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James Fenimore Cooper

Literary Devices He Is Known For Using

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            James Fenimore Cooper, best known for his work in “The Last of the Mohicans” was much more than just that. One of the best novelists known during his time period and inspiring writers of his time. Authors are usually known for many things throughout their life and all of them are always known for their way of writing. Cooper was known for using imagery and symbols throughout most of his work.

            In “The Last of the Mohicans” for example, Cooper used metaphors and similes. In order to allow the reader to go beyond the literal meaning of the story. Instead of saying things in simple terms, Cooper used metaphors and similes combined. He also used imagery throughout the entire book. He uses all of these metaphors in order to give the scenery in “ The Last of the Mohicans” Cooper writes “Mine ear is open, and my heart prepared; the worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold—Say is my kingdom lost?” This is an example of how he combined many of the literary devices together in order create better scenery. In that sentence he used imagery and metaphor it is a metaphor of how open the person was to everything that was going on and willing to listen and take it all in.

            Another example of James Fenimore Coopers use of literary devices is “… it received the contributions of another lake, whose waters were so limpid, as to have been exclusively selected by the Jesuit missionaries, to perform the typical purification of baptism, and to optain for it the title of the lake “ du Saint Sacrement” . That quote is another example of Coopers use of imagery. The reader is able to clearly see the clearness of the water. As if it was almost without color. Then the reader is able to picture a person baptizing someone in the lake.

            “ Winding its way among countless islands, and imbedded in mountains, the “ holy lake” extended a dozen leagues still farther to the south” is an example of a metaphor. Cooper uses holy lake as a metaphor in order show how unholy the lake really is. It can also be said that Cooper is being sarcastic while calling this lake holy. Thus showing that he is not simply calling this lake “holy” but giving it a double meaning.

            Cooper also uses many references to nature in all of his works; this is due to the fact that he grew up with nature surrounding him. In the book “ The Last of the Mohicans” the entire book is using references to nature in order to describe the tribe’s culture. In the book “ The Prairie” there is also references to nature. The themes of all of his books are somehow related to nature and how nature affects the character. Through his books James Fenimore Cooper wanted to get across the fact that he believed that “nature would eventually be destroyed by the encroachments of civilization” (

            Many other author’s look up to Coopers use of the terms. He did it in such a way that the reader did not have to continue to try to find out exactly what he meant. However some author’s criticized his work and felt that he did not know what he was talking about when it came to nature and the wilderness.  James Fenimore Cooper also used these literary terms in order to use romanticism in his work.

            Each author has a way of writing each story. James Fenimore Cooper truly had a set way of writing each story since the themes and setting of the story of the vast majority of his books were the same. He would use similes, metaphors, imagery and references to nature in order to carry out his themes and give the reader the setting and more information about the stories. Beyond the fact that he used the literary devices in terms of “literature” he also used it in order to in the end bring it all together to his main belief that “ nature would be destroyed by civilization.” 

By: Alina Gonzalez

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