Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"The Deerslayer"

Oil painting by Stephen Magsig
In Chapter 17, Chingachook rescues Hist from the Huron camp, but Deerslayer (now called Hawkeye by the Hurons) is captured. One of Hurons, Rivenoak, tries to get Deerslayer to betray his friends, but, in a dignified and long explanation, her replies that it's impossible for him to treat friends that way. I was thinking about irony as I read this chapter (actually the book is filled with ironies) -- especially the irony of a so-called "savage" acting with greater dignity and respectfulness than many a supposedly "civilized" white person. Hetty, too, appears in this chapter -- ironically, a mentally handicapped person who has more wisdom and good sense than most of the "non-handicapped" characters.

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