Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain Essay

1070 Words 5 Pages
Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain


Overcast by the gloom of the Civil War, Charles Frazier’s "Cold Mountain" details the growth of his characters as they cope with uncertain times. The two protagonists, Ada and Inman, traverse parallel paths toward redemption. While Ada adapts to an unfamiliar mountainous existence, Inman braves the risk of desertion to return to her. Both characters, however, seek love, spirituality, and an understanding of their disrupted world, and through their kindred courses, Frazier conveys the theme of questioning life.

As the story opens, both Inman and Ada survey their unfamiliar situations. Inman nurses a near-fatal wound in a makeshift hospital where he sits “brooding and pining for his lost self” (23).
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This unspoken quality, akin to his misfit manner, forged a bond between the two, though they never formally courted. Despite letters exchanged throughout Inman’s absence, neither know “how things might stand between [them]” (24). Their uncertainty reflects Frazier’s theme of a quest for knowledge.

Unsure what to expect, Inman presses on towards Cold Mountain despite the cost. His encounter with the goatwoman encourages his journey. Although he admires the woman’s ability to live a content, hermetic life, he realizes how deeply he craves Ada’s company. Ada recalls her tentative love for him, but wonders what will remain after the changes imposed by the war. In a brief letter, Inman intimates that he no longer resembles the man that ventured out “in either form or spirit” (246). The brutality of war and senselessness of death burned his spirit. Instead of an optimistic youth, he more closely embodies “a sad old heron standing pointless watch in the middle of a pond lacking frogs” (22). Ada, too, is but a remnant of her past self. As her friend Ruby disciplines her on the nature of the land, Ada gradually substitutes manual labor and harvesting crops for idle painting and poetry. Even in the face of their inevitable transformations, however, the pair cling to the hope of reuniting and rekindling a love cut short by…