Cold Mountain

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An 18-year-old woman who shelters and feeds Inman during his quest back to Black Cove. Sara is lonely—her husband, Jonathan, is dead, and she has no one to help her take care of her infant child. As a result, Sara is eager to rely on Inman for warmth and companionship—late at night, she convinces Inman to lie in bed beside her, without touching her or saying anything.

Sara Quotes in Cold Mountain

The Cold Mountain quotes below are all either spoken by Sara or refer to Sara . 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 13 Quotes

—If I was to ask you to do something, would you do it?
Inman considered that he should frame an answer here on the order of Maybe, or If I can, or some like provisional phrase.
What he said was, Yes.
—If I was to ask you to come over here and lay in bed with me but not do a thing else, could you do it?
Inman looked at her there and wondered what she saw looking back. Some dread shape filling the clothes of her husband?

Related Characters: Inman (speaker), Sara (speaker)
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Inman finds shelter in the home of a young woman named Sara. Sara has a child, but her husband--the father of the child--has been killed in the Civil War. Sara is clearly lonely and attracted to Inman, but she's also still loyal to her husband and his memory. So Sara asks Inman to lie next to her in bed. As Inman correctly guesses, Sara is trying to use Inman to "channel" a sense of her own deceased husband, whom she still loves.

It's important to notice that Inman is reluctant to play the part of a dead man--and yet he agrees to help Sara without any protest ("Yes"). When confronted with another person's trauma and grief, Inman--who has plenty of trauma and grief of his own--immediately tries to help. In general, the passage evokes the (possibly futile) ways that humans try to cope with their own sadness. Sara's request to Inman might seem bizarre, but it's the best way for her to regain some contact with a man she continues to love.

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Sara Character Timeline in Cold Mountain

The timeline below shows where the character Sara appears in Cold Mountain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13: bride bed full of blood
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
...woman offers Inman a bed and food. The woman tells Inman that her name is Sara and that she’s eighteen years old. Inman is impressed that Sara survives on her own.... (full context)
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
Inman eats the meal Sara fixes for him. At dinner, he watches Sara nurse her baby, and can’t help fixating... (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
Sara offers Inman a bed in the house, and when she shows Inman the bed, he... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
As Sara weeps next to Inman, she begins to stroke Inman’s body. She touches his scar but... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Late at night, Inman wakes up—Sara is shaking him. Sara whispers that someone’s outside, possibly the Home Guard or robbers, and... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Instead of returning to Sara, Inman decides to follow the three horsemen. He follows them on foot for several miles,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Inman leads Sara’s hog back to its home, where he finds Sara going through her usual morning routine... (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
Later, Sara sings for her baby—a strange song, more like a ballad than a lullaby. There’s a... (full context)