The Last of the Mohicans

Discussion and analysis of James Fennimore Cooper’s book about the European arrival and occupation of the New World.

This paper explores and analyzes the main theme in James Fennimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans” and explains how he used the symbol of blood to illustrate the seriousness of the change brought upon the New World by the arrival of the Europeans.
“Cooper uses blood to stand for a number of different ideas in the book. It serves, first of all, as a symbol for knowledge and even more specifically for the ways in which we come to know our way in the world how things come to be “in our blood”. When European settlers came to America in the 17th century, they found themselves in a world that was entirely alien to them. They had neither literal maps to the country nor any metaphorical ones to understand their relationship to new kinds of plants and animals, new kinds of soil to be hoed and planted, new kinds of people who spoke in languages unheard to them and prayed to gods that they knew nothing at all about. And in the midst of this disorientation, they turned to the one thing that they knew tied them absolutely and irrevocably to the past “specifically to their own past but also to the past of the world: The blood that ran in their veins and that connected them to their homes and their families, to the safe and the familiar. By looking to the blood ties, they looked backward to home.”