Cold Mountain : the Civil War

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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...
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