Cold Mountain Study Guide

Cold Mountain By Charles Frazier

Cold Mountain opens with Inman, a Confederate solider stationed near Raleigh, NC, is recovering from a recent battle wound. He is homesick and tired of fighting, so he sneaks out and sets out westward, planning on walking the 250 miles to him home in Cold Mountain, NC.

Every odd chapter is about Inman, and every even chapter tell of Ada Monroe, a minister's daughter who recently moved to Cold Mountain from the genteel city of Charleston. The two barely met before the war called Inman away, but it is the hope of seeing Ada again that propels Inman toward his home.

At Cold Mountain, Ada's father dies, and the farm that Ada lives on, Black Cove, falls into a state of disrepair. Ruby, a strong worker with no home of her own, moves in with Ada and teaches her how to get by in this new environment.

At Cold Mountain, Ada's father soon dies, and the farm that the genteel city-bred Ada lives on, named Black Cove, is soon reduced to a state of disrepair. A young woman named Ruby, homeless but a stronger worker than Ada and resourceful, soon moves in. She is capable of hard work and not only helps Ada clean the place up and return it to productivity, but teaches her what she must know to survive in this very different environment.

Inman avoids the Home Guard, who hunt deserters, and stumbles upon Veasey, a preacher who is about to murder his pregnant lover. Veasey is dissuaded by Inman and decides to travel with him. They are promptly captured by the Home Guard, who decide to shoot them. Veasey is killed, but Inman survives and crawls out of the shallow grave they dug for him.

From there, Inman faces starvation, highwaymen, and citizens in need of help. He cleverly helps one woman retrieve a hog that Union soldiers had taken from her, and in karmic exchange, receives medical attention and advice from another woman.

Meanwhile, at Black Cove, Ruby's father Stobrod is caught stealing, falls in with some deadbeats, and ends up getting shot by the Home Guard. He survives, but Ada, Ruby, and Stobrod escape into the mountains and set up camp to help him recover.

Inman finds Black Cove empty and sets out to find Ada. When he finally finds her, they don't recognize each other because each has changed so much in the interim. They reintroduce themselves, rapidly connect with each other, and make love.

On the way back to Black Cove, the Home Guard finds them, and a shoot out commences that results in Inman's death. Ada learns that she is pregnant with Inman's child, and raises her at Black Cove with Stobrod and Ruby.

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