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May 2005
The Frontiersmen
by Allan W. Eckert

Discussion Questions

  1. In the prologue to the narrative, Eckert establishes a structure for the book by giving us parallel stories of the births of Simon Kenton and Tecumseh. What connections can be drawn between Kenton and Tecumseh? How would you compare their personalities? Their strengths and weaknesses? How well do you think this parallel structure works throughout the book?

  2. How are women portrayed in this narrative? Is the portrayal negative or positive? Are women treated as important to the story? Does the portrayal of women indicate anything about the setting of the book—or about the time it was written (1967)?

  3. What kinds of opinions are put forth about men like Greathouse and about his behavior? How are “manly” activities like drinking and sleeping with women portrayed?

  4. Violence, committed by both Indians and settlers, is prevalent in the narrative. How do you feel about Eckert’s depictions of violence? Discuss the difference, if any, in how the violence occurred. Did one group act unprovoked more often, or perform more gruesome acts?

  5. Eckert makes a strong point in his author’s note that The Frontiersmen is a factual work, despite its narrative structure and conversational tone. Do you think it presents an unbiased account? How accurate can Eckert’s sources be? How well do you think the book works from a literary perspective?

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