Study Guide

Cold Mountain Chapter 1

By Charles Frazier

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Chapter 1

The Shadow of a Crow

  • Our hero Inman wakes up in the early morning, and we discover that he's got a big wound on his neck, and some flies are buzzing around it. Hmm. This sounds bad. Turns out, he's in the hospital. At least he's not dead.
  • Our protagonist is waiting for sunrise. He thinks back to his childhood, and we find out that he's pretty apprehensive about how the whole future is shaping up. Incidentally, he's been in the hospital through the whole of late summer. No wonder he's not so cheery at the moment.
  • His roommates start waking up, and we find out that they're in tough shape. We also learn that Inman was wounded outside Petersburg, and that everyone thought he was going to die. Improbably, he's made it this long, and it actually seems like he's getting better.
  • Inman can now walk, so he goes to talk to a blind man who sells peanuts outside the hospital. The blind man listens to his story, and we learn about the battles Inman has experienced and the tragedies he's seen.
  • Inman walks into town and experiences fear because his legs seem strong. What? That sounds like a good sign, doesn't it? Turns out, the army is planning to ship him right back out to fight as soon as he's well enough, and Inman doesn't want to go.
  • Just to make things a little tenser, Inman also reads a notice in the newspaper saying that deserters will be hunted down by the Home Guard. Not so great for someone who doesn't want to go back to the fighting.
  • He writes Ada Monroe a letter, saying he will somehow get home again, and saying he's not quite sure where they stand. He remembers her sitting in his lap and placing her head on his shoulder before the war, but he's afraid everything he's done in the war would make her think twice about him now.
  • That night, Inman climbs out of his window. Where's he going? The book doesn't say just yet (this book doesn't say a lot of things), but we're betting it's Cold Mountain.

Cold Mountain Chapter 1 Study Group

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