Cold Mountain

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Junior is arguably the most unambiguously evil character in the novel—a two-faced hypocrite and possible cannibal who sells out Inman and Solomon Veasey to the Home Guard, breaking the unwritten rules of hospitality in the process. While our knowledge of Junior is limited, we know that he married a white woman, Lila, who bore him half-black children, suggesting that she took another lover. In addition to Junior’s evident racism and domestic abuse, it’s suggested that he eats human beings whom he murders. There’s no hint of a redeeming quality in Junior, and it’s hard to muster much sympathy when Inman takes his revenge on him.

Junior Quotes in Cold Mountain

The Cold Mountain quotes below are all either spoken by Junior or refer to Junior . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Grove Press edition of Cold Mountain published in 2006.
Chapter 9 Quotes

—Come eat supper with us, the man said. And we've a hayloft that's good for sleeping.
—Only if you'll take that saw off our hands, Inman said to the man.
—I expect two dollars federal. Fifty in state scrip, Veasey said, perking up.
—Take it on, Inman said. No fee.

Related Characters: Inman (speaker), Solomon Veasey (speaker), Junior (speaker)
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Frazier shows us the informal system of bartering that holds together American Southern society during the Civil War. Inman and Solomon help a stranger, Junior, move a heavy load. In return, Junior offers to let Inman and Solomon stay at his house--and Inman completes the transaction by giving Junior a valuable saw he's obtained during his travels. While Veasey selfishly wants to profit from the exchange by bringing paper money into the matter, Inman "correctly" allows Junior to keep the saw without any further payment--they're "square."

In the absence of reliable currency or a reliable system of government, the rules of bartering and trade were of vital importance to the United States (particularly in the South). Throughout the novel, Inman must trade his possessions for food and shelter, and this scene is no exception. Furthermore, notice that Inman's status as an honorable man--a worthy protagonist for the novel--is confirmed in the instant that he performs a fair transaction (the saw in exchange for shelter). By the same token, Solomon's status as a corrupt character is confirmed when he selfishly tries to make extra money from the trade. By and large, the "good" characters in the novel are those who abide by the rules of hospitality and quid pro quo.

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Junior raised up his face and looked at him but seemed not to recognize him. 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.

Related Characters: Inman , Junior
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:

Inman has been ambushed by the Home Guard, and it's revealed that they were in cahoots with Junior, the man who offered Inman a place to sleep at night. The Home Guard tries to kill Inman, but Inman manages to escape. To avenge his near-death, Inman returns to Junior's property and beats Junior over the head with his rifle, perhaps killing him.

Does Inman do the "right" thing here? Junior has violated the most basic code of Southern society at the time--the code of hospitality. There's an unwritten law that a host must offer lodgings to travelers in need, provided that the traveler can provide some kind of service or trade in exchange (Inman gave Junior a saw, sealing the transaction). By violating the terms of their deal (i.e., turning Inman over to the Home Guard) Junior proves himself to be a villain, below all contempt or sympathy.

Whether or not one agrees that Junior "deserves" his beating, it's important to note that Inman seems to be giving in to his desire for blood and violence. Long months of serving in the Civil War have left Inman deeply scarred and with a mind still full of violence--and he gives in to this violence when avenging Junior's crimes.

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Junior Character Timeline in Cold Mountain

The timeline below shows where the character Junior appears in Cold Mountain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9: to live like a gamecock
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
...from the stream, happy to be done with their work. The man introduces himself as Junior, and he “entertains” Inman and Veasey with stories of having had sex with married women... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Junior takes Inman and Veasey to his house, where he offers them food and coffee. At... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
...offers him a strong drink, which Inman accepts, and she tells him about how once Junior killed a man out of anger. She goes on to name other occasions when Junior... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Junior stands over Inman and Lila, pointing a gun right at Inman’s head. He marches Inman... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
...pay the slave for his help, but then realizes that his possessions are back on Junior’s property. (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
The chapter cuts ahead a few nights: Inman is standing outside Junior’s house, preparing to sneak inside. He throws a bone to a dog to distract in,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
The next day, Inman is still walking along the road, away from Junior. He sees a flock of crows flying above him, and notices that they’re circling close... (full context)