Cold Mountain

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The Neck Wound Symbol Analysis

The Neck Wound Symbol Icon

During his service in the Civil War, Inman sustains a horrible neck wound that then causes him a great deal of pain throughout the rest of the novel. Inman’s neck wound is an externalization of the psychological wounds he’ll grapple with over the course of the story—in other words, it’s a powerful symbol of the lasting trauma of war.

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The Neck Wound Symbol Timeline in Cold Mountain

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Neck Wound appears in Cold Mountain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: the shadow of a crow
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Inman had several wounds, the worst of which was a deep neck injury . After a few days, his neck injury “spat out” a collar button that had... (full context)
Chapter 3: a color of despair
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
...money for the ruined boat. He walks inland toward the woods, and discovers that his neck wound has opened again, though he’s not sure when this occurred. (full context)
Chapter 11: the doing of it
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
...in Petersburg,” and she asks to see his “papers.” Inman shows the old woman his neck wound , and claims he lost his papers. The woman nods knowingly. She tells Inman she’s... (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
...Inman’s turn to tell the old woman about himself. He tells the woman about his neck wound —he received it while fighting with the Federals in Petersburg. Inman says that his newer... (full context)