Cold Mountain: The Civil War The Civil War was a four year armed conflict between northern and southern sections of the United States. The Civil War cost more American lives than any other war in history. There were bout 3 million people who fought in the beginning of the Civil War and about 600, 000 people's lives were lost at the end of the war. What began for many as a romantic adventure soon became a heartbreaking bitter struggle between the two parts of a divided country. This, however, was more than the industrial North fighting against the agricultural South.
There were divided families with brother fighting brother. Some Northerners joined the Southern ranks and some Southerners were in the Union army, each fighting for what he thought was right. The most obvious causes of the Civil War were the issues of states' rights and slavery. Hundreds of books, movies, and documentaries have been published on the Civil War. One of them was written by Charles Frazier called Cold Mountain.
The novel focuses on the life during the Civil War. Cold Mountain captures some of the spirit and reality of the Civil War. Many people contributed their time, effort and lives in the Civil War. The main character, Inman, walks away from a hospital for Confederate wounded at the start of the book and is constantly on the move, meeting odd and dangerous characters, even a Circe. Beginning with Inman's decision to leave the hospital where he has been recovering from a near fatal neck wound which turns him into a deserter, or an "outlier." As a fugitive, Inman must take back roads and obscure footpaths, always hiding from the murderous Home Guards. Inman is sickened by the wanton waste of young lives on the battle field and torn between the traditional conflict of valor and cowardice.
In the field hospital, the injured Confederate private witnesses the brutality of both sides in the most bloody of American armed struggles, the War Between the States. Emotionally shaken, Inman realizes that he will return to the front and possible death as soon as he is well. He watches men on both sides ordered to charge into lethal barrages of gunfire and cannon shot, only to fall after a few precious steps. On more than one occasion, he is forced to kill.
Inman is haunted by nightmares of bloody battles at Malvern Hill, Sharpsburg, Petersburg and Fredericksburg, which Frazier described in unflinching, horrific detail. Inman said that "he believed the scene would never leave his mind-wall, blind man, tree, cart, road, -no matter how far on he lived (8)." Once a happy, handsome country boy, Inman has become hardened, cynical, burned out. He feels he has lost his soul and is thus unworthy of the worldly yet innocent Ada. Inman seeks solace in memories of home, where "morning on the high bald were crisp, with fog lying in the valleys so that the peaks rose from its disconnected like steep blue islands scattered across a pale sea (19)." Fundamentally changed by the harm that he's seen men perpetuate on their brothers, Inman soon deserts, setting out on foot towards Cold Mountain and Ada, the woman that he loves. Ada Monroe was the pampered daughter of a Charleston minister, Monroe. Sheltered by her father, who came to Cold Mountain to minister to the "heathen's," she is unprepared for his death.
Like any lowland lady, she reads well, play the piano, and can plan parties. She knows not to plant, or sow, or reap. She comes very close to starving on her lovely mountain farm before Ruby comes walking up her lane. Ada's savior is a scrawny mountain girl with will and work ethic for them both. She came to work the land with Ada, saying. ."..
if I'm to help you here, it's with both us knowing that everybody empties their own night jar (68)." Ruby forces Ada off the porch rocker and into the fields. Through days of weeding, planting, and butchering, the book wise Ada becomes "increasingly covetous of Ruby's learning in the ways of living things inhabited this particular place ()." Different in so many ways, Ruby and Ada slowly forge a singular friendship and an inseparable team. Ada is the woman that Inman loves and he has deserted the army to come back home to Ada. When she first met Inman, she hardly noticed him, but when Inman was invited to a party, things changed for Ada and Inman. Ada began to noticed Inman, and soon they met very frequently. It is a very sad good bye for Ada when the war started and Inman had to leave.
Since Ada was close to Inman before the war started she thinks about him a lot. Ruby had a horrible past. Her father, Stobrod, didn't care for her when she was a child and her mother died when she was an infant. Ruby had to care for herself a lot of times when she was a child, because her father was never there for her.
When she is a grown woman, she lives by herself because her father was in the war. She learned how to be more independent and started her life again by going to Ada's home to help her, because the Swingers said that Ada needed some help. Ruby is an energetic and hard working young woman. She helped Ada manage the farm and becomes a very close friend of Ada's.
Stobrod is Ruby's father. He doesn't care for Ruby at all. He cares more for his fiddle than for his own daughter. Stobrod loves to drink and loves entertainment.
He would leave Ruby all by herself for days when he heard there were dances going on at some area. When the Civil War started, Stobrod enlisted in the army and left Ruby to tend for herself. The war helped him find himself. Inman had once said every man has one talent, all they need to do is find it. Stobrod found that his talent was playing the fiddle when he was called to go play for the girl while he was in the army. At first he only knew six tunes, but then the girl told to make up some more and he comes to realize that he had the ability to compose music other than just those that he knew.
Stobrod deserted the army and hid with other deserters up in Cold Mountain playing the fiddle... Teague is the leader of a Home Guard group. He and his men go out everywhere looking for anyone that left the war, deserters. He was a legal outlaw because he killed every single deserters instead of bringing them back to the war.
Monroe was a minister and a very well educated businessman. He was a very caring and loving father towards Ada because he was always there for her when she needed him. Everything that she wanted, he gave her. He was a trader who lost his money because of the war, (... ." at arm's length the war, the embargo, the various other expressions of hard times, and their effect on Ada's income... (61)," which left Ada nothing when he died.
Goat woman is an old lady that takes care of goats, and had been far away from the human world. She meets Inman while she is doing something to a bird trap. The goat woman takes care of Inman for a few days and helped heal his neck wound from the battle and from the wandering Home Guard. Charles Frazier had a very different way of narrating a story about the Civil War. Usually when people think of the word war, they think of it as people killing people or something more brutal.
But instead, Charles Frazier focused his novel on how the war affected the lives of the people during the war. It was a very realistic novel because his characters were not all heroes, they were ordinary people with struggles and problems that they have to deal with and adapt to. Frazier did an excellent job by recapturing the war and how it affected those people who lived in Cold Mountain.