The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans Chapter 30 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Uncas enters the circle and pays obeisance to Tamenund, who castigates Uncas for partnering with the Yengeese (the English), against whom this particular strand of the Delawares are opposed. Tamenund tells the Delaware warriors they may take vengeance upon Uncas for deserting his people, but when one Delaware rips off Uncas’s smock, he finds that Uncas has on his chest a tattoo of a tortoise, the animal sacred to the Mohicans. Tamenund recognizes that Uncas, and his father Chingachgook, are both children of a band of warriors renowned among the Delaware people, the final two Mohicans from a long lineage of warriors who have moved from the eastern coasts to the woods of upstate New York, maintaining their culture in the face of English and French incursion.
Uncas’s tattoo had not been revealed until his point in the novel, and indeed, his status as a Mohican only becomes truly important once Tamenund, the head of a part of the Delaware tribe, enters the novel. Tamenund represents a distant family link between the greater Delaware people and the sub-tribe of the Mohicans, of which Uncas and Chingachgook are part. And Uncas recognizes that his behavior reflects on the nature of his tribe—his abilities in war make the Delaware proud, and his defeat will cause the Delawares great sadness.
Themes
“Savagery,” Civilization, and the Frontier Theme Icon
Escape, Pursuit, and Rescue Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Loyalty and Treachery Theme Icon
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 tells Tamenund and the other Delawares to accept Hawkeye as their ally, too. Magua and the members of the band then turn to Tamenund for his judgment: Tamenund says that Heyward and Alice, being innocent of any grudges between tribes, must be free to go; that Uncas and his friend Hawkeye, being of the Delaware race or allied to it, must have safe passage in the village; and that Cora, being called by Magua, a great chief, to be his wife, must go with Magua and live with him “in his wigwam.”
From Tamenund’s perspective, this judgments accords with a great history of native law, and with the idea that Magua has “won” Cora in battle and has held her in a captive state for some time. Heyward’s attempt, later, to bribe Tamenund in order to bring Cora back to her father will necessarily fall on deaf ears. Tamenund’s and the Delawares’ honor is far more important than the amount of money, however substantial, that Heyward is willing to provide for Cora’s release.
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
Alice and the rest of the band are aghast at this judgment, and Heyward says that he could surely arrange for Munro and the English to 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 go over to Magua’s tribe as a prisoner in order to arrange for the free transfer of Cora back to Munro, but Magua, too, refuses this, and again Tamenund upholds the justice stating that Cora should go to Magua.
Hawkeye’s attempt in this scene to exchange his own freedom for Cora’s is perhaps his bravest act of the novel, and one that, sadly, cannot be accepted—not by Tamenund, and not by Cora. Hawkeye perhaps understands that Delaware justice cannot be altered, after the decision of the patriarch has been handed down, but he nevertheless tries to spare Cora’s freedom.
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
Cora tells Hawkeye and the rest of the band that she would not have accepted Hawkeye’s generosity anyway, that it is her lot to go with Magua. Cora then tells Heyward to take care of Alice, and follows behind Magua out of the Delaware camp. Heyward and the rest of the band are horrified at the thought of losing Cora, but Tamenund has so ruled, and the rest of the members of the band recognize that his justice and say are final, in the village.
Cora’s refusal to accept Hawkeye’s offer, even if it would have been possible for Hawkeye to hand himself over voluntarily, is another sign of her courage and bravery. Cora is one of the novel’s strongest characters, and she, like Uncas, must pay the ultimate price for her strength in the face of danger.
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
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