that this “hunter” is now in the eternal “hunting-grounds” where he might find peace. Tamenund, in the closing words of the novel, says that, earlier that morning, he saw Uncas in all his youthful glory, a kin to the Delaware people. And now he is watching the burial of the last surviving warrior of the Mohican line, since Uncas was Chingachgook’s only son, and they two were the only Mohicans to escape from the eastern coasts of the continent into the northern New York forests. The novel ends.
The final funeral sequence is rife with symbolism: again, primarily related to the idea that, here, native and colonial cultures are joined in the mourning of the dead. Hawkeye is the hinge between these two societies, and though he hates to mourn Cora, as do the rest of those present, it is a special tragedy for Hawkeye to mourn Uncas, who was so much like a son to him. Hawkeye will return in other books of Fenimore Cooper’s “Deerslayer” series, but Uncas’s final adventure has just been told. And this is another layer to the tragedy: that the narrator has no more stories of Uncas’s heroism, steadfastness, and bravery to relate to the reader, who has long been accustomed to the noble deeds of the Mohicans.
Themes
“Savagery,” Civilization, and the Frontier Theme Icon
Escape, Pursuit, and Rescue Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Gender Expectations Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Loyalty and Treachery Theme Icon