Summary – Chapter Seven
Deerslayer wakes at dawn and notices the other two canoes have drifted and follows cautiously after one of them that is touching the land. As he reaches it, he raises himself and takes up his gun, and a shot is fired at him. A Native American man leaps from behind a bush and runs to the loose canoe. This the moment Deerslayer has desired and levels his gun at his enemy. He hesitates to pull the trigger and the man runs back under cover. When Deerslayer also hides, he sees this man re-loading his gun. It would have been easier for Deerslayer to shoot him now, but he revolts at the idea as he has not learned to be ruthless. He sees it as more Christian to be fair. When the man comes out from behind the tree, Deerslayer does so too and declares himself. The man puts his gun down and Deerslayer tells him that he knows there is a war between his people (referred to variously as the Huron, Iroquois and ‘Mingos’) and his own but also says he knows the world is large enough for both of them.
The man offers to shake his hand and Deerslayer does so. The man still disputes that one of the canoes is his and Deerslayer proves this is not so and pushes it out into the lake. The man appears to accept this peacefully and shakes hands again and returns to the woods. Deerslayer averts his gaze after a while and appears to feel ashamed of his distrust. However, when he looks at him again he sees the man’s eyes in an opening in a bush and also sees the muzzle of his gun pointing at him.
Both men fire at the same time. Deerslayer is only grazed but he hears the man yell and sees him come running at him with a tomahawk. He throws it and Deerslayer catches it, and the man falls to the ground. Deerslayer then re-loads his gun and advances on his enemy. It is the first time he has seen a man fall in battle and he is injured but not dead.
He sees the man’s fear of being scalped but Deerslayer takes some satisfaction in telling him he is of Christian stock. He says he hopes his conduct ‘will be white’ and is described by the narrator as having ‘innocent vanity on the subject of color’.
The man asks for water and Deerslayer carries him over to the lake. He asks his name and Deerslayer tells him. The man re-names him Hawkeye and in ‘after years’ he bears this name in this region.
After this, the man dies and Deerslayer refuses to take his scalp and understands this point as being why and how ‘the King’s Majesty, his governors, and all his councils’ have forgotten ‘from what they come’. He places the man in a sitting position and decides not to boast about this. His soliloquy is interrupted by another Native American a few hundred yards away and he yells when he sees Deerslayer. Deerslayer gets into his canoe, secures the first loose one and goes after the second.
When he gets closer to the second one, he realizes a man is lying in it and is propelling it with his arm. He orders the man off and the sight of Deerslayer and his gun is enough to make him jump in the water. Deerslayer retrieves this one too and paddles while soliloquizing on what has happened and how he was right not to kill him. He reaches the castle and the two women are there waiting anxiously.
Analysis – Chapter Seven
The majority of this chapter signposts how the readers are expected to see the superiority (in terms of fairness) of Deerslayer. His Christianity is written of as a virtue as opposed to the unfairness exhibited by his non-Christian enemy. However, it is only mentioned briefly that other whites, such as the representatives of the King, do not conform to the same ideals he espouses (even though these two are white men). Deerslayer is written of once more as the heroic figure and appears to be the one we are led to sympathize with.
The DeerSlayer: Chapter 7
Summary – Chapter Seven