In his article entitled "The Novel as a Religious Tract," William M. Hogue has identified persistent and wide-ranging allusions to Episcopalianism in the works of James Fenimore Cooper. The author of the Leatherstocking Tales, we are told, ''preached his favorite orthodoxies incessantly in the pulpit most accessible to him—(in) his fiction." As Hague's survey indicates, from early in his career until late, Cooper frequently expressed his views on Episcopalianism, most notably by "making most of his heroes and heroines Episcopalians and by having his unpleasant characters belong to the Puritan-descended denominations." But the Christian tradition is important to Cooper in more substantial ways—especially in The Pioneers. This essay examines the allusions to the Bible in The Pioneers; these references to the Old Testament define more clearly the moral center of Cooper's novel. Since this interpretation necessarily involves discussion of the novelist's father, William Cooper, it is necessary first to examine his relationship to the novel.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.