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Free Study Guide - Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

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CHAPTER 10 in place of the truth


Ada and Ruby lay a row of fence rails, and then they set a trap to catch whatever has been eating in the corncrib. Though the corn loss has been low, in time it could amount to a lot. Next, Ruby goes to see Esco Swanger with the intention of trading apples for cabbages and turnips. It was Ada’s task, in Ruby’s absence, to make a scarecrow for the winter garden. The crows have picked at the plants only a little, but again, over time, they could eat the whole garden. Ada chooses to attire the scarecrow in her own gown and hat fearing that the image of Monroe in the yard would be too disturbing had she used his old clothing. When Ruby returns, the two women bury the cabbages as store for the winter.

They sit together on the porch taking turns braiding each others’ hair as a sort of contest. While they are sitting they observe that the image of Ada in the garden is effective in warding off the crows. When the braiding is complete, Ruby insists that Ada is the winner, but before she goes off to do the chores assigned to the loser, she asks Ada to read some pages from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which Ada does.

The sky darkens and Ada goes off to complete her chores. There is just enough light for Ada to read and reread a letter she received from Inman. She has no way of knowing when or where it was written. She recalls the pleasant memory of the last days before Inman left. He had come to say goodbye to her and told her a story he had heard from an old Native American woman. The Indian people were told of a land near the top of Cold Mountain called Shining Rocks where they would be safe from the enemy that was to come. In order to find and enter the land they would have to fast for seven days and never raise the war cry. One member of the tribe deceived the rest and slipped out at night to eat. After seven days of fasting, the tribe went up to the designated spot at Shining Rocks. The mountain opened up for them and they could see the new land. However, the deceitful one panicked and let out the war cry. The rock turned solid again and the tribe had their land taken from them, as was prophesized. They were driven away except for those who remained hidden to be hunted like animals. Ada dismissed the tale as folklore, unintentionally offending Inman who then said goodbye and left.

Ada’s reverie continues to the following day when she went into town and to Inman’s surprise showed up at his door. They spoke their true feelings and bid each other a much fonder and more promising goodbye.


This chapter presents crows once again, but Ada proves resourceful even against the adaptable birds. Ada and Ruby, two motherless women, have developed a warm and intimate relationship. Despite their differences in upbringing - Ruby, a lonely, abandoned child, Ada privileged and doted upon - they are one in their present situation. Ada has become competent with farm chores. Ruby requests Shakespeare. They both are being won over to each other and to the belief that there is nothing they need to survive that they could not make, grow, or find on Cold Mountain.

More literature references: Dickens’ Bleak House, a 19th century drama is added to Ada’s reading list. She purchases three volumes of Trollope, who writes of Victorian society, but she does not desire to read them. Rather, Ada’s interest seems to lie in the more tragic themes so prevalent in 19th century literature. Of course Ruby fancies A Midsummer Night’s Dream with its pastoral setting.


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Cassie, D. L.. "TheBestNotes on Cold Mountain". . 09 May 2017