Last of the Mohicans

Character list:

  • Hawkeye, also called Nathaniel, adopted Mohican
  • Uncas, his Mohican brother
  • Chingachgook, their Mohican fathe
  • Cora Munro,  stronger, darker-haired sister
  • Alice Munro, weaker, blonde sister
  • Colonel Munro, also called “the Gray Hair,”
  • Magua, Native American scout for British;
    Lies and says he’s Mohawk; is actually Huron
  • General Montcalm, the French general
  • John Cameron, and family, friends of the Mohicans
  • Jack Winthrop, civilian militia ‘leader’
  • the Sachem, leader of the Huron Indians

The video presents a Romantic or idealized view of early America. Author James Fenimore Cooper wrote about the French and Indian War in 1826, more than 65 years after it had ended, comparable to writing about WWII today. He use the war as a backdrop for scenes of greatness: great courage, great treachery, and great love.

Your task is to select one aspect of the film and trace how that aspect has been presented as better than it really was. Choose one of the topics listed below:

  • Native Americans (esp. beliefs, abilities)
  • Colonial America (esp. attitudes of colonialists)
  • Women (Compare / contrast Alice & Cora. How might both seem unrealistic?)
  • Duncan (esp. love for Cora)
  • Natural beauty of America (All those forests and no bears?

As you watch the video, make a list of details that you suspect have been idealized or made unrealistically better than they were.  When the video is finished, your task will be to consider what purpose Cooper might have had in romanticizing America’s past.

Characters and plot points will be on the final exam.


Poems & Terms

We will be discussing the following poems in class. Students can expect to see this information in pop quizzes and on the final exam. After some of the poems are question assignments to answer from the text book.  You can answer these questions on the back of the Dickinson and Whitman Poems & Terms I gave you in class or on a separate page.

(52) from Leaves of Grass
by Walt Whitman

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.


Because I could not stop for death (479)
by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed Us –
The Dews drew quivering and Chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –


I heard a Fly buzz – when I died – (591)
by Emily Dickinson
I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)
by Emily Dickinson
Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —


(10) from Leaves of Grass
by Walt Whitman

Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,
Wandering amazed at my own lightness and glee,
In the late afternoon choosing a safe spot to pass the night,
Kindling a fire and broiling the fresh-kill’d game,
Falling asleep on the gather’d leaves with my dog and gun by my side.

The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the sparkle and scud,
My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously from the deck.

The boatmen and clam-diggers arose early and stopt for me,
I tuck’d my trowser-ends in my boots and went and had a good time;
You should have been with us that day round the chowder-kettle.

I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far west, the bride was a red girl,
Her father and his friends sat near cross-legged and dumbly smoking, they had moccasins to their feet and large thick blankets hanging from their shoulders,
On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly in skins, his luxuriant beard and curls
protected his neck, he held his bride by the hand,
She had long eyelashes, her head was bare, her coarse straight locks descended upon her voluptuous limbs and reach’d to her feet.

The runaway slave came to my house and stopt outside,
I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile,
Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak,
And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured him,
And brought water and fill’d a tub for his sweated body and bruis’d feet,
And gave him a room that enter’d from my own, and gave him some coarse clean clothes,
And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,
And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;
He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass’d north,
I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean’d in the corner.

I Hear America Singing
by Walt Whitman (answer questions 1,2,5, on page 312 of your text book)
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the
steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon
intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing
or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.


A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim
by Walt Whitman (answer questions 2,4,6,8 on page 327 of your text book)

A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim,
As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless,
As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent,
Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there untended lying,
Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woolen blanket,
Gray and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.

Curious I halt and silent stand,
Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest the first just lift the blanket;
Who are you elderly man so gaunt and grim, with well-gray’d hair, and flesh all sunken
about the eyes?
Who are you my dear comrade?

Then to the second I step—and who are you my child and darling?
Who are you sweet boy with cheeks yet blooming?

Then to the third—a face nor child nor old, very calm, as of beautiful yellow-white ivory;
Young man I think I know you—I think this face is the face of the Christ himself,
Dead and divine and brother of all, and here again he lies.

Poetry Terms:
Free Verse: Poetry written without regular rhyme schemes & meter; still uses other elements of poetry though
Alliteration: Repetition of similar consonant sounds
Assonance: Repetition of similar vowel sounds
Imagery: Use of language to evoke pictures as well as sensations like smell, taste, hearing, touch (Sensory Language)
Onomatopoeia: words whose sounds echo their meaning
Parallel Structure: Repetition of phrases, clauses, or sentences that have the same grammatical structure
Cadence: Musical run of words; rises & fall of words & sounds in a poem
Catalogue: Long lists of related things, people, ore events, creates a rhythm & repetition in Whitman’s poems
Coda: Summing up & restatement of themes of poems
Tone: Attitude the writer takes toward a subject
Exact Rhyme: When two or more words have an identical sound: bee / free or fixture / mixture
Slant Rhyme: When two or more words have a close but NOT EXACT rhyme sound: society / majority or nerve / love
Paradox: Statement that seems to be contradictory (usually has embedded irony & alludes to the tone of the poem): “parting is such sweet sorrow”

Performance Dates

Presentation dates for Whitman’s poem (52) or Dickinson’s poem (479)  are below. 10% off for missing your presentation day. No presentation times are available on Friday 12/09 – all recitations must happen by Thursday 12/08. See Presentation Rubric for grading criteria (note deduction is not allowed – you can ask for a line when presenting, but all recitation has to be from memory).

Monday 12/05
Jonathan W.
Zach H.
Dylon R.
Connor B.
Kelsey D.

Tuesday 12/06
Diamond B.
Dilyn R.

Wednesday 12/07
Diamonique J.

Thursday 12/08
Tyler O.
Trevor H.
Jason D.

Memorizing & One-Pager

Choose Whitman’s (52) or Dickinson’s (479) poem to make a one-pager. Add 2-4 or more lines of poetry to the page.  Add a reaction / summary / analysis / interpretation of the lines of poetry / the poem.  Fill the page with drawings / images from magazines / color / etc.

We will be memorizing and reciting these poems during the week of Holly Daze (12/05 – 12/08).  Choose one of them to present to the class from memory. This will be a major assignment worth 100 points.  Choosing not to do it will seriously hurt your grade.  Doing it well will seriously help your grade. :D 25 points extra credit for performing your poem in the talent show or for doing an additional creative / group performance. 10 points extra credit for volunteering to go before Monday 12/05.



Whitman & Dickinson

Read the following sections in your text about Walt Whitman and Emily DickinsonMake an outline of notes focusing on the major points from the readings in your text and the excerpts in this handout. You should have 2-3 pieces of information from each heading in the text. Notes are due Friday 11/18.  Late notes will be accepted for ½ credit on Monday 11/21. Quiz over Whitman & Dickinson on Tuesday 11/22. Make-up quizzes after Thanksgiving break will be short answer / essay.

  • 302-305 (Whitman & Dickinson Intro)
  • 307-309 (Whitman biography)
  • Background 321
  • 323-324 (from Specimen Days)
  • 335-336 (Dickinson biography)
  • 350 Before You Read
  • 351 “I sing…because I am afraid”

Poe Essay

Poe Essay

Discussion of the prompt:  Write a 750+ – word essay analyzing how Poe’s represents the ideals of the Dark Romantics.  Each paragraph should include at least one quote (preferably two).  You can go over the word count if you need to (and many of you will).Remember the equation to use when quoting:

Tag + quote + cite + explanation = good support

The narrator starts the story by saying, “True! – nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses – not destroyed – not dulled them” (Poe 199). This is proof that he is mad because….

 Grading Criteria:

  • Have an introduction with a clearly worded thesis (with points of support)
  • Have at least one quote per paragraph (“A” papers must have more)
  • Move beyond summary and into analysis: focus on a single, primary idea / concept / theme / motif across multiple texts. You can include other texts like “The Cask of Amontillado” or “The Raven” if you’ve read them before.
  • This assignment is worth a MAJOR GRADE (remember, this is where a bulk of your grade comes from—get it in!).
  • Follow MLA format: name info in upper left corner, double space, write in ink, 1” margins, etc.
  • Dark Romantic Essay Rubric (attached)

 Possible Prompts:

  • Focus on any of the main ideas of the Dark Romantics as evidenced in the stories.
    • They were Anti-Transcendentalists and believed that the “Truths” of nature are not good and harmless
    • The conflict between good & evil
    • The psychological effects of guilt & sin
    • The madness of the human psyche
    • The idea that horror & evil resided behind the facade of social respectability
  • Analyze similarities between protagonists in the two stories.
  • Argue that we are basically good or basically evil using his texts for support.
  • Compare / contrast Poe with Emerson or Thoreau. Use quotes like “Nature never wears a mean appearance” or “Trust thyself! Every heart vibrates to that iron string!” to compare with some of Poe’s quotes.