The plot twist he refers to? The character, Little Hawk, is killed by a Pilgrim, but that's not the end of him. He goes from being a living person to a ghost that narrates the rest of the story, which focuses on John Wakely, a colonist who grows up and saves the life of a Native boy named Trouble. That Native boy grows up to be Metacom/King Philip. Yep--a leader of the Wampanoag, according to Cooper's story, only gets to be that leader because a white person saves him when he was a child.
Throughout part two and three, Little Hawk can reveal himself to John at a certain time and place on an island. He does so several times during the story. That's because, when Little Hawk was killed, he was unable to rest or go home because John has a stone blade that belonged to Little Hawk's ancestors.
By the end of the story (part four in the book), we're in the present day. A woman lives on the island. With a helper, she works the land. That helper finds Little Hawk's tomahawk and gives it to the woman. The next day, she's holding the tomahawk in her hand and Little Hawk reveals himself to her (page 316):
"She sees a bare-chested American Indian, in deerskin pants and moccasins, his hair greased up into a scalp lock--but the body has no substance, and through it the trees are still faintly visible."She is startled but they begin to talk with each other. They have what I find to be a troubling conversation about the land itself and land ownership, and she learns that he is kept from resting because of the tomahawk blade she now has in her hands. She realizes that she can free him by burying it. The tomahawk, he tells her, has been buried a long time. Strains of "bury the hatchet"--don't you think?! So, she plants a hickory tree and buries the blade with it. Then, we read (p. 320):
Time breaks open around me, and all at once there is more light than a hundred suns, more light than I have ever seen.And,
I am gone to my long home at last, set free, flying high, high beyond the world. High, high, into mystery.With those passages, Cooper is imagining what a Wampanoag person experiences when they die. It is a bit ironic, I think, that it is a person named Cooper doing that imagining, because another person named Cooper did a whole lot of imagining when he wrote his stories about Indians... Course, I'm thinking of James Fenimore Cooper. Remember that guy? He wrote Last of the Mohicans.
Key points in Susan Cooper's story? White person saves Metacom. White person frees Little Hawk. In his discussion of the book, Jonathan says that Cooper's story, written from Little Hawk's perspective,
"engenders empathy for the disappearing indigenous people and their culture."Perhaps it does, but how what does that empathy mean? What does IT engender? Below is the comment I submitted to Jonathan's post. As of this moment (9:26 AM, Central Time), it is in 'moderation mode' but I expect it to appear shortly. I encourage you to follow and participate in the discussion that will take place. Here's a link to the page:
Jonathan Hunt's post about Ghost Hawk
And, my comment to Jonathan's post (awaiting approval from Jonathan or whomever moderates comments for him):