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The Last of the Mohicans | Study Guide

James Fenimore Cooper

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The Last of the Mohicans | Quotes


It was in this scene of strife and bloodshed, that the incidents we shall attempt to relate occurred, during the third year of the war which England and France last waged, for the possession of a country, that neither was destined to retain.

Narrator, Chapter 1

The narrator describes the setting—the French and Indian War in 1757—and communicates to the reader one of the important themes in the novel. The narrator alludes to the clash of French, British, and Native American cultures in the fruitless struggle to gain absolute control over North America.


Should we distrust the man, because his manners are not our manners, and that his skin is dark!

Cora Munro, Chapter 2

Cora questions whether the group of travelers should not trust Magua simply because he is not white. Her comment shows she is wise enough to question the prejudices of the day. Her comment prepares the reader for the the themes of racial prejudice and culture clash that will run throughout the novel.


A Mingo is a Mingo, and God having made him so, neither the Mohawks nor any other tribe can alter him.

Hawkeye, Chapter 4

Hawkeye's reference to stealthy Iroquois-speaking Mingoes when referring to the Huron Indian Magua is to be taken to mean a person like Magua will never change and is not to be trusted. This is an example of Hawkeye's own prejudice.


There is no whine of the panther; no whistle of the cat-bird; nor any invention of the devilish Mingoes, that can cheat me!

Hawkeye, Chapter 7

After hearing an eerie cry in the forest, Hawkeye admits he does not know its source. He reassures Cora, however, that he has a finely tuned sense of hearing. As a hunter and scout, Hawkeye relies on his ability to interpret sounds he hears. His boastful remark alludes to the wilderness theme.


When the white man dies, he thinks he is at peace, but the red men know how to torture even the ghosts of their enemies.

Magua, Chapter 10

Magua's statement conveys how much he despises the whites and how much he desires revenge for the way he has been treated. His threat shows he will never stop trying to avenge himself, even after his enemy is dead.


Lady ... it is the jubilee of the devil, and this is not a meet place for Christians to tarry in.

David Gamut, Chapter 17

Gamut is horrified at the sight of the massacre at Fort William Henry and wants to protect Cora from the ghastly scene. His biblical interpretation (devils versus Christians) supports the themes of religion and culture clash.


When a man consorts much with a people, if they are honest, and he no knave, love will grow atwixt them.

Hawkeye, Chapter 19

Hawkeye's comment reveals how he came to be so attached to the Mohicans despite their obvious cultural differences since both he and they are honest people at heart. Because he has lived and fought with the Mohicans, they grew to love one another as brothers.


Marble could not be colder, calmer, or steadier, than the countenance he put upon this sudden and vindictive attack.

Narrator, Chapter 24

A Huron warrior is stirred by Magua's impassioned speech and throws a tomahawk at Uncas. Although Uncas narrowly escapes injury, his reaction shows he is dignified and confident.


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.

David Gamut, Chapter 26

Gamut takes the place of Uncas in the prison lodge because he is grateful for all the young Mohican has done for him in trying to save him from Magua and the Iroquois. This statement shows how much Gamut has grown since joining the Munro sisters and Heyward.


God gave him enough, and yet he wants all.

Magua, Chapter 29

Magua condemns the greed of white people and warns they are never satisfied with what they have. According to Magua, whites want more and more land "from the shores of the salt water, to the islands of the great lake."


I know that the pale-faces are a proud and hungry race.

Tamenund, Chapter 29

When he speaks to Cora, the aged chief compliments and chastises whites. In response to Cora's plea to let Alice go, Tamenund criticizes whites for acting as if they are better than Native Americans and for being greedy. Tamenund's statement alludes to the themes of culture clash and prejudice.


The blood of the Turtle has been in many chiefs, but all have gone back into the earth, from whence they came, except Chingachgook and his son.

Tamenund, Chapter 30

Tamenund acknowledges Uncas is one of two living chiefs from the Turtle clan. His acknowledgment allows Uncas his freedom and gives him the authority to lead the Delaware into battle but does not afford him the opportunity to win Cora from Magua.


Tell them, that the Being we all worship, under different names, will be mindful of their charity; and that the time shall not be distant, when we may assemble around his throne, without distinction of sex, or rank, or color!

Colonel Munro, Chapter 32

Munro is grateful for the respect with which the Delawares treat his daughter. As Munro showed when he told Heyward about his first wife, he treats people fairly. This comment supports the prejudice theme.


The gifts of our colors may be different, but God has so placed us as to journey in the same path.

Hawkeye, Chapter 33

Hawkeye assures Chingachgook that he will not be alone after the death of Uncas. With this statement, Hawkeye reaffirms his loyalty to and friendship with the grieving chief of the Mohicans.


The pale-faces are masters of the earth, and the time of the red-men has not yet come again.

Tamenund, Chapter 33

The great Delaware chief speaks at the end of the funerals for Cora and Uncas to signal that it is time to leave. His prophetic words predict a time in the future when Native Americans will prevail once again and evoke the culture clash theme.

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