The Othered Indian, Culture Appropriation, and Formation of National Identity in The Last of the Mohicans

Maoru SONG


In The Last of the Mohicans, Cooper renders some truthful historical events, and also presents some romantic creation. Under the pen of Cooper, the native Indian are deprived of the historical visage. The deprivation is an othering process in order to establish the superiority of the white, a kind of the white’s colonizing strategy. Along with the othering process, the white undergo the process of cultural appropriation. In the contact with the Indian, the white unconsciously and slowly assimilate the Indian’s skills and wisdom for a better adaptation in the unfamiliar world. Therefore, the novel essentially reveals the white’s contradictory attitudes towards the native tribes. On the one hand, as the more civilized group, the white consciously differentiate themselves from the native, and tried to build their superiority. On the other hand, the wisdom and culture of the Indian are beneficial for the white’s adaptation in North America, and the Indian’s tradition and qualities are more or less admired by these out-comers. Behind the contradictory attitudes toward the native lies the white’s ambition to establish a new national identity centered on the white group.



The Last of the Mohicans; Othering; Culture appropriation; National identity; Romantic creation

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