Themes in Cold Mountain

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  • Topic: Novel, Cold Mountain
  • Pages : 4 (1455 words )
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  • Published : April 24, 2005
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In Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier describes the epic journey home of wounded Confederate soldier Inman from Petersburg to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Inman's physical voyage home is paralleled by the mental journey made by his sweetheart, Ada, in her transformation from ‘city girl' into ‘mountain woman'. The story is woven around the experiences of Inman and Ada trying to rebuild their lives from the desperation and disaster of the war, all the while trying to find a way to see each other again--whilst they are so far apart. It also blends the horrors of war into their current lives, and the corruption that has scarred them forever. Inman and Ada's respective ordeals help develop the themes of war, homeland, women and children which this essay aims to reveal. The motivation behind Inman's desertion, when he "set his foot on the sill and stepped out of the window", is not an issue that Frazier ever invites his readers to question. Having been surrounded by the dying, having witnessed the horrors of the first industrialized war which pitted countryman against countryman through the eyes of Inman, one feels deep sympathy. The horrifying battle scenes further add to the sense of the impermanence of escape offered by the war: "The fighting was in the way of a dream, one where you foes are ranked against you countless and mighty. And you are weak. And yet they fall and keep falling until they are crushed." Frazier's somber cataloging of the horrors of war creates enormous sympathy for his protagonist's desertion, making it eminently justifiable. Inman's disinterest in the issues of the war serves to show the lie of the common soldier's involvement in the war. Frazier would posit that it is the job of the common soldier just to die, and in the most inhuman way possible: "Inman could hear the firing, but also the slaps of balls into meat. A man near Inman grew so excited, or perhaps so weary, that he forgot to pull the ramrod from his barrel. He fired it off and it struck...
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