james Fenimore Cooper wrote The Pioneers before he wrote the rest of the books included in The Leatherstocking Tales. The book is set in the 1750s.
“The story takes place on the rapidly advancing frontier of New York State and features an elderly Leatherstocking (Natty Bumppo), Judge Marmaduke Temple of Templeton (whose life parallels that of the author’s father Judge William Cooper), and Elizabeth Temple (based on the author’s sister, Hannah Cooper), daughter of the fictional Templeton. The story begins with an argument between the judge and Leatherstocking over who killed a buck. Through their discussion, Cooper reviews many of the changes to New York’s Lake Otsego, questions of environmental stewardship, conservation, and use prevail….
“The Pioneers was the first novel of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales series, featuring the character Natty Bumppo, a resourceful white American living in the woods. The story focuses on the evolution of the wilderness into a civilized European-American community. The story takes place in the town of Тempleton, which is said to be modeled after Cooperstown, New York, founded by Cooper’s father after the Revolutionary War..
“Naturalist Ideas: Although not classified as a naturalist novel, Cooper depicts many naturalist based ideas in The Pioneers. His use of language, dialogue and description help to convey this movement within this novel.
“Landscape: In The Pioneers, Cooper thematically debates the complexity of landscape within a new American frontier. The battle between nature and civilization is a constant and competing force within the minds of the characters and in the general surroundings. Cooper evaluates his landscape as one that will be established by a civilization unable to escape its own traits of wastefulness and arrogance.
Characters: Cooper expands the conflict between nature and civilization in his characters. Specifically Cooper writes much more detailed and in depth dialogue for “Natty Bumpo’s” character than he does for any of the others. During these conversations Natty stresses the importance of respecting the land and criticizes the greed and selfishness of mankind. The “civil societal” characters are background characters to Natty’s heroic natural character. He emerges as the antithesis to wastefulness as demonstrated and embodied in the settlers. Cooper’s main theme is wilderness versus established society. While the settlers see wilderness as being tamed by their presence, Natty has a vision of civilized life coexisting with nature. Ideally, he wants to sustain the unique role that this vast unexplored wilderness contributes to the complexity of America.
“It is much better to kill only such you want, without wasting your powder and lead, then to be firing into God’s creatures in such a wicked manner.” (Natty to Judge Marmeduke) – Chapter III, The Slaughter of Pigeons
Description: Alternating between dialogues, Cooper writes vast paragraphs of descriptive writing to paint the natural wilderness. To him, the natural landscape exemplifies a peaceful wilderness. When the dialogue begins, it shows the disruption civilization wreaks on the natural abundance of the wilderness. Cooper contrasts the giving, natural and serene wilderness versus the arrogant and greedy society.” Wikipedia Here
You can read the entire book The Pioners: The Sources of the Susquehanna Free Online by Clicking on the Following Link to Its Location in the Gutenberg Books: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2275/2275-h/2275-h.htm
When you follow the above link [in a different color], you can click on each chapter, one chapter at a time
You can hear the book on tape, as it was recorded by Librivox. Again, for the Audio Book, click on one of the Parts at a time:
Part 2 Begins with Chapter 5
Part 3 Begins with Chapter 9
Part 4 Begins with Chapter 13
Part 5 Begins with Chapter 16
Part 6 Begins with Chapter 21
Part 7 Begins with Chapter 27
Part 8 Begins with Chapter 31
Part 9 Begins with Chapter 36