Free Study Guide - Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier|
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COLD MOUNTAIN FREE ONLINE STUDY GUIDE / NOTES
Ada is a Charleston-raised socialite who is an anachronism on her deceased
father’s farm in the mountains. The war’s new social and economic conditions
have upended all that is familiar to her. She begins the story helpless
and childlike, mostly due to her privileged and sheltered upbringing.
She has no way of knowing that Inman is on his way home to her but wishes
it were so. When Ruby enters Ada’s life, Ada begins to discover not only
how a farm works, but also how she herself works. She and Ruby become
friends and grow to depend on each other. Eventually Ada becomes strong
and capable finding comfort in the land and in who she has become.
Ruby is a drifter who comes to Ada and teaches her how to make a subsistence
living from Ada’s neglected land. Ruby is hard on the outside and fully
capable of living off the land. She knows “the signs” from nature and,
being without a mother and untended by her father, can survive without
anyone’s help. She has hurt feelings on the inside, however, which surface
when her father, Stobrod, reenters her life. Her newfound friendship with
Ada teaches her to accept her father and that it is all right for people
to rely on each other.
Though the novel is a narrative, it borders on the expository in that there is no true dialogue. When characters communicate, it is largely through the author’s explanation of what was said. Actual spoken words are offset from the text by dashes. No quotation marks or conventional indications of dialogue are used.
A linear storyline is not maintained. The narrative follows current events, and then stories within the characters’ memories recount events of the past. The past then serves to explain the present. The chapters are of roughly even length and the story moves at a slow pace that suits the steady and enduring sense of purpose of the characters. This smooth tempo of plot movement creates a balance between Inman’s journey toward Ada and the mountain he loves, and Ada’s journey toward her sense of self and her connection with the mountain. The alternating focus of each chapter, first Inman, then Ada, then Inman, etc. allows the reader a greater depth of understanding of how the characters’ lives are transformed by the events of the war and the events of nature.
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Cassie, D. L.. "TheBestNotes on Cold Mountain".
. 09 May 2017