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Fort William Henry The Savages ExploredThe massacre of Fort William Henry occurred in the year 1757 when Frances Native American allies captured tortured or killed 308 surrendered English The incident was brutal it has been told and retold throughout history by an array of authors historians and media agencies Although every re-telling of the massacre has inevitable variations the writings of James Fenimore Cooper and Francis Parkman and the Hollywood film The Last of the Mohicans with the portrayal of Native Americans as inferior vengeful savages in an attempt to explain the tragedy of the historical event James Fenimore Cooper used negative descriptions of Native Americans in his novel The Last of the Mohicans to dramatize the massacre at Fort William Henry This helps the reader make sense of the tragedy Cooper depicted the Huron Indians as raving savages that were both wild and untutored in their nature Cooper 207 It is easier to understand the massacre when Cooper blatantly indicates to the reader that revenge is an Indian feeling 217 The presuming way that Cooper characterizes Native Americans as animalistic and unintelligent inadvertently dehumanizes the Indians and creates a plausible reason for the slaughtering By stating that the Indians became heated and maddened by the sight of blood and even drank freelyof the crimson tide that covered the ground the motive for the massacre becomes obvious primitive vengeance 208 A passage which clearly evokes the strongest understanding of Indian savagery is stated below the Indians bantering but sullen smile changing to a gleam of ferocity he dashed the head of the infant against a rock and cast its quivering remains to its mothers very feet 207 Cooper undoubtedly used the worst possible trait of a savage the ability to murder infants shamelessly to emphasize his opinion of the Indians Furthermore the inferiority of the Indians is reinforced by their broken dialect Magua the Huron chief speaks in incomplete sentences and uses improper grammar Magua
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