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Depiction of Women in Fiction

Both the latter attitude and evidence that women were stronger than assumed can be found in Cooper, as in this passage after the nature of the Indians has been explained to Alice:

Alice hesitated no longer; but giving her Narragansett a smart cut of the whip, she was the first to dash aside the slight branches of the bushes, and to follow the runner along the dark and tangled pathway. The young man regarded the last speaker in open admiration, and even permitted her fairer, though certainly not more beautiful companion, to proceed unattended, while he sedulously opened the way himself for the passage of her who has been called Cora.

Alice is a strong character and a strong woman, to the point where she can at times be foolhardy. Much of the novel skirts the issue that concerns the males of the time--what will the Indians to white women if the latter are captured. Alice in particular becomes a catalyst for tensions between her protectors, with Heyward seeing himself as the civilized man who should be protecting her from the rougher type represented by Hawkeye and the Indians. Alice represents the early American values derived form the British and then tempered by the frontier experience. She is the beginning of this process.

Half a century later, Henry James would create women who would represent a more advanced development in the same national female character. Often, James wold compare these women to their European counterparts, and he would fin


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Depiction of Women in Fiction. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 07:05, October 23, 2014, from
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