Cold Mountain

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)
The bumbling, ne’er-do-well father of Ruby Thewes, Stobrod is one of the novel’s most complex characters—he’s both comic and deeply serious, likable and despicable. As a younger man, Stobrod was a poor father—he never hit Ruby, but neither did he take care of her. After the beginning of the Civil War, Stobrod went off to fight, leaving Ruby to fend for herself. Halfway through the war, Stobrod deserted and returned to Black Cove, where he finds Ruby living with Ada Monroe. In spite of Stobrod’s poor parenting, it’s suggested that he’s beginning to redeem himself by playing the fiddle—something he does with jaw-dropping artistry and craft. As Ada acknowledges, Stobrod’s example proves that any man can change, provided they have the will to do so.

Stobrod Thewes Quotes in Cold Mountain

The Cold Mountain quotes below are all either spoken by Stobrod Thewes or refer to Stobrod Thewes . 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 12 Quotes

To Ada, though, it seemed akin to miracle that Stobrod, of all people, should offer himself up as proof positive that no matter what a waste one has made of one's life, it is ever possible to find some path to redemption, however partial.

Related Characters: Ada Monroe , Stobrod Thewes
Related Symbols: The Fiddle
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:

Ada and Ruby meet Stobrod, Ruby's deadbeat father. Stobrod is, in many ways, a contemptible character: instead of raising Ruby as a father should, Stobrod has spent most of his life on the road, traveling from town to town in search of money and food.

Yet in spite of his lackluster parenting, Stobrod now seems to be a symbol of redemption and self-improvement. For all his former moral ugliness, Stobrod is now capable of playing beautiful fiddle music--he brings great joy and contentment to both Ada and Ruby by performing. Ada concludes that Stobrod has proven that it's possible to find at least "partial" redemption for one's sins.

Notice that Ada uses the word "partial." In the world of Cold Mountain, it's impossible to forget the agony of the past altogether (whether "the past" means the nightmare of the Civil War or the pain of abandonment). Human beings are capable of striving to overcome their sins, but there's no evidence that it's possible to surpass one's sins altogether.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Cold Mountain quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire Cold Mountain LitChart as a printable PDF.
Cold mountain.pdf.medium

Stobrod Thewes Character Timeline in Cold Mountain

The timeline below shows where the character Stobrod Thewes appears in Cold Mountain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: verbs, all of them tiring
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
...doesn’t want to. Ada learns that Ruby is the child of a “ne’er-do-well” farmer named Stobrod Thewes. Ruby grew up in squalor, and learned all sorts of tricks for taking care... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...began to wonder about her mother—the kind of woman who would marry a man like Stobrod. She never succeeded in learning anything about her mother, because Stobrod enlisted in the army... (full context)
Chapter 8: source and root
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...childhood, during which she saw plenty of herons. In fact, Ruby’s mother told her father, Stobrod, that it was a heron that impregnated her, not Stobrod himself. This reminds Ada of... (full context)
Chapter 12: freewill savages
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
...very well dressed, and looks surprisingly casual. Suddenly, Ruby realizes who she’s looking at: it’s Stobrod, her father. Amazed, Ruby asks Stobrod how old he is, and he says that he’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
Reluctantly, Ruby lets Stobrod into the house for some coffee. She tells Ada that they’ll feed him and then... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
...and stare off at Cold Mountain. When they walk back to the house, they find Stobrod standing outside, looking in expectantly. Although Ruby wants to send her father away at once,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Stobrod explains how he came to be so interested in fiddling (Ruby points out that before... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Stobrod plays a strange tune called “Green-Eyed Girl” for Ada and Ruby. Ruby is amazed that... (full context)
Chapter 14: a satisfied mind
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...staring up at the stars—Ruby is still doing work. Suddenly, Ada hears Ruby’s name called—it’s Stobrod and a friend of his. Ada stands up and tells Stobrod that Ruby isn’t here.... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Ada politely asks Stobrod how he’s doing, and Stobrod explains that he’s been living in the mountains, “like an... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Stobrod goes on to explain to Ada how he found his friend a banjo. A few... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
It’s now late at night. Stobrod and Pangle stop playing their instruments. Ruby mutters to Ada that her father is about... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Stobrod complains to Ruby that she’s not being very sympathetic. Ruby angrily reminds Stobrod of how... (full context)
Chapter 16: naught and grief
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
The chapter begins with Stobrod, Pangle, and another friend walking through the mountain. The other friend is a young boy... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
...to vomit and take care of himself. While he’s away, the Home Guard—led by Teague—ambushes Stobrod and Pangle. (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Teague, grinning fiercely, tells Stobrod that he’s heard rumors of a gang of outliers hiding out in the mountains and... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Teague pauses for a long time. Then he stands up and orders Stobrod and Pangle to stand against the tree. They do so, still clutching their instruments like... (full context)
Chapter 17: black bark in winter
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
...chapter opens, the Georgia boy is sitting with Ada and Ruby, describing the deaths of Stobrod and Pangle—he escaped their fate because he went into the woods to vomit just before... (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
Ada and Ruby pack shovels, preparing to go and bury Stobrod and Pangle. Before they leave, however, they direct the Georgia boy back to his home.... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Ada and Ruby set out to find Stobrod and Pangle’s bodies. Following the Georgia boy’s directions, they venture into the mountains. On their... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
...old stone shelter, and arrowheads. As she washes her hands, Ruby is surprised to see Stobrod, leaning against a big rock. Ruby and Ada realize that Stobrod is still alive—he’s breathing... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Ruby and Ada resolve to nurse Stobrod back to health. They tie Stobrod to Ralph, their horse, and slowly descend from the... (full context)
Chapter 18: footsteps in the snow
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
...inside. The boy invites Inman in, and Inman hears about the Georgia boy’s witnessing of Stobrod and Pangle’s deaths. Inman listens patiently to the boy’s story, then asks him if he... (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
The chapter cuts to Ada and Ruby, who are carrying Stobrod down from the mountain. They wake up one morning to the sound of Stobrod coughing... (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
...Inman. She lowers her gun and says, “Come with me.” They walk back to where Stobrod and Ruby are stationed. (full context)
Chapter 19: the far side of trouble
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ruby, Inman, and Ada are inside a tiny cabin in the mountains, taking care of Stobrod. As the day drags on Inman, falls asleep while Ruby and Ada attend to Stobrod,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...up to find himself in a warm cabin, in which a fire has been built. Stobrod is also waking up, but Ada and Ruby are nowhere to be seen. Inman quickly... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Later on, everyone falls asleep together in the cabin: Stobrod snores heavily, keeping the other three people awake. Ada stays up, thinking about Inman, who... (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
Ada and Inman rejoin Ruby and Stobrod, having failed to catch anything. Stobrod, conscious again, asks who Inman is. Inman simply replies,... (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
...married, and to order books about art, botany, and travel. Inman will learn Greek, and Stobrod will play the fiddle for them, assuming that he survives. Ada tells Inman about what... (full context)
Chapter 20: spirits of crows, dancing
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
In the mountains, Stobrod begins to recover. His wounds shrink, and he’s able to eat solid food again. Ruby,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Ada and Ruby head down through the mountains, with Inman and Stobrod taking a different route, heading north. When Inman and Stobrod are nearly out of the... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Suddenly, Inman slaps Ralph (the horse), and Ralph—bearing Stobrod—charges away from the Home Guard, into the woods. At the same time, Inman draws his... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Ada and Ruby are walking back to their farm when they hear gunshots. Stobrod comes running toward them, and explains that the Home Guard ambushed them. Ruby, Ada, and... (full context)
Epilogue: October of 1874
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...has taught her to love the stars, the trees, and the soil. In the evening, Stobrod plays the fiddle for Ada, Reid, Ruby, and all four children. As the night goes... (full context)