Main Characters and their Connections to Nature: Charles Frazier’s Novel Cold Mountain

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Main Characters and their Connections to Nature Charles Frazier’s novel Cold Mountain takes place during the time of the civil war. However, instead mainly focuses on each character and the life lessons they learn throughout the story. As the novel progresses we the characters go through different arduous journeys. The novel Cold Mountain is made up of two separate journeys occurring at the same time that eventually come together at the end. Frazier’s characters, Ada and Inman are well aware of the nature around them and adapt it to their daily lives.

One of the few protagonists that is greatly affected by nature is Inman. Due to the fact that he is surrounded by the outdoors at all times he is able to realize and understand the beauty that nature holds and tries to absorb as much of it as he can. Inman is surrounded by nature the moment he escapes from the hospital. He even carries along his Bartram, a book which is filled with poems and stories all related to the topic of nature. One passage in Cold Mountain expresses Inman’s appreciation for the Bartram. “He told her how it helped sustain him on his journey.

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He shared with her his view that the book stood nigh to holiness” (Frazier 415). As seen in this passage it is clear the Bartram helps Inman get through hard times. He also finds the book very comforting and soothing. Inman became a much stronger man and more down to earth after this journey back home. During his journey, Inman had seen nature as either a positive or negative thing throughout his journey back. Nature was the reason Inman survived the journey. It gave him a place to protect himself from the cold and harsh weather. But not only the weather but also the home guards that were on the lookout.

A good example of this is shown in this passage. Nature had given him everything he needed on his way back to Ada. It gives him food, gives him landmarks to follow, and directions on which way to go in order to get back. It also helps Inman better understand dreams he is having and what he thinks of certain things such as animals. “In the final dream he was shot by hunters. He was strung from a tree by a rope about and skinned. The dreams had run their course, one he might observe that it would be on the order of sin for him to kill on one matter what the expense” (Frazier 352).

During his journey nature has been there to comfort him when he felt uneasy or upset. In times when he was desperate he looks to the sky and believes that one day him and Ada would be reunited and live together. Nature is one of the only things that helps Inman continue traveling towards his home rather than just stop and quit right then and there. But there has to be some kind of limit to the positive things nature brought. After all the good things nature brings for Inman and how much it helps him out in his times of need while traveling there were some down sides to it.

Sometimes when Inman is in need of the nature that brings him safety and hope it becomes cruel. Just as henears the end of his journey home snow begins to fall, making it difficult for Inman to follow Ada and Ruby’s footsteps. “This time it was really snow in flakes, falling slantwise so thick it made Inman dizzy. The tracks began fading off like twilight as the snow filled them. ”(Frazier 398). At some point even the insects become a problem for Inman. “The sun climbed the sky and turned hot, and all the insects in the world seemed to find Inman’s bodily fluids fascinating. (Frazier 72) The other protagonist, Ada, also came to have a strong relationship with nature. She starts out as being a sophisticated young lady who receives education beyond her years. Although she learns so much in almost every subject she knows nothing about nature or surviving on oneself. But as the book progresses she begins to understand nature and how it works. After her father, Monroe passes away she begins to do things she has never imagined herself doing, in order to survive. Because of her father’s beliefs she had been kept away from the work that needs to be done to survive.

When Monroe dies she is forced to learn and do things she never imagines to go on living. Sometime after her father dies she met Ruby. Without her Ada does not have had a single chance of surviving. From Ruby she learns a whole lot more than most people ever can. It could have been because she was so eager to learn to do all the things that needed to be done. Ada learns to do all the things that need to be done on a farm if one wants to go on living. It must be very tiring since she isn’t used to doing any kind of physical labor but nonetheless it is very rewarding.

Nature makes Ada a lot more open minded about things she would have normally looked down on before. It even makes her more open to the people she becomes friends with. For example, if Ada’s dad had still been alive when she met Ruby, she would have thought of her as someone who she shouldn’t be friends with. But through nature she realizes that there is still much to learn from people that are so much different than you. Ruby, being left to fend for herself as a child makes her grow up incredibly fast. She also grows up knowing much of nature.

She is able to understand the concepts of nature and how it worked. Ruby spends her days cutting wood, hunting, and planting crops for food. Her daily life is basically centered on nature. “In Ruby’s mind, everything-setting fence posts, making sauerkraut, killings hogs fell under the rule of the heavens. ”(Frazier 134). She knew all of the secrets and tricks of how to live with nature. Ruby is very open minded in understanding how nature works. Since she was a small child she learned that she didn’t need to be afraid of nature.

Instead she learns that she needs to accept it and realize all of the good that can come out of it and what it can teach you. “It was Ruby’s opinion that if a person puzzled all this out over time, she might also find a lesson somewhere in it, for much of creation worked by such method and to such ends”(Frazier 139). Stobrod, Ruby’s dad is at first introduced and made to seem as a horrible dad with no purpose in life but to cause trouble and has absolutely no relationship with nature like the other characters.

But later on the thing that changes him is indeed nature. Sometime while he is away from Ruby he discovers the fiddle. Stobrod sings and writes songs, and it is through these songs that he comes to look at nature as a beautiful thing. “Stobrod delivered it with such utter faith in its substance, in its ability to lead one toward a better life. Ada wished there were a way to capture what she was hearing so it could be held in reserve for the benefit of a future whose residents might again need access to what it stood for. (Frazier 337-338) In Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain every character is somehow affected by nature, it didn’t matter how big or small their role was. It did not matter who they were or where they were from. Nor did it matter what kind of situation they were in. Whether their everyday life revolves around it or if they simply became a better person because of it, every character has a very close relationship with nature in some way or another. Works Cited Frazier, Charles. Cold Mountain. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 1997. Print.

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