Study Guide

Cold Mountain Chapter 18

By Charles Frazier

Advertisement - Guide continues below

Chapter 18

Footsteps in the Snow

  • Back to Inman. He's at the place where the women buried Pangle, and he's trying to figure out what happened from footprints and other signs. He's pretty confused, partly because he hasn't been eating. Ten out of ten doctors agree that not eating is bad for you.
  • But Inman doesn't plan to eat until he finds Ada. If she doesn't want him, he'll go to the place where the Cherokee woman hinted the Shining Rocks would open to someone who had been fasting, welcoming people into another world.
  • Inman planned a homecoming scene with Ada. He even washed his clothes and took a bath in the cold weather. But when he got to Ada's home, only the boy from Georgia was there. Talk about your disappointments.
  • He told Inman an exaggerated version of the story of Teague attacking Stobrod and Pangle. Inman got the best directions the boy could give, and then started off.
  • Inman isn't sure what to do when he gets to the place where Stobrod was shot and finds no one there. He thinks about hope and also despair. After sleeping at the site of the shooting, Inman tries to follow the footprints to find Ada and Ruby. But he comes to a place where there are no more prints, which feels like a complete dead end.
  • Meanwhile, Ada and Ruby are caring for Stobrod. Ada sees wild turkeys, and Ruby tells her to go and see if she can shoot one. Ada objects that she's never fired a gun before. Ruby tells her how and sends her off.
  • Despite a number of misgivings, Ada shoots. To her surprise, she gets two turkeys.
  • Good news! Inman hears the shot and knows there are people around. He doesn't know it's Ada, though, so he goes with his pistol raised.
  • He sees a figure with a shotgun and thinks it's a hunter. When he realizes it's Ada, he says her name. She's confused, because she doesn't recognize him.
  • They size each other up, and it's unclear whether they'll be able to recognize each other. It's the perfect moment for heart-wrenching suspense, the kind you always see in Hollywood films before the couple gives in and kisses. But Hollywood didn't start it. Homer does it too.
  • After a breathless bit where Inman gives up and starts to leave, Ada finally recognizes him. Whew! That would have been one long journey for a near-miss at the end.
  • She takes Inman back to the abandoned Cherokee village, talking as comfortingly as possible the whole way. It may not be the Hilton, but we're betting he'll be glad to see shelter.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...