Study Guide

Monroe in Cold Mountain

By Charles Frazier

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Monroe, Ada's father, is already dead when the book begins. But he's an important character all the same. He's wise and kind and sophisticated and thoughtful, maybe a bit like Dumbledore. And like Dumbledore, he occasionally underestimates people who are less obviously well-educated than he is (see the character page for Esco and Sally Swanger for an example). But there's no harm meant, and Monroe is humble enough to see his mistakes and try to set things right.

Monroe has a mysterious past, though it doesn't include vanquishing any dark wizards. It does include a dramatic romance, though. He met Ada's mother by accident as a young man and fell instantly in love with her. He courted her and planned an awesome surprise proposal. But on the very night that he was going to propose, he saw her passionately kissing someone else! Heartbreak. She married the other guy and went off to live in France, and Monroe tried desperately to recover.

Fast-forward sixteen years. The man Ada's mother previously married has died after an unhappy marriage, and Monroe meets her again. This time it works, and they have a few years of happy marriage before she dies giving birth to Ada. Monroe is crushed again, but he decides to throw himself into caring for his daughter.

There's one other way Monroe is like Dumbledore. The way he describes the world is one way that other characters learn about it. In Dumbledore's role as a teacher and headmaster and Monroe's role as a preacher, they both give speeches about how the world works from time to time. Other characters may not always agree, but they learn from the speeches and use them as a way to interpret the world. Ada remembers Monroe's words and uses them as a springboard to understand the world better.

Monroe in Cold Mountain Study Group

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