The Last of the Mohicans

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Hawkeye Character Analysis

Also known as Natty Bumppo and La Longue Carabine, Hawkeye is a white man who has lived with Uncas and Chingachgook, “the last of the Mohicans” in the New York forests, for many years. Hawkeye fights with the Mohicans on the side of the English, against the French and their “Mingo” (or Iroquois) allies. At the end of the novel, after witnessing Magua’s killing of Uncas, Hawkeye shoots and kills Magua. Hawkeye considers himself a brother of Chingachgook’s, despite their different ancestries, and therefore treats Uncas with the love and care reserved for a son. Hawkeye refers to himself as a “man without a cross,” meaning he observes no Christian religion, and sees himself as existing between the Native American and European cultures of the New World.

Hawkeye Quotes in The Last of the Mohicans

The The Last of the Mohicans quotes below are all either spoken by Hawkeye or refer to Hawkeye . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
“Savagery,” Civilization, and the Frontier Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Bantam Classics edition of The Last of the Mohicans published in 1982.
Chapter 3 Quotes

These Indians know the nature of the woods, as it might be by instinct!

Related Characters: Hawkeye (speaker), Uncas, Chingachgook
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

One of the novel's most interesting characters, Hawkeye acts as a mediator between the English, French, Mohican, and Mingo (Iroquois) tribes. Hawkeye trusts that his Native American comrades understand not just how to move through the woods - how not to get lost - but how to find, attack, and defeat an enemy using the woods as a part of an offensive or defensive strategy. Hawkeye has learned a great deal about fighting, and about loyalty and man's relationship to nature, from his Mohican friends, including Chingachgook and Uncas. 

The flip side of Hawkeye's comment, however - and something that would only be apparent to a contemporary reader - is the equation of Native American culture and attitudes with a more "natural," or "purer" way of life. Hawkeye really does believe that his Native American friends understand the woods more thoroughly than he ever could. But other characters in the text, especially English and French soldiers, do tend to believe that Native Americans are closer to nature because they have yet to be "civilized" by European culture. Cooper's novel describes the richness of native cultures as a subtle method of critiquing this European belief of the "noble savage." 

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Chapter 4 Quotes

A Huron! They are a thievish race, nor do I care by whom they are adopted; you can never make anything of them but skulks and vagabonds.

Related Characters: Hawkeye (speaker), Magua
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

In direct contrast to the quotation above, Hawkeye does not universally approve of Native American behavior, nor does he believe that all native tribes are equally trustworthy or loyal to their friends. Indeed, Hawkeye argues that the Huron are more than willing to break covenants, to do whatever it is that might advance their own interests, even if at the expense of those around them whom they used to call friends. Hawkeye is characteristically final on this point - he does not leave room for any subtlety. If Magua is indeed a Huron, then it is no surprise, for Hawkeye, that Magua has turned traitor and left the group he was supposed to guide through the woods. This, for Hawkeye, is exactly what a Huron in Magua's position would do.

Hawkeye's beliefs, then, are a subset of a recurring theme in the novel - the judgment of a single person by the perceived actions or attitudes of a group to which that person belongs. (Essentially, a textbook edition of racial stereotyping.)

Chapter 5 Quotes

What is to be done? . . . Desert me not, for God’s sake! Remain to defend those I escort, and freely name your own reward!

Related Characters: Duncan Heyward (speaker), Hawkeye
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

Duncan Heyward admits that he does not know, and cannot learn, the "ways" of the forest - certainly not in the time remaining to him, after they have been abandoned in the woods by Magua. Hawkeye therefore arrives just in the nick of time, and clearly demonstrates that he understands the paths, and hiding places, in those woods. Heyward has no trouble asking Hawkeye for this kind of help. 

The idea of "escorting" is an important one in the novel. Heyward is tasked with moving Cora and Alice through the forest because, it is assumed, they are utterly incapable of this kind of activity themselves. This is a commonly-held belief among the Europeans (English and French) in the New World - that men must make the colonies safe and civilized for the women who travel with them. But as will become apparent later in the text, Huron and Iroquois tribes do not feel the same way - women in those societies take on much more prominent roles outside the home. 

Chapter 12 Quotes

Well done for the Delawares! Victory to the Mohican! A finishing blow from a man without a cross will never tell against his honor, nor rob him of his right to the scalp.

Related Characters: Hawkeye (speaker)
Related Symbols: “A man without a cross”
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

Hawkeye proclaims that he's a "man without a cross" for several reasons. First, he does so as a way of separating himself from what he sees as the bad soldiering habits of the English and French troops, who do not know how to fight in the woods. Hawkeye, for his part, has lived in the woods for many years, and knows them, he claims, as well as any native. He is also a "man without a cross" because he does not subscribe to the articles of faith of any Christian tradition - he does not feel himself bound to its codes. For many of his European peers, this is a somewhat shocking statement, for many of the colonists believe that Christian Europe has come to the forests of the New World to "civilize" those who already live there. But Hawkeye makes plain that he does not feel this to be the case - that he wishes to live in the woods largely as the natives do, while maintaining his independence from either strictly colonial or strictly native rules. 

Chapter 20 Quotes

I little like that smoke, which you may see worming up along the rock above the canoe. my life on it, other eyes than ours see it, and know its meaning. Well, words will not mend the matter, and it is time that we were doing.

Related Characters: Hawkeye (speaker)
Page Number: 241
Explanation and Analysis:

The latter half of the novel contains a great many chases, like this one, in which Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook make way, with Heyward and Munro, through the woods to find Magua, Alice, and Cora. Indeed, as this passage indicates, the structure of the novel is one of traces and the spotting of traces - smoke and those who see it, caves and those who hide in them. The warfare of Europe, which took place on cleared battlefields, has been exchanged for the warfare of the New World, in which men follow one another in a complex game of cat and mouse.

Hawkeye, of course, is immensely skilled at this game - skilled as no European is, and more skilled than a great many of the Natives whom he fights. Hawkeye's knowledge of the woods, the caves, the smoke that comes from the caves is unparalleled. All Heyward and Munro can do is listen to Hawkeye as he helps them toward Cora and Alice. 

Chapter 21 Quotes

We must get down to it, Sagamore, beginning at the spring, and going over the ground by inches. The Huron shall never brag in his tribe that he has a foot which leaves no print.

Related Characters: Hawkeye (speaker), Chingachgook
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:

Hawkeye's relationship with Chingachgook is one of absolute friendship and total dedication. They also work together, European and Mohican, to defeat the Iroquois, who have been their enemies since time immemorial. One of the specific traits of the Iroquois, as it repeated in the lore of the region, is that they leave no trace when they walk - that there would be no prints, therefore, with which to trace Magua. But Hawkeye does not believe this to be true - and, indeed, believes that he and Chingachgook themselves can move through the forests without a trace.

This, then, adds to the theme of tracking that wends its way throughout the novel. One only knows another's trail by viewing what that person has left behind - a footprint, a bent twig, the disturbance of a few leaves. Cooper makes Hawkeye almost superhumanly adept at reading these traces - far more so than any European who has ever lived in what is now upstate New York. 

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Hawkeye Character Timeline in The Last of the Mohicans

The timeline below shows where the character Hawkeye appears in The Last of the Mohicans. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
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...small strip of cloth, and he carries a tomahawk and knife. The white scout, called Hawkeye (or Natty Bumppo), and Chingachgook talk of their family histories; Chingachgook relates that his tribe,... (full context)
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...as the Maquas or Mingos. Another native named Uncas, son of Chingachgook, arrives, and asks Hawkeye whether he will help Uncas and Chingachgook fight the Maquas and the French, their allies,... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Heyward approaches Hawkeye, and says that his party has become lost in the woods—that their guide, the runner,... (full context)
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Hawkeye asks to see the runner, who is standing back behind the psalmodist (named David) and... (full context)
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Hawkeye tells Heyward to busy the runner, whose name is Magua, or Le Renard Subtil, in... (full context)
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...Magua, emerge from the forest in pursuit of him, and a shot rings out from Hawkeye’s rifle as Magua runs into the deep woods. (full context)
Chapter 5
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Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye attempt to track Magua for a moment, but then return to Heyward, who has been... (full context)
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Heyward, with desperation in his voice as the night falls, asks Hawkeye if he and his two Mohican friends will serve as guides to convey the group... (full context)
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...without delay, slits its throat and dumps it in the stream—much to David’s chagrin, although Hawkeye and Chingachgook agree that it is the right strategy to save the party. The other... (full context)
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...getting situated along the banks, in preparation for retiring to the hiding place, Heyward asks Hawkeye if the Delawares (a larger tribe closely related to the Mohicans) and Mohicans have given... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook direct Heyward, David, Alice, and Cora into the caverns near the waterfalls,... (full context)
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...group eats, and all appear satisfied that they have alluded any enemies for the night. Hawkeye talks to David and asks about his employment; on hearing that David is a singer,... (full context)
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Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook go off to another part of the cave to sleep, and Heyward,... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Hawkeye says to Heyward and his band that he (Hawkeye) has never heard such a cry... (full context)
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...for several hours. After Cora and Alice and David sleep for a time, Heyward and Hawkeye awaken them and say it is time to move the band onward. At this, however,... (full context)
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Hawkeye drags David back down into the cave, and seeing that David’s wound is only superficial,... (full context)
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Hawkeye and Heyward spot five Mingos drifting down the river on wooden logs; one Mingo falls... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Once Heyward, Hawkeye, and the Mohicans have regrouped on the rocks, a new volley of fire from the... (full context)
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Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye attempt to aim at the Mingo in the tree, and Hawkeye, after taking a moment... (full context)
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But Uncas and Hawkeye, leaning over the rocks, see a Huron (one of the sub-tribes of the Maquas) stealing... (full context)
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Heyward and Cora, however, dispute that the band has to die at all. Cora tells Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook to float downstream and carry word back to Ford Edward, asking for... (full context)
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Hawkeye and Chingachgook float downstream, although Uncas is loath to follow—he appears to feel devoted to... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...the beauty of the forest, as the Mingos have pulled back and Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye have now floated downstream. Heyward sees only the birds and trees of the forest, and... (full context)
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...the nearby rocks, raising cries at the sight of their fallen comrades, killed by Heyward, Hawkeye, and Uncas. The Maquas also repeat the name “La Longue Carabine,” given to Hawkeye, as... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Magua asks Heyward where Hawkeye went, and Heyward replies that Hawkeye and the two Mohicans floated downstream to give word... (full context)
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...horseback, with Magua and the other warriors leading the prisoners through the forest. Cora remembers Hawkeye’s injunction to mark the path as they go along, and she bends the bough of... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook storm into the clearing, determined to kill all the Mingos present. Heyward... (full context)
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...are all right—the young women cry out with joy that the band is saved, and Hawkeye unties David, who is similarly thankful. Uncas and Chingachgook then collect scalps from the dead... (full context)
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Heyward, on their walk to a nearby watering hole, asks Hawkeye and the Mohicans how they came to save them. Hawkeye relates that, after their trip... (full context)
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Hawkeye tells the band to drink of the spring near where they’ve stopped, and after a... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Hawkeye leads the band through the forest, saying that there is a place up ahead they... (full context)
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...the block house to sleep, and though Heyward wishes to keep watch during the night, Hawkeye says it would be better for Chingachgook and Uncas to do so, since they are... (full context)
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...inside, including the horses. Although Heyward wants to fire on the Hurons as they approach, Hawkeye cautions him, saying they ought to wait and see what the Hurons do. As it... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...on the riverbank—the men do this to avoid detection of their footprints as they travel. Hawkeye tells Heyward of some of the battles he has fought, on the English side against... (full context)
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...on his belt. Although many in the band, including Heyward, are shocked by this behavior, Hawkeye justifies it by saying the band is safer for it, and that, for a native,... (full context)
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Hawkeye says they have two options for proceeding to the fort: they can send the Mohicans... (full context)
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...of a ridge, on which they rise for nearly a thousand feet. At this point, Hawkeye points out that the southern shore of Lake George is visible, and that the group... (full context)
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Heyward asks Hawkeye the most prudent course to gain admission to the fort, through enemy lines. Heyward wonders... (full context)
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...into the valley separating the English from the French lines, but avoiding the spots where Hawkeye believes Mingos might be camped. The band is nearly hit by a French cannonball, and... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Munro meets with Heyward, telling him that Hawkeye has passed through enemy lines and been released by Montcalm back into the English fort,... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...frame, which the narrator does not describe, but which Magua assumes to be that of Hawkeye. But just as Magua is about to fire his rifle, Montcalm stops him, saying that... (full context)
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...to the top of the mountain, south of Lake George, from which the band, under Hawkeye’s leadership, had previously observed Fort William Henry. Magua instead shows Alice (who has now woken... (full context)
Chapter 18
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The morning after, Munro, Heyward, Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook walk out on the field where the massacre has taken place. The... (full context)
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Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye also find signs of David’s and Magua’s footprints and clothing near Cora’s torn shawl, causing... (full context)
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But Hawkeye says that Alice is perhaps in the company of Cora, Magua, and David, and Hawkeye... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...spend the night alone, and to worry about the fate of his daughters. Heyward and Hawkeye mount the fort’s rampart to look over the plains again, where the massacre was conducted.... (full context)
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Uncas lies close to the ground and, as Heyward watches with Hawkeye, proceeds to sense that a native is in fact walking nearby, perhaps hoping to pick... (full context)
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When Heyward expresses confusion as to why an Oneida would attack a Mohican, Hawkeye answers that, perhaps, the Oneida believed that the French had taken over the fort, and... (full context)
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Heyward withdraws a few paces and watches as Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye dine around their fire and converse in the Delaware language (also the language of the... (full context)
Chapter 20
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The next morning, Hawkeye wakes up Munro and Heyward, and the five of them move, on rocks and twigs... (full context)
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Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye begin paddling the canoe, with Heyward and Munro sitting towards its rear. As the band... (full context)
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Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook take up paddling again, and continue for hours until they reach an... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...by white settlers—English or French—and not very well known even by natives. Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye hunt for traces of Magua and the two young women, but finding very little, they... (full context)
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...finds the faintest imprint of a moccasin, about the size of David’s feet—Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye conclude that David has been forced into native shoes and has been made to walk,... (full context)
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Suddenly, Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye realize that David, perhaps, became tired in his walking—Magua’s and the two young women’s footprint... (full context)
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Hawkeye begins to laugh and approach this man, and though Heyward is confused as to why... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Hawkeye, Uncas, Chingachgook, Munro, and Heyward begin speaking to David. David says that Alice and Cora... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...to continue in his disguise as a fool and medicine man, and reminds Heyward that Hawkeye and Chingachgook remain in the surrounding woods as protection, in case Heyward should need it.... (full context)
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...William Henry, including Uncas’s rescue of the two sisters, with the help of Chingachgook and Hawkeye. When another warrior, seething with anger at the Hurons Uncas has killed, tries to throw... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...the bear takes off its own head, and Heyward realizes that the bear is really Hawkeye in an incredibly convincing disguise—Hawkeye has managed to steal the bear costume from a previous... (full context)
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Hawkeye then asks if Heyward has managed to find any trace of Alice, and Heyward says... (full context)
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...both Alice and Heyward trapped. But before Magua can act to kill Heyward and Alice, Hawkeye enters the cave partition, having heard the commotion, and leaps onto Magua, pinning him and... (full context)
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...spirits still residing inside, by the sick woman. While the Hurons wait outside the caverns, Hawkeye and Heyward carry Alice into the woods, where Alice revives from her faint. (full context)
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After they walk farther into the woods, Hawkeye directs Alice and Heyward to the Delaware village nearby, where Cora is believed to be... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Hawkeye walks back to the Huron village, and finds David in his own, small hut, which... (full context)
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David walks with Hawkeye to the lodge of the chiefs in the village, and says that he, David, wishes... (full context)
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Hawkeye enters Uncas’s small prison-hut while David guards the entrance. Hawkeye dances for a moment in... (full context)
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...in the Huron village, creating a diversion by yelling in Uncas’s prison hut, to allow Hawkeye and Uncas to escape. Hawkeye, singing loudly and pretending to be David, walks with Uncas... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...sick native woman has been lying, attended to by the original Huron conjuror, from whom Hawkeye stole the bear costume. The native woman has now died from her sickness—which the Hurons... (full context)
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...that Magua, so great a warrior, has been trapped and duped by Heyward, Uncas, and Hawkeye. Magua, enraged, screams that he will exact revenge, and wonders aloud how best to capture... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...Magua then asks if the Delawares have received among them members of the “band,” including Hawkeye, Uncas, Alice, and Heyward—the Delawares then bustle about, realizing that one of the prisoners they... (full context)
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...younger Delaware warriors, some Delawares go to the village’s prison-lodge and lead out Cora, Alice, Hawkeye, and Heyward, as the assembled Hurons and Delawares wait to hear Tamenund speak. (full context)
Chapter 29
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...which of the prisoners is “La Longue Carabine,” owner of Kildeer, and both Heyward and Hawkeye say that they are; Heyward, worried about what the Delawares will do to Hawkeye, attempts... (full context)
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Heyward shoots very close to an earthen vessel nearby, but Hawkeye completely shatters it. In the next trial, Heyward hits a far more distant target, a... (full context)
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...and Magua, cheered at this news, eyes Cora longingly, and has Cora, Alice, Heyward, and Hawkeye seized and held in place by obliging Delawares. Cora, however, wrestles free of her Delaware... (full context)
Chapter 30
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Tamenund therefore says that Uncas is one of them, and Uncas, in response, presents Hawkeye, “La Longue Carabine,” an enemy to the French. But because Hawkeye is Uncas’s friend, Uncas... (full context)
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...pay a large ransom on Cora’s behalf. But Tamenund says that this justice is “inviolable.” Hawkeye says that he will renounce his weapon, give up his fight against the Mingos, and... (full context)
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Cora tells Hawkeye and the rest of the band that she would not have accepted Hawkeye’s generosity anyway,... (full context)
Chapter 31
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...may again attack Magua and attempt to wrest Cora from his control. Uncas, Heyward, and Hawkeye gather their weapons, and Heyward places Alice safely among the Delaware women in the village.... (full context)
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Heyward and Hawkeye believe they see a Huron in the forest, but it is only David, who has... (full context)
Chapter 32
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Uncas, Heyward, and Hawkeye make their way through the forest, dodging bullets shot by scattered Hurons, who defend the... (full context)
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After moving forward and running up against Huron opposition, however, Heyward and Hawkeye hear shots fired from behind enemy lines, and recognize Chingachgook and Munro, who have been... (full context)
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Heyward, Hawkeye, and Uncas find that two Huron warriors are in fact carrying Cora up the rocky... (full context)
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...back exposed, and weaponless, Uncas is stabbed by Magua multiple times, and killed. Heyward and Hawkeye then pursue Magua, who jumps from ledge to ledge on the cliff on the far... (full context)
Chapter 33
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...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... (full context)