The Last of the Mohicans


James Fenimore Cooper

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Themes and Colors
“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
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Last of the Mohicans, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Escape, Pursuit, and Rescue Theme Icon

The structure of the novel’s action is that of escape, pursuit, and rescue, in which Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook, and sometimes Heyward, engage in a back and forth with Magua, alternately rescuing and losing Cora and Alice. These complex sequences of escape, pursuit, and rescue serve several purposes in the novel. First, they are necessary components of the “frontier adventure novel,” of which Last of the Mohicans is perhaps the primary example. In this form of the adventure yarn, tension is maintained primarily by the peril of its main characters, and by the defeat of a mortal enemy—in this case, Magua.

Second, they underscore the difficulties of life in the American colonies at this point in their history. Many societies, native and European, converged on a relatively small space in the middle of the eighteenth century, hoping to control its vast resources. The dangers of Hawkeye, Heyward, and the rest of the group are dangers many in this region faced—though perhaps not in such dramatic and sustained fashion.

Third, this structure of escape and rescue allows for a great deal of emotional impact when certain characters are not saved—namely, Uncas and Cora, the representatives of “native” and “European” society. By imperiling most of the lives detailed in the novel, Fenimore Cooper highlights the continued skill of Hawkeye, the luck of Heyward, and, ultimately, the misfortune suffered by the young Mohican warrior and by Munro’s courageous daughter.

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Escape, Pursuit, and Rescue Quotes in The Last of the Mohicans

Below you will find the important quotes in The Last of the Mohicans related to the theme of Escape, Pursuit, and Rescue.
Chapter 1 Quotes

It was a feature peculiar to the colonial wars of North America, that the toils and dangers of the wilderness were to be encountered before the adverse hosts could meet.

Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
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:
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:
Chapter 6 Quotes

Are we quite safe in this cavern? Is there no danger of surprise? A single armed man at its entrance, would hold us at his mercy.

Related Characters: Duncan Heyward (speaker)
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

He [Uncas] saved my life in the coolest and readiest manner, and he has made a friend who never will require to be reminded of the debt he owes.

Related Characters: Duncan Heyward (speaker), Uncas
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
Chapter 14 Quotes

Hold! ‘Tis she! God has restored me to my children! Throw open the sally-port; to the field; . . . pull not a trigger, lest ye kill my lambs!

Related Characters: Colonel Munro (speaker), Cora Munro, Alice Munro
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
Chapter 23 Quotes

When an Indian chief comes among his white fathers, he lays aside his buffalo robe, to carry the shirt that is offered him. My brothers have given me paint, and I wear it.

Related Characters: Duncan Heyward (speaker)
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

Even so, I will abide in the place of the Delaware. Bravely and generously has he battled in my behalf; and this, and more, will I dare in his service.

Related Characters: David Gamut (speaker), Uncas
Page Number: 316
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
Chapter 32 Quotes

The pale-faces are dogs! The Delawares women! Magua leaves them on the rocks, for the crows!

Related Characters: Magua (speaker)
Page Number: 393
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 33 Quotes

Go, children of the Lenape, the anger of the Manitou is not done. Why should Tamenund stay? The pale-faces are masters of the earth, and the time of the redmen has not yet come again. My day has been too long. In the morning I saw the sons of Unamis [the Mohicans] happy and strong; and yet, before the night has come, have I lived to see the last warrior of the wise race of the Mohicans.

Related Characters: Tamenund (speaker)
Page Number: 407
Explanation and Analysis: