Cold Mountain

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Solomon Veasey Character Analysis

A dimwitted, immoral priest whom Inman meets while Veasey is literally dragging a young woman (Laura) through the road. Solomon has authority in his community because he’s a “man of God,” but he squanders this authority by betraying his priestly vows of chastity and having sex with Laura. As a result, he’s chased out of town. Alone in the world, Solomon joins with Inman, much to Inman’s annoyance. While Solomon (much like Stobrod Thewes) is a despicable character in many ways, his desire to start a new life is rather poignant—and so his death at the hands of the Home Guard is still tragic in its own way.

Solomon Veasey Quotes in Cold Mountain

The Cold Mountain quotes below are all either spoken by Solomon Veasey or refer to Solomon Veasey . 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 5 Quotes

—Listen to me, Laura, he said. That preacher does not speak for God. No man does. Go back to sleep and wake up in the morning with me just a strong dream urging you to put him behind you. He means you no good. Set your mind on it.

Related Characters: Inman (speaker), Solomon Veasey , Laura
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, Inman encounters a corrupt priest, Solomon, who has kidnapped a girl, Laura, whom he'd previously impregnated. Fearing that Laura's life is in danger, Inman fights Solomon and brings Laura back to her home. After Inman returns Laura home, he gives her some advice--don't trust Solomon, or any other man who claims to speak on behalf of God.

Inman's advice to Laura is important for a number of reasons. First, it reflects his disillusionment with the institutions of antebellum America--the same institutions that have sent him to fight in the Civil War and be gravely wounded. Following his time in battle, Inman has learned to distrust authority of any kind, as trusting authority is what sent him to the hospital in the first place. Moreover, Inman's advice to Laura reflects the informal code of right and wrong that he's slowly developing. Inman doesn't trust priests or politicians, but he's no nihilist. On the contrary, he continues to protect those like Laura who are too weak to defend themselves. So in spite of the trauma he's endured during battle, Inman continues to fight for what he knows to be right.

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Chapter 7 Quotes

He made a motion as if to backhand the preacher, but the man did not run or fight or even try to raise his staff to parry. Rather, he hunched his shoulders to take the blow like a cowed dog, and so Inman pulled up and did not strike. He reasoned that lacking the will to drive the man off, he'd just walk on and see what came about.

Related Characters: Inman , Solomon Veasey
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Inman takes pity on Solomon--the corrupt priest who'd made off with Laura, the young girl he'd impregnated. Although Inman clearly despises Solomon, he doesn't strike him, and he doesn't yell at Solomon when Solomon tries to follow him.

It's worth wondering why Inman behaves so passively when confronted with Solomon's presence. First, the fact that Inman refrains from hitting Solomon suggests that he continues to abide by a strong personal code of right and wrong, even after enduring the trauma of the Civil War. Moreover, the fact that Inman doesn't protest when Solomon tries to follow him along the road suggests that Inman--in spite of what he says--might secretly be desperate for human companionship. After months of isolation in a hospital, Inman will take whatever he can get, even if he has to team up with a corrupt priest.

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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Solomon Veasey Character Timeline in Cold Mountain

The timeline below shows where the character Solomon Veasey appears in Cold Mountain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: exile and brute wandering
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
...priest is a beaten man—harmless and docile. He allows the priest, whose name is Solomon Veasey, to walk beside him. (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
Veasey babbles to Inman about starting a new life out West. He claims he’s headed to... (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
In the evening, Inman tells Veasey about his experiences in Petersburg. He remembers fighting beside the troops from South Carolina. Inman’s... (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, Veasey and Inman arrive at a small country shop to buy food. Veasey immediately draws his... (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 and Veasey continue walking down the road, Veasey rubbing his head where Inman struck him. They come... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Since Veasey has just left the building to have sex with Tildy, Inman is by himself. He... (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
...is so overcome that he says, “It’s a feverish world.” The next morning, Inman and Veasey reunite. Veasey claims that he had a wonderful night, although Inman notices that Veasey has... (full context)
Chapter 9: to live like a gamecock
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Inman and Veasey arrive at a woodcutters’ clearing. There’s a huge tree lying in the middle of the... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
...a dead bull in a stream. The man cries out for help, and Inman and Veasey walk off the road to help him (Veasey leaves the saw by the side of... (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
...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 years ago. He tells Inman and... (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 dinner, Junior’s child walks... (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
...Lila, pointing a gun right at Inman’s head. He marches Inman outside, where Inman sees Veasey standing. Junior yells out that he’s found some “outliers,” and a group of horsemen approach... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
...boar. Inman climbs to his feet, noticing that his head is bleeding. He notices that Veasey is lying on the ground, dead, but he feels little sympathy for his companion. Inman... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
...and all his money. He finds that the knapsack’s contents are still there, except for Veasey’s gun. Looking up, Inman sees Junior nearby. Junior approaches Inman, seeming not to know who... (full context)