The Role of Women in classic literature is very limited. Often women were forced into very specific and rigid gender roles. In the works of James Fenimore Cooper, those gender roles were rigidly enforced in a patriarchal society. Any woman who dared to go outside of her prescribed role either perished or was branded insane. However, when a woman was on the frontier or in the wilderness, those gender roles were greatly relaxed or dismissed all together. In the wilderness female characters were allowed to take on gender roles traditionally assigned to men. In the novels, The Pathfinder, Homeward Bound, Home as Found and The Ways of the Hour, the main female protagonists face changing roles depending on the setting, and often suffer the consequences of not adhering to their assigned gender roles within society. The freedom they find in the wilderness does not follow them to the settlements.