In Cold Mountain (by Charles Frazier), two characters, Inman & Ida, undergo intensive transformations while apart. Frazier then weaves together their separate accounts. Inman is sent to the Civil War and endures all of its brutality while in war. Inman was one of the Confederate deserters, and he was trying desperately to return to his love. Inman’s desertion is a sign that he was aware the South would not win the war. By using comedy, the author makes the story seem like a mock-epic. This comedy is used to make the story less tragic by underplaying the events. Cold Mountain concentrates on the themes of transformation and the journey of people as they deal with changes, conflicts, choices, love, etc.
Inman’s war experiences are reflected in the book, and his physical and mental wounds start to affect him. Inman begins the novel as a distinguished soldier. However, his war experiences and his decision to desert the Confederate Army and return home make him a weaker man. The wise say that we should not continue to mourn. “But the wisdom of the ages says that we do well not to grieve on and on.” . . . The only thing left is your scars. You have to decide whether you will continue on. You can choose to continue or not. Inman, later in the book acknowledges that his experiences during and after war have changed him. Inman’s choices are what lead to his negative progression. He regrets all of his decisions. He is affected mentally by his choices, and he starts to see his life as a series of bad decisions. He then added regret to the list of deadly sins. Inman’s actions and experiences lead to regret, which mentally destroy him. He is no longer the man he was before the war. Inman’s journey and his actions have caused him to feel a great deal of regret. He is no longer the man he was before. She becomes more independent and capable of dealing with the issues she faces in everyday life. “She knew how to do little more than milk the cow.” (Frazier 28). Ada, who has always been able to depend on Inman, is left alone to manage the farm when Inman goes to war. She doesn’t even know how to do it, because she was never without help. Ruby comes to her aid and Ada becomes independent. Inman’s dependence was high at the beginning and it is only by the time she reaches the end that she can do everything on her own. Ruby is Ada’s mentor, teaching her to do difficult tasks that were once out of Ada’s reach with minimal effort. Ruby taught Ada how to split an old black oak tree log into six lengths …”. Ruby’s lessons and advice help Ada not only to handle her own life, but also everyday farm life, which can be difficult. Ruby is Ada’s Inman when he goes to war. It makes Ada’s life much easier. Ruby does a good job of replacing Inman. Inman did most of his work at home. Ruby teaches Ada the skills to succeed with or without Inman. Ada changes in the same way as Inman does throughout the whole story. Ada progresses while Inman is constantly regressing.
Inman’s relationship with Ada is the main plot point of the book. Ada is Inman’s reason for leaving the war and returning home to be with her. They both miss eachother dearly. Inman’s love for Ada is what drives him to regress, but it will cost him dearly in the end. Inman surprises Ada by returning to Cold Mountain in the final chapters. The first reaction of each character was anticlimactic. Frazier weaves humor into this story by revealing that their love for eachother was intense, yet nothing happened when they met. Frazier focuses a large part of the story on their relationship. Ada is loved in a variety of ways, but love plays a large role throughout the story. Ada’s love is evident in her countless unsent letters and her desire for Inman to return as strong as possible. Inman’s journey is based on love, which is at the core of everything he does. Ada is in the forefront of Inman’s mind with every decision he makes. Inman, who had made the vow not to harm a bear because of Ada’s love, became in a way ruthless. He killed others mercilessly along the road, but not just to be able to return as quickly as he possibly could. The love theme is central to the plot. It’s the underlying motivation.
Frazier, who interweaves historical events into the lives of Inman, Ada, and other characters in the novel on multiple occasions, makes the time period crucial to the story. This has an impact that is dramatic for both. Inman struggles with this time period because he is not the only one who has left the war to go back to Ada. Many would accuse him of abandoning the war at the same time that the South started to lose. Ada is also not immune to the Civil War. The South was hard hit, both economically and otherwise, and Ada being a rural farmer, this made her life harder. Inman’s journey is filled with characters whose backstories are the culmination of Southern struggles during the Civil War. “When she heard Pistol scream, ‘That hog’s my only thing!’ she ran after him. You could just as easily kill us and knock us both in the head if you take the hog. Sara’s experience is one that all women have shared who had husbands go to war, but never return. Sara, as Ada was without Inman is left alone to raise her child. Inman kills Federals who steal Sara’s chickens, and she loses her hog. She has no other way to get food, because without her husband. Frazier makes Inman aware of how the current time period affects them. This is why he takes the actions he does. Frazier incorporates humor into Cold Mountain to create a sense of humor. The humor makes the book seem more like a comical story than a tragedy. Frazier likens his novel The Odyssey to The Odyssey because both are about a hero and their journey. Frazier used comedy in Cold Mountain, which is what makes it a mocked epic. Comedy takes away from the tragedy of the events in the story. Inman, who has been through the worst of it, and changed in unimaginable way, is then shot by a young boy, which leads to his quick death. Frazier turns this into a joke by showing how Inman, who has been through so much suffering, struggles, and strife on his journey to meet Ada, is shot by an innocent child. Frazier uses the tragedy as his main point to create comedy.
Frazier has added so many elements of comedy in this novel to the main interactions and plot points that it is no longer considered an epic or tragedy like The Odyssey but rather a mock-epic and comedy. Many critics realized this and concluded that it was more like a comic book. “I shall first demonstrate why Cold Mountain does not fit into the picaresque genre; I shall then explain how it falls under a quest narrative, namely, the spiritual quest. Lastly, I shall show that Cold Mountain’s success makes it more of a comedy than a tragedy. Frazier makes it very clear that comedy is a part of every scene and tragedy in the story. Most critics have noticed the comedy in the novel. They are particularly drawn to the “tragic” but “comedic death” of Inman at the end. Gibson thought that the novel ended with Inman’s death because he was a triumphant character and that his dying vision proved his redemption. Inman’s sudden and unimpressive death surprised them. They thought it was ironic that Inman, after enduring such a struggle throughout the novel, would die in an epic way. However, the death of Inman, which was so quick, was disappointing. The novel is characterized by a lot of comedy, which takes it away from being a true epic.
Charles Frazier explores many aspects of life and weaves them together in Cold Mountain to form the story. Frazier uses regrets and love, as well as comedy, to create a tale that has epic qualities. In the novel, love is used to motivate the story. It’s the driving force behind Inman’s journey and the choices he makes. Inman feels the effects of the Civil War most strongly in this novel. Inman, a Confederate soldier, had to endure a difficult time during the Civil War, particularly towards its end. Frazier uses many stories to show the struggles of the Civil War in the South. For this reason, the historical context of the novel is important. Frazier uses many different stories and motives to tell the story. He weaves these stories together in order to change the character of both Inman and Ada. Inman’s journey causes him to regress, while Ada advances. Frazier has them swap places in order to defy the stereotype of Cult of Domesticity.
The spiritual quest undertaken by the protagonist Inman in Cold Mountain is explored through his redemptive journey. N.p., 11 Feb. 2013. Web. May 30, 2017.
Bla Bla Essay Writing. N.p. N.p. Web. May 30, 2017