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Literature: Integrating War into the Storytelling Research Paper


Utilization of War in American Literature

The proponent of the study examined three important works of American literature. These are listed as follows: 1) James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans; 2) F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby; and 3) Udiah’s The Declaration of Independence. Careful scrutiny of these three masterworks revealed a perspective on how the authors integrated the concept of war into their creative process. War was the setting in Cooper and Fitzgerald’s novel. On the other hand, war symbolized Udiah’s struggle for freedom.

Cooper’s Work

War was the backdrop for James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans. As a result, the French Indian War of 1757 enhanced the meaning of the text. In this novel, France and England fought for control of the New World (Cooper 15). The conflict compelled some Native Americans to assist British forces. On the other hand, other Native Americans to help French forces. The war was not the main issue discussed in the novel because Cooper focused the spotlight on a group of vanishing people. The core message of the story was revealed at the end of the novel, and it had nothing to do with the conflict between Great Britain and France.

The French Indian War was used as part of the setting. It made a lot of sense to use warfare and integrate it into the backdrop of the story because it enabled the author to bring different elements into the narrative. The author was able to incorporate different characters into the story. Without the forces that came as a result of warfare, there was no mechanism to develop other components of the story. One of the significant aspects of the novel was the physical attraction between Uncas and Cora Munro. Uncas was a remnant of the Mohican tribe, and he fell in love with the daughter of a colonel in the British army. A different layer of tension and conflict was added to the plot because interracial marriage was considered taboo during that time period. At the same time, the serendipitous encounter between the hero and the damsel in distress was made possible because of the elements in the setting.

Cooper expertly utilized the typical features of warfare to highlight the struggle of a vanishing people. Without these elements, the commentator will fail to describe the stark realities in the struggle for survival. It has to be made clear that even during ordinary times, the Mohican tribe suffered from extraordinary stress because they were in a desperate battle against nature and the laws of economics. These people never mastered or never acquired the prerequisite knowledge needed to understand animal husbandry or crop science. They exhibited lifestyles akin to nomadic tribes. They preferred to hunt and trap animals.

Their livelihood was based on the barter system, and they traded animal skins for valuable commodities. It was evident that the Mohicans failed to experience financial breakthroughs. They did not possess the capability to accumulate great wealth. The proof of this assertion was in the number of survivors that swore allegiance to the Mohican name. In the end, there were only two left; they were the father and son tandem of Chingachgook and Uncas. The conflict between the two superpowers generated tremendous social and economic pressure that pushed the Mohican people into the brink of extinction.

The Great Gatsby

In the case of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the First World War was part of the backdrop of the story. However, the war was not only a major component of the setting; it was also utilized as a mechanism to explain critical attributes of the novel’s main character. The novel’s spotlight was focused on a mysterious character named Gatsby. He wanted to capture the heart of a woman he loved using all his mind and strength.

Gatsby’s participation in the First World War explained his long-term absence in the life of his lover. The war also explained the source of his great wealth. In a typical scenario, the accumulation of wealth required great effort and the passage of time. In other words, it is hard to explain the combination of youth and great fortune.

The author needed a mechanism to explain the source of Gatsby’s wealth because he was depicted as a knight in shining armor ready to rescue a damsel in distress (Fitzgerald 25). Gatsby must have access to riches, but he cannot attribute his wealth to a life of crime. He represented righteousness as he confronted an evil prince responsible for the enslavement of Gatsby’s lover.

Udiah’s War

Udiah’s The Declaration of Independence utilized the concept of war in a different way. He did not use it as the setting for his poem. However, he utilized war to symbolize the struggle to end slavery. Without a doubt, the author sought common ground between his oppressors and the people in bondage whom he represented.

When Udiah used the war to symbolize his struggle against slavery, he reminded his white oppressors that their forefathers felt the sting of slavery when they were under the rule of Great Britain. Once he established the symbolic significance of the American Revolutionary War, the author made an emotional connection with his target audience (Udiah 1). He made them feel uncomfortable, because, at one point, black and white people were fighting for the same cause.

The common ground he created through the use of the said symbol enabled him to bridge two worlds. He allowed them to see the hypocrisy of the pronouncements made in The Declaration of Independence, especially if there was no effort made to uphold the principles of liberty and equality.

Conclusion

James Fenimore Cooper, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Udiah succeeded in integrating war into their storytelling framework. Cooper utilized the French Indian War as the backdrop to the story of a vanishing people. As a result, Cooper was able to enhance the meaning of the text. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, utilized the First World War as a mechanism to explain Gatsby’s great wealth. As a result, he was able to create a believable character. If one takes away the significance of the war, Gatsby’s character does not have the scaffolding needed to establish a character imbued with strength and credibility. Without these attributed, he will never rescue his lover from the hands of a tyrant.

Udiah’s poem did not utilize war as the setting for his literary work. He used war as symbolic of the struggle to end slavery. Udiah needed to create common ground between black and whites. He needed his oppressors to feel the same thing he felt when he suffered from the consequences of slavery. When he utilized the American Revolutionary War, it became an eye-opener for many people that there was a legitimate basis to the clamor for freedom.

Works Cited

Cooper, James. The Last of the Mohicans. CA: Saddleback Publishing, 2001. Print.

Fitzgerald, Scott. The Great Gatsby. UK: Urban Romantics, 2012. Print.

Udiah, Witness. The Declaration of Independence. PoemHunter. 2012. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Literature: Integrating War into the Storytelling." June 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/literature-integrating-war-into-the-storytelling/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Literature: Integrating War into the Storytelling'. 13 June.

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