When his two nearest companions pulled away his clothes and looked at his neck, they had said him a solemn farewell in expectation of his death. We'll meet again in a better world, they said. He was classed among the dying and put aside on a cot to do so. But he failed at it. After two days, space being short, they sent him on to a regular hospital in his own state. All through the mess of the field hospital and the long grim train ride south in a boxcar filled with wounded, he had agreed with his friends and the doctors. He thought he would die. About all he could remember of the trip was the heat and the odors of blood and of shit, for many of the wounded had the flux. (Frazier, 4)
Charles Frazier's novel Cold Mountain opens with an intelligent and reserved confederate soldier named Inman lying in a Virginia hospital bed recovering from war wounds. Shattered by the violence he has witnessed while fighting in the Confederate army, Inman escapes from the Confederate hospital and journeys to his home on Cold Mountain so that he may reunite with his lover, Ada. Throughout his journey, Inman is chased by the Home Guard, drugged, shot, and dragged out of a grave by wild hogs. Just as Inman from Cold Mountain faces many troubles and setbacks on his journey home to Ada, Odysseus from Homer's epic The Odyssey faces many hardships on his journey to Ithaka. However, unlike Inman, Odysseus survives his hardships. He escapes from his duress on Kalypso's island and ventures to return to his lover, Penelope, in Ithaka, despite being warned that he was to "undergo [hardships] before getting back to [his] country" (5.12.206). Throughout his quest, Odysseus courageously and audaciously faces Helios, Zeus, the ferocious Polyphemos, and the Earth Shaker, Poseidon. In instances where Odysseus provokes the gods, Homer illustrates the inevitability of hardship on a journey.
Though he is adored by gods such as Zeus and Athena, Odysseus and his cronies...
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