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Unformatted text preview: Kayla Murphy English 4730 Dr. Anderson Graded Paper 1 February 10, 2012 Sound Differentiating Between Man and Beast The attention given to sound in James Fenimore Coopers The Last of the Mohicans , with a particular focus on David Gamut, serves to give elevated status to individuals. Through the use of sound, man is differentiated from beast, and men of rank are set apart from lesser individuals. Sound imagery is especially apparent in the massacre scene, when Davids holy hymnal attracts the attention of the Indians. The song gains David the respect of the Indians, and temporarily lends protection to him and the sisters. Then raising his voice to its highest tones, he poured out a strain so powerful as to be heard, even amid the din of that bloody field. More than one savage rushed towards them, thinking to rifle the unprotected sisters of their attire, and bear away their scalps; but when they found this strange and unmoved figure, riveted to his post, they paused to listen. Astonishment soon changed to admiration, and they passed on to other, and less courageous victims, openly expressing their satisfaction at the firmness with which the white warrior sung his death song. Encouraged and deluded by his success, David exerted all his powers to extend what he believed so holy an influence. The unwonted sounds caught the ears of a distant savage, who flew, raging from groupe to groupe, like one who, scorning to touch the vulgar herd, hunted for some victim more worthy of his renown. It was Magua, who uttered a yell of pleasure when he beheld his ancient prisoners again at his mercy. (200-201) The massacre scene in which David bewitches the Indians with his strange defensive song is unique in its lack of visual imagery. Such a violent, gruesome and chaotic scene presents a writer with infinite opportunities for rich visual imagery. Gushing wounds, terrorized women and desperate soldiers create a veritable cornucopia of images to write about and an innumerable amount of emotions to foist upon the reader. Coopers approach to the gory scene, contrary to expectation, focuses on the auditory aspects. By shifting the focus away from tried and true visual descriptions of death, Cooper presents a new reading experience. Readers of any degree expect to visualize a scene. Rarely, however, do they expect to imagine how that scene may sound. By placing Davids unusual battle tactic at the center of the scene, Cooper jolts the reader out of a monotonous reading experience. The result is that the reader doesnt visualize women screaming in terror, he hears them. The unexpected incorporation of a sense other than vision into the plot conveys the terror of the scene more effectively than images alone are capable of....
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