Who Is the American Romantic Hero Natty Bumppo?


Quick Answer

Natty Bumppo is the hero of "The Leatherstocking Tales," a series of five novels that depict life in early frontier America. In the novels he has many aliases, including Deerslayer, Hawkeye, Pathfinder, Leatherstocking and the trapper.

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The five novels in "The Leatherstocking Tales" are "The Pioneers," "The Last of the Mohicans," "The Prairie," "The Pathfinder" and "The Deerslayer." In them, a composite of Natty Bumppo's personality and history from 1740 to 1806 emerges. Though born of white parents, he was raised by Delaware Indians and educated by Moravian Christians. He is an expert hunter, warrior and woodsman. Skilled with the flintlock, or long rifle, he needs only one shot to bring down his prey. His closest companion is Chingachgook, a Mohican chief and father of Uncas, the last of the Mohicans. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, he has a loyalty to a way of life that is vanishing along with the wilderness.

James Fenimore Cooper is considered the first major American novelist. When "The Leatherstocking Tales" were published in the early 19th century, they were immediately popular for being the first portrayal of frontier life in American literature. Besides "The Leatherstocking Tales," Cooper wrote many other works of fiction and nonfiction, including a series of sea novels that were as popular as "The Leatherstocking Tales."

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