While Natty Bumppo is an observer of and critical commentator on these early incidents of bourgeois irrationality and waste, he becomes a central participant in the climactic conflict between the representatives of surplus and subsistence production in The Pioneers. A victim of his own socio-economically determined skills as a hunter, Natty kills a buck swimming in Otsego Lake after a difficult chase, two weeks out of the newly-declared legal season for deer hunting. The incident is reported to Sheriff Jones by one Hiram Doolittle, himself a novel bourgeois "type" of professional bureaucratic lackey. Indeed, it later becomes evident that Doolittle has deliberately sought to "frame" Natty, whom he suspects of secreting wealth, by freeing the hunter's hounds.


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