Study Guide

Cold Mountain Freedom

By Charles Frazier

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Freedom! Painting your face blue, fighting for your beloved Scotland, winning academy awards—oops, wrong movie.

What does freedom mean, anyway? The South is supposed to be fighting for freedom from the Union, but they're fighting against freeing slaves. And Inman doesn't have much freedom as a soldier in the Confederate army. He wants a different freedom. Does that mean freedom from conflict, freedom to heal from the horrors of war, freedom to explore ideas, freedom to live quietly with the land? Freedom seems to mean a lot of things in Cold Mountain.

Questions About Freedom

  1. What would it take for Inman to be free from the pain that dominates his life after his crushing war experiences? Is it possible, and how?
  2. What's it mean to have a free mind? Is that just something they put on college applications? Or is there a real way to have peace of mind that lets us explore what we care about? How might Inman achieve it?
  3. No one's chasing down Ada and trying to draft her for the war. Is she free? What would freedom be for her?
  4. Inman keeps coming back to the story the old Cherokee woman told him about escaping into another world. What does that story say about freedom?

Chew on This

Inman can't ever be completely free of his war experiences, but he can come to a kind of freedom that takes them into account and allows him to live fully in spite of them.

Ada is freer when she's hard at work on the farm than when she's at society parties in Charleston. Even if they do have three-day sleepovers with no work to do back in town.

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