The American Civil War Essay

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The American Civil War emanated feelings of joy, exuberance, and glory, yet it substantiated loneliness, destruction, and death. In the antebellum South, nationalism and pride forged a new path, and society saw soldiers as heroic actors and war as their stage. While these actors played out their roles, the audience, the world, could see that their stage did not make them heroes, but war deprived them of body and soul. In Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier develops this excitement and progression to hardship in both Ada and Inman’s journeys. The progression, corroborated by historical evidence, shows that while the antebellum South held a Romantic ideal of war, war itself negated the romantic opinion and became destructive, monstrous …show more content…
Southern gentility may have held excitement for the Romantic war because they did not have to partake in battle; however, Cold Mountain shows that poor Southern soldiers did not quake in the coming of war but celebrated. As war begins, an excitement is spread to all the soldiers. War is not seen as imminent death, but it is seen as a quintessential example of bravery and honor. As soon as men join the army they pay to have their pictures taken so they can send a memento, a war souvenir back to their families and lovers. The men stand up for their pictures as “farm boys more bright in their moods than on hog- killing days” (247). War was not destruction for these men, it was an exhilarating experience of manhood. They not only celebrated war through their photographs, but they received new uniforms and “shiny new bowie knives” (247). Cold Mountain shows that war did not symbolize death to the South, but it in a sense was a Romantic celebration in which society and soldiers could look towards future glory and success.

War in Cold Mountain is seen as Romantic, and historical references prove, that in truth, the South did not look upon war as a harbinger of death, but as a symbol of glory and honor. Validating Frazier’s idea that war was not feared but celebrated, historical references show that there was an “excitement of the first few months of war”
(Eaton 203), and everyone “talks, thinks, and dreams of…

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