Cold Mountain Literary Elements

Cold Mountain Literary Elements


A novel

Setting and Context

South America, mid-19th century

Narrator and Point of View

The author uses the third-person narration. But the story seems to be told by its two main protagonists: the author always describes their visions of the events, their inner worlds, their feelings.

Tone and Mood

The novel is written in neutral mood. However, there are some moments which the author describes vividly and emotionally. Thus he highlights them among others, making the reader pay attention to them, making them more important.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonists of the story are Ada, Inman, Ruby and some other characters who struggle against war, and the antagonists are the war itself, and its supporters, militaries.

Major Conflict

The major conflict takes place between those people who struggle against war, and their enemies – militaries, who stand on the side of this war. Though the war ends (it seems that it must be happy-end in the story), one of the main characters, Inman, is killed. So the final of this conflict is not completely monosemantic.


The culmination of the story is that moment, when Inman comes back home. He and Ada spend happy time together, but in few days Inman is killed. After this moment the life of other protagonists changes greatly.


The author warns to stop the war, he shows its consequences: war brings death (as for Inman), misfortune (for Ada), loss of close people (Ada lost Inman).


The author uses this method, intentionally “simplifying” Ruby’s character, making it too straightforward and primitive, to contrast her more clearly with another protagonist – Ada.




Mostly used in depiction of war scenes, and nature.


The author sometimes uses this method to contrast some things in an especially vivid manner. Once Inman, going in the forest, sees a priest (Veasey), who is going to kill a woman, whom he has dishonoured before. Thus the author shows the inner essence of this man – he’s not true religious man.


The plot of the story is divided into two main “streams”: one describes Ada’s life, and the other Inman’s life. These parallel lines are intertwined with their common memories, moments of life.

Metonymy and Synecdoche



The author often uses this method, making the narration more emotional and alive. For example, he writes about a heron, that is a lonely exile: it’s depicted as so “anthropoid” that this description seems to be written about a man.

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