Posts Tagged ‘hunting’

Hunting and Animal Deaths in “The Pioneers”

Characters’ identities with “The Pioneer,” particularly their sex and class, are very important in relation to the hunting and animal deaths within the story.

Cooper incorporates stereotypical views of women to indicate how a young woman would react during a hunt. The first buck that is hunted shows the sexist depiction of women as emotional, passive creatures as opposed to strong, independent men. When the buck gets away unharmed, Elizabeth’s view of the scene is completely different from that of her father. The narrator states that “the whole scene had passed with a rapidity that confused the female, who was unconsciously rejoicing in the escape of the buck” (Cooper 7), yet her father remained calm and unfazed by shooting at the deer. In this, the idea that women are closer to nature and more empathetic, not only to other people but also to other creatures, is seen. In each other hunting scene, the men and boys who are killing the animals have no qualms about the death, even to the point of killing them in excess for fun.

More obviously within this text is the juxtaposition of the views of the rich and poor when it comes to the deaths of animals. Hunting is depicted as a necessity for the poor and as a sport for the wealthy. The sole exception to the men being uncaring about the excess killing of animals for sport is the character or Leather Stocking, though this is due not to his sex but to his class. He is offended by all the boys killing large amounts of pigeons while “none pretended to collect the game, which lay scattered over the fields in such profusion as to cover the very ground with the fluttering victims” (Cooper 250). Yet all of the richer characters within the story see hunting as primarily a sport, and only secondarily a source of food. Like women, the poor are depicted as being closer to nature and less brutal. While this plays on a sexist stereotype for women, it actually serves to show the poor of this story in a positive light as opposed to the brutish behaviors or the richer men.

Sex and class are both represented as being relevant factors in the characters’ views of animal deaths as well as nature as a whole.

 

References

Cooper, James Fenimore. The Pioneers. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1958. 1-255. Print.

 

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Killing of Animals in “The Pioneers”

In Cooper’s “The Pioneers”, the act of killing animals is discussed between the characters from two different perspectives. The first perspective is from Judge Temple who is a wealthy man and owns the area of land that has been settled by the characters in the story. Judge Temple thinks of hunting firstly as a sport. He doesn’t care whether he shot the meat he brings home for dinner or he bought it off another hunter. What he does care about though is being able to boast about his kills as is evident when he says “but what will requite me for the lost honor of a buck’s tail in my cap? Think, Natty how I should triumph over that quizzing dog, Dick Jones,” (Cooper, 9). Another instance where Judge Temple and the other villagers reveal how they see hunting only as a past time and a way to express their superiority over other living creatures is the pigeon hunting passage. They bring out the old cannon and load it with “several handfuls of duck-shot” (Cooper, 250) and shoot the cannon into one of the enormous flocks of pigeons that flew over the field and kill a very large number of birds, which they have no intention of eating.
The other perspective of killing animals is revealed through the character of Natty, the solitary hunter. Natty thinks of hunting as a way to feed himself and nothing more. He prides himself on his shooting ability and how he only kills what he intends to eat. Natty embodies the idealistic view of Native American hunters many people today hold because he uses the animals he kills for food and to make clothing and other necessities out of their hides and he doesn’t waste the animal’s body. He condemns the pigeon hunting and describes the townspeople’s actions as a “wasty manner” (Cooper, 251). Natty’s character reveals a very conservationist mindset which was unusual for the time period.

Killing of Animals in “The Pioneers”

In Cooper’s “The Pioneers”, the act of killing animals is discussed between the characters from two different perspectives. The first perspective is from Judge Temple who is a wealthy man and owns the area of land that has been settled by the characters in the story. Judge Temple thinks of hunting firstly as a sport. He doesn’t care whether he shot the meat he brings home for dinner or he bought it off another hunter. What he does care about though is being able to boast about his kills as is evident when he says “but what will requite me for the lost honor of a buck’s tail in my cap? Think, Natty how I should triumph over that quizzing dog, Dick Jones,” (Cooper, 9). Another instance where Judge Temple and the other villagers reveal how they see hunting only as a past time and a way to express their superiority over other living creatures is the pigeon hunting passage. They bring out the old cannon and load it with “several handfuls of duck-shot” (Cooper, 250) and shoot the cannon into one of the enormous flocks of pigeons that flew over the field and kill a very large number of birds, which they have no intention of eating.
The other perspective of killing animals is revealed through the character of Natty, the solitary hunter. Natty thinks of hunting as a way to feed himself and nothing more. He prides himself on his shooting ability and how he only kills what he intends to eat. Natty embodies the idealistic view of Native American hunters many people today hold because he uses the animals he kills for food and to make clothing and other necessities out of their hides and he doesn’t waste the animal’s body. He condemns the pigeon hunting and describes the townspeople’s actions as a “wasty manner” (Cooper, 251). Natty’s character reveals a very conservationist mindset which was unusual for the time period.