American Hero
Every child has fantasyís of being a super hero and leaping tall buildings in
a single bound or staring death in the face everyday and somehow finding a way
to escape. All of these imaginative thoughts have been derived from the past
literary works by the great writers of the early American literary period. These
early writers entered society into a world of action and adventure, where one
can see spectacular events unfolding through the eyes of a notorious man of
courage and feel as though they are defending there country or saving the woman
they love. Though the modern heroes are much more popular than classic American
heroes, the modern hero has rooted from these same literary works which once
amazed people in the days of old. Because of its popularity, the public pores
into movie theaters to see movie-remakes of renown literary works. Natty Bumppo
was the first true recognizable American hero. He was looked up to by the masses
and is still a popular symbol of the classic hero. Just as Natty Bumppo was the
popular hero of his time, Indiana Jones is still the favorite of millions today.

Indiana has overshadowed Nattyís success but still contains many of his
attributes. The characteristics of the American hero are similar in both Indiana

Jones and Natty Bumppo. "An American novelist, travel writer, and social
critic, James Fenimore Cooper is regarded as the first great American writer"
(Groliers NP). "Cooper began writing at age thirty to demonstrate to his
wife that he could write a better novel than the one he was reading to her"
(Encarta NP). "In proving this he soon became one of the most successful
writers of his time. He was famed for his action-packed plots and his vivid, if
somewhat idealized, portrayal of American life in the forest and at sea. He is
most noted for the writings of the Leatherstocking Tales. The Leatherstocking

Tales are a series of five novels that constitute an epic of the American
wilderness. In these novels, Cooper introduces Natty Bumppo, the central
character, who embodies the spirit of the frontier in The deerslayer, The

Prairie, The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder, and The Pioneers." (Groliers)

Over the years Natty Bumppo has been looked up to by many because of his
bravery, honesty, and his will to help people in a time of need. Readers have
watched grow and mature as though they were with him the whole time. "In The

Deerslayer, Natty is seen as and idealized youth. Natty is later seen wondering
through the forest and lonely waters and is confronted by hunters, Indians, and
the hostile Europeans" (Groliers NP). This is an example of Natty encountering
physical danger. This wilderness scout is the first of his kind in American
literature and was seen nowhere before by the American readers. This novel
allowed the readers to enter a world where they could relive the Revolutionary

War, Indian wars, and battles on the frontier. After The Deer Slayer, Natty

Bumppo is seen in The Last of the Mohicans. In this novel, Natty is called

Hawkeye because of his ties to the Mohicans. Indians of this time were looked
upon as savages, "but Natty has taken unto himself the best of both
civilization and so-called savagery" (Cliff Notes 11). Because he made peace
with the Indians, he had a mysterious and dangerous quality in the eyes of the
reader. In this novel Natty has many close native companions to join him in his
endeavors on the frontier. "During the French and Indian Wars, The Legendary
woodsman, Natty Bumppo, is know by another famous aliasís, The Pathfinder. His
companions in this story is his adoptive Indian father, Chingachgook and the
beautiful, Mabel Dunham. They become involved in an attempt to rescue a besieged

British fort where he faces danger many times." (Eonline) "The last novel of
the Leatherstocking Tales Natty appears in is The Prairie. Here Natty is viewed
as a decrepit, old man. This is when the hero everyone once loved and admired
becomes weak and helpless. As he is lying on his death bed many people from far
and wide come to pay their respects to the honorable Natty Bumppo" (American

Experience 194-202). The past friends and war partners that are with him in his
time of dying include, Indians from different tribes are there along side their
enemy, the white man. The white men who are there are members of the U.S. Army.

Both the natives and the officers stand side by side and show great respect to

Natty the remainder of his long and notorious life.