International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Hawk-Eye and the Crisis of American Masculinity in The Last of the Mohicans
Monica Lloyd

James Fenimore Cooper wrote The Last of the Mohicans when American masculinity was drastically changing in the wake of the 19th century. Cooper manages to cross all cultural and national boundaries of masculinity through the character of Hawk-eye, who becomes the body onto which he ascribes the experience of the American man. This paper will explore both the social and literal contexts of masculinity through Cooper's model of Hawk-eye, and through the idea of a perceived "crisis" within the male gender as defined by Nina Byam, Bryce Traister, and Judith Butler. Hawk-eye is analyzed as a satirical means of saving American masculinity from the emasculation of the industrial future by transitioning back to performing a primitive, “savage” manliness in the wake of “crisis.” The paper analyzes this projected failed image of the American man throughout the literary past and into the social future through its presentation in this canonized text.

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