Dealing with the racial issues is not an easy task, especially when it comes to discussing the relationships between the Native Americans and the people who moved to American in search for new opportunities and the need to try his/her luck. The sad outcomes of these relationships have become notorious not only in American history but also all over the world.
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The inability to compromise and to find the common language with the natives has been discussed countless times; therefore, another discussion will not add any more novelty. The specifics of the relationships between the white and the native [population of the American continent as it was portrayed in novels, however, is worth close attention.
For example, in Last of the Mohicans, a movie adaptation of Fenimore Cooper’s cycle about the Mohicans, the Frontier in the Last of the Mohicans symbolizes the contradictory relationships between the Natives and the colonists, showing that, no matter what steps might be taken by both parties, neither of them will ever be able to cross the barrier between the two and stay alive.
With the help of rather evident symbolism, Mann manages to create the concept that defines the course of the entire movie. Being an inanimate object, the Frontier seizes the audience’s attention by showing them how the Frontier, an inanimate object, becomes one of the leading characters in the movie.
It must be admitted that the movie offers considerably less ambiguity than the book. While in the novel, it is easier to show the dilemma between making friends and making war, in the movie, the given highlights are somewhat blurred.
As a result, the audience gets a rather one-sided picture concerning the way in which the relationships between the white colonists and the Native Americans developed.
It is important to stress that in the movie, the concept of the Frontier as the symbol for the long-lasting grudge that each of the opponents has been bearing against another one is somewhat in the shadow, while the relationships between the characters, as well as character development, are in the foreground. In fact, little has been left from the original idea of making the Frontier a symbol of the conflict between the two nations.
The Frontier is mentioned as the place where the leading characters meet, where they discuss various issues and where the most intense events take place. However, the Frontier is never referred to as the line that splits two nations apart.
One might argue, nevertheless, that the movie conveys the given idea rather subtly. Indeed, the fact that the Frontier is not addressed anywhere directly as the symbol of enmity between two nationalities, does not mean that it is not referred to at all. As it has been mentioned above, the image of the Frontier appears in several scenes that play a pivoting part in the movie plot.
The fact that the movie does not mark the Frontier as the exact venue where all the subplots meet to contribute to the interpretation of enmity between the Native Americans and the invaders does not mean that the Frontier is completely devoid of meaning in the movie.
It is remarkable that several key events take place next to the Frontier or at the Frontier. For example, it is mentioned at least once that “frontier land’s the only land affordable to poor people” (Mann). The given cue makes it clear that the Frontier is considered the “no man’s land,” a place where both the Native Americans and the colonists can enjoy their rights.
The given interpretation adds one more layer to the multiple meanings that the Frontier has in the movie. Not only does it serve as the mark that separates two nations, but also provides the two enemies with an opportunity to have a break from the fight as old as time.
That being said, the Frontier can be viewed as both the point of reconciling with the enemy and being at daggers with the opponent. In that sense, it is much more reasonable to view the Frontier as the point at which both the protagonists and the antagonists make their choices concerning whose interests they are going to fight for.
Although Cooper shows in a very graphic and convincing manner that the relationships of trust, friendship, and even love could exist between the Native Americans and the colonists, it is still worth admitting that such relationships were rather an exception than an everyday occurrence.
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Because of their cultural differences, their attitude towards the American land and their unwillingness to compromise, the Native Americans and the colonists built a wall that separated them from each other much more successfully than the famous Frontier. Being the symbol of a conflict between the two nations who will never come to terms, the Frontier gained a very symbolist meaning very soon and for quite obvious reasons.
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