Cold Mountain: Frasiers Archetypal Journey Essay

1229 words - 5 pages

The archetype of the journey is seen in Charles Frazier’s novel Cold Mountain, most clearly through experience Inman has wandering back to Cold Mountain. The journey archetype sends the hero in search of some truth to restore order and harmony to the land. The journey often includes the series of trials and tribulations the hero faces along the way. Usually the hero descends into a real or psychological hell and is forced to discover the blackest truths. Once the hero is at his lowest level, he must accept personal responsibility to return to the world of the living. Inman’s trip fits this description very well in some ways and not in others. It could be said that Inman’s search for truth is his desire to be back home. He has been disillusioned by the war. He saw horrible scenes daily and fought for his life. By coming home to Ada and his mundane life is a welcome constant for him in a world he has recently determined to be wild. He believed that once he had reached his destination, order in his personal world and soul could begin to return to normal. In accordance with the definitions of the archetype journey, Inman goes through a great deal angst and tribulations. He has practically starved many times, been mugged, and fired upon. This strife is culminated when he his betrayed and shanghaied, marched nearly to death, then shot and left for dead. He is buried with a thin layer of dirt in a mass grave, and spends half a day under ground with the dead. This is his low point, his personal hell. At this point he even considers not uncovering himself and allowing the easy death to occur. For such a logical and even headed man this is particularly extreme thought. But he eventually finds the will power to hoist himself out of the grave to once again take up road. Finally he gets to the house and restores order to his metaphysical kingdom, coming to terms with many of his thoughts. Ada goes through a more mental archetypal journey. She has to find manageable independence, an aspect development of which she had always been deprived. Her low point was at the beginning of the book when she realized that she no longer had the money that once had enabled a work-free life style. At the beginning, she has no idea what to do or what she even wants. Once Ruby comes, she begins to come to important self-realization about the pettiness of her past life and how she is no longer able to return. Once she has done this, she is able to rely upon herself and can be secure in doing so.
Inman says that theirs is a time and place without law. In such times secular anarchy, a sense of personal responsibility must come into play. In such lawless times, when there is no one to administer justice, morality and ethical responsibility take center stage. In Cold Mountain the Ten Commandments and the seven deadly sins play a great role in identifying the moral boundaries. When the book begins and we first are introduced to Ruby, we have a picture painted of a filthy immoral man...

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