Cold Mountain: Literary Analysis

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In Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Inman is characterized by personification which highlights the complex situation of man vs society he is going through throughout the story. ​Frazier characterizes Inman by using literary elements such as personification and detail to show his battle between him and his internal fear and complex situation. The use of detail and personification reflect Inman’s character and his internal conflict with society.

The use of personification sets the whole mood for the story. The house is described as “[sitting] toadlike down in its swale, and the windows were all black” (Frazier 1). ​In Inman’s experience, the house is like the sadness he holds within. The house indirectly characterizes how Inman feels in the moment while portraying his internal doubt and fear. The black windows show he isn’t welcoming society to himself. The internal battle Inman is facing reflects onto the house by personification and imagery.

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Detail plays a major role in how Imman is seen by the readers when Frazier incorporates the details by stating how “Inman [stepped] to Junior and struck him across the ear with the barrel of the LeMat’s and then clubbed at him with the butt until he lay flat on his back. There was no movement out of him but for the bright flow of blood which ran from his nose and cuts to his head and the corners of his eyes” (Frazier 1). The detail in this quote portrays Inman’s internal conflict and violent side of himself. His fear leads him to acting on the violence built up in him. Inman uses his violence only if he needs to. The detail displayed in the paragraph reflects Inman’s vicious thoughts and actions which later leads to a complex situation and internal conflict.

Throughout the short story, Inman’s conscience guides his actions. The detail of and man’s violent nature conveys his frustration because he’s needing to let out his built-up anger through violence. Frasier wants to show that Inman’s complex situation of the fear of society is resulting in harmful behaviour, portraying his character as violent and harmful. Inman’s character is being portrayed through literary techniques and detail by showing the readers his internal struggle relating to his surroundings. Frazier characterizes Inman to be paranoid but he is willing to resort to violence if necessary. The detail being used while he “struck junior across the ear” characterizes how Inman uses his anger in fear of society. Reflecting on the personification of the house “sitting toadlike”, displaying Inman’s internal struggle. The actions of Inman results to display man vs society by using literary elements to characterize Inman’s complex situation.


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