Sample Literature Research Paper on Cold Mountain

Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain provides the details about the long journey home of Inman, a Civil War Soldier to Cold Mountain in North Carolina. At the beginning of the story, Inman is in a military hospital where he is recovering from a neck injury. This is following the effects of the battle where he received a difficult to heal wound. He is depicted as a moral man whose mindset is affected by the killing and brutality that he witnessed during the war. He decides to leave the hospital on his own volition, and he secretly travels to meet Ada, the woman he loves. This research paper will assess the effects of the journey to Cold Mountain and its effects on Inman and Ada’s journey to self-realization and love.

From the book, it is evidence that the trip is terrifying considering that the protagonist, Inman, not only faces difficulties such as near starvation and pain from the difficult to heal wound, he is also subjected to cruelty from the people that he meets along the way. Despite these difficulties, there are also instances where he is lucky to meet compassionate people such as the goat woman who provided a cure for his neck injury (Frazier 17). Intertwined with the protagonist’s story is Ada whose preacher father dies and she is left unable to satisfy her basic needs. She is, however, fortunate to meet Ruby, a self-reliant woman who comes to Ada’s farm and helps her in transforming the farm and her personality. Form the experiences of the characters in the book, it is evident that there are numerous ways through which individuals can realize self-nourishment. Physical nourishment, which includes precise descriptions of food in terms of its preparation and paucity, can help in enhancing the physical well-being of individuals. There are also nonphysical aspects of nourishments, which include the approaches that the characters use in relating tone another. These are outlined through the themes of love, generosity, addressing spiritual questions and intellectual curiosity (Gale 23). From the book, it is also evident that Cold Mountain is also a type of nourishment because for the protagonist and Ada it is their source of hope and shelter. It is also a place where Inman sees that he can get love and forgives despite the savagery of his actions during the Civil War.

Through the perilous journey that both main characters, Ada and Inman, experiences, it is possible to assert that they were on a journey towards self-knowledge. They are in a journey of discovering who they really are after all they ever knew is destroyed by the Civil war. Inman, for instance, grew up in Cold Mountain environment that was defined by clean air. Before the war, he is depicted as a hardworking, hopeful, and quiet man (Gale 19). However, the horrors of the Civil War turned him into a spiritually dead man, and he is left wondering whether he would ever regain his attribute of a good man that he once was, a man who would be worthy of the love of Ada Monroe. It is the desire of self-discovery that leads him in a quest towards Cold Mountain. From his experiences during the journey, it is evident that he was being tested for his moral fortitude. He emerges with his moral compass intact. It is through his sense of justice that he succeeds and survives different encounters with swindlers and thieves such as Junior and Veasey (Frazier180). From his interactions with the people he meets during his quest to Cold Mountain, Inman emerges as a compassionate man. This is evidenced when he helps the widow, Sara, a bereaved mother following the war. His compassionate attribute is also depicted when he helps others who are involved in constant struggles while trying to make sense of the war. He is also appreciative of the beauty of nature despite enduring a rough terrain, snow, heat, and rain during his quest to Cold Mountain.

Making sense of his personality after the war required the long journey to Cold Mountain because it would provide him with the opportunity of understanding and appreciating the beauty of life and the benefits of helping others to cope with their problems. It was also an opportunity for learning to appreciate the problems that he was facing because there was other in the community who were facing problems that are more serious. this explains why when he arrives at Cold Mountain he is sure that he can restore himself to the person he was before the war and he was worthy of the love of Ada.

The author uses the lives of Ada and Inman to give details of two separate coming to age stories that culminate in a single love story. Inman’s journey to Cold Mountain is the first coming of age story, which in the view of the author is not only physical but also a spiritual journey. Inman is using the journey as a way of coming to terms with the meaning and purpose of his life. Inasmuch as it may be relatively easier to claim that Ada Monroe is the reason for his being, the author tries to depict Inman who has lost is lost in purpose, despite Cold mountain and Ada remaining his ultimate goal (Frazier 50). Inman fails to take his place as the soldier who does not know the objective of the war, his journey does not lead him to answer questions about the war, but it leads him to find answers to the questions that he asks along the way (Frazier 71-73). The author does not directly address, criticize, or praise religion and philosophy throughout Inman’s journey but these themes present himself or herself on his road to self-discovery (Gale 20). From the novel, it is evident that Veasey represents a facet of religious thoughts that are in opposition to Inman’s beliefs. Inman is keen to discover a new perspective of religion as he remembers with fondness the religious tales that his American Indian friend, Swimmer, often told him.

Ada Monroe’s journey is the second coming of age story. Her journey unlike Inman’s is not physical or overtly spiritual but is defined by an evolution from the life of leisure and education into a life defined by an appreciation of natural things, survival, and physical labor. Whereas the desire to go home serves as the internal catalyst that defines Inman’s journey, Ada, after the death of her father is compelled to accept the power of external influences in transforming her life (Gale 22). The external influence, which is defined by the presence of Ruby, is representative of Mother Nature. Ruby becomes her teacher and friend who provide her with companionship and vital lessons for coping with life despite the difficulties that she may be facing. It is through her transformation and evolution that Ada is successful in finding the joy that life promises after she sheds materialism that defined her previous life. The Ada Monroe who receives Inman when he arrives at Cold Mountain is not a southern belle but a reformed woman whose ability and capacity can be demonstrated in her strength and wisdom.

An essential thematic area that Frazier focuses on is the scope of human knowledge. From the characters in Cold Mountain, it is evident that human beings will always seek knowledge from different channels such as religious teachings, books, folkshore, natural history, and myths among other channels. It is also evident that the characters in possession of hands-on intuitive knowledge that emerge as most enlightened. Inman acknowledges the essence of the teachings in the ancient beliefs among the Cherokee, and he uses these beliefs in fixing the reality of Cold Mountain in his mind. This steers him towards realizing his purpose and meaning in life (Gale 15). Through his quest for knowledge, he finds answers to questions regarding his personality and his purpose. It is also notable that it is by using his practical knowledge that he succeeds in staying in course whenever he thinks of getting involved in activities such as theft through associating with people who have lost their way and meaning in life such as Veasey.

From the perspective of Frazier (112, 308), the process of acquiring true and relevant knowledge begins when we question the sources and relevance of the knowledge that an individual possesses. This is exemplified through the character of Ada, who after her father’s death she begins questioning his use of books and philosophy in understanding the world. Through this process of interrogating knowledge, she finds relevant answers to the question, “Who am I.” Her source of knowledge is astrology because her answers are derived from the changing seasons and the shifting sun. She also acquires knowledge through simple acts such as placing her hand on the ground to feel the earth (Gale 25). The process of identifying and appreciating her personality through nature as her source of knowledge helps her in finding peace of mind, which she never had, in her previous life.

Frazier uses the character of Ruby is explaining the essence of intuition and spiritual connection to nature. It is through her experiences that Ada learns that knowledge derived from books cannot be used in handling hands-on activities such as planting crops and animal husbandry (Frazier 289). From her teachings, Ada learns that it is only through practical experiences that an individual can claim to know who he or she is.

Frazier’s Cold Mountain is a book that seeks to uncover the issues related to the quest for self-discovery through a love story between Ada and Inman. Philosophy, religion, love, and empathy emerge as the major aspects that an individual faces when dealing with personal and social issues. It is through his experience during the war and his journey to Cold Mountain that Inman rediscovers his identity. The death of Ada’s father and the introduction of Ruby in her life help her in gaining strength and wisdom for her future life.

Works Cited

Frazier, Charles. Cold Mountain. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.

Gale, Cengage L. Study Guide for Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain. Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, n.d.. Print.