The Last of the Mohicans

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“A man without a cross” Symbol Analysis

“A man without a cross” Symbol Icon
Hawkeye, also known as Natty Bumppo, often refers to himself as a “man without a cross” throughout The Last of the Mohicans. Hawkeye was born to white English parents, but has lived much of his life among the Delawares (specifically, the Mohicans) of northern New York state. Because Hawkeye does not believe in a Christian god, and perhaps also because he has not been accepted into the white Christian (English and/or French) communities of North America, Bumppo considers himself between European and native society. Thus, as a “man without a cross,” Hawkeye feels allegiance both to Uncas and Chingachgook, on the one hand, and to Heyward, Munro, Alice, and Cora, on the other, without fully committing himself to either side.

“A man without a cross” Quotes in The Last of the Mohicans

The The Last of the Mohicans quotes below all refer to the symbol of “A man without a cross”. 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 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. 

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Chapter 27 Quotes

Several of the [Huron] chiefs had proposed deep and treacherous schemes to surprise the Delawares, and, by gaining possession of their camp, to recover their prisoners by the same blow; for all agreed that their honor, their interests, and the peace and happiness of their dead countrymen, imperiously required them speedily to immolate some victims to their revenge.

Related Symbols: “A man without a cross”
Page Number: 326
Explanation and Analysis:

Cooper goes out of his way in this sectio, to outline different forms of justice and retribution. In the Christian context, as espoused by, say, Alice and David Gamut, one ought not to retaliate against one's enemies, but instead to "turn the other cheek," as Jesus argues in the Gospels. This, of course, is not the method of retaliation used by Europeans in actual battle conditions - but it is the high, indeed almost impossible, bar set by the Christian tradition for how to deal with one's enemies. Cooper, by contrast, shows that, at least in some native communities, there are obligations toward revenge, toward the hurting of victims in an "eye for an eye" relationship to atone for the damage inflicted on one's own side. Cooper does not argue that one or another form of revenge is better - he merely sho2s the differences between conceptions of battle, bravery, and obligation in the skirmishes of the New World. 

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“A man without a cross” Symbol Timeline in The Last of the Mohicans

The timeline below shows where the symbol “A man without a cross” appears in The Last of the Mohicans. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
“Savagery,” Civilization, and the Frontier Theme Icon
Escape, Pursuit, and Rescue Theme Icon
Loyalty and Treachery Theme Icon
...although Hawkeye has lived among the natives for many years, and is therefore a “ man without a cross ” (or a man who is neither native nor Christian). The band leaves the caverns... (full context)
Chapter 12
“Savagery,” Civilization, and the Frontier Theme Icon
Escape, Pursuit, and Rescue Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Loyalty and Treachery Theme Icon
...the scout does not do the same, but Hawkeye counters that he is a “ man without a cross ,” though thankful all the same for the band’s survival and speedy recovery. Hawkeye says... (full context)
Chapter 33
“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
...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... (full context)