One of the two protagonists of Cold Mountain, Inman is a young Southern soldier who’s hospitalized after sustaining heavy injuries in the Civil War. Inman, a lifelong resident of the town of Black Cove… read analysis of Inman
The other main character of Cold Mountain, Ada is a wealthy, somewhat spoiled young woman who must learn how to take care of herself following the devastation of the Civil War. When Ada’s father… read analysis of Ada Monroe
The father of Ada Monroe, a talented, charismatic preacher. Monroe seems to be a kindly, if overbearing father, and for many years he is the only man in Ada’s life. While our knowledge of… read analysis of Monroe
Ruby Thewes is Ada Monroe’s opposite in almost every way: she has a poor relationship with her father, Stobrod Thewes; she’s been taking care of herself since she was a little girl; she’s… read analysis of Ruby Thewes
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… read analysis of Stobrod Thewes
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… read analysis of Solomon Veasey
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… read analysis of Sara
The Old Woman
The old woman takes care of Inman after he’s wounded by the Home Guard. She’s calm, knowledgeable, and seemingly completely comfortable living in solitude. Yet she engages Inman in conversation when he stays with her… read analysis of The Old Woman
The informal leader of the Home Guard, Teague is arguably the primary antagonist of the novel. While the supposed purpose of the Home Guard is to discourage military deserters and strengthen the Confederate forces, it… read analysis of Teague
The mother of Ada Monroe and the wife of Monroe. Claire Dechutes is a beautiful young woman, and Monroe tries and fails to woo her for many years. All the information about Claire is… read analysis of Claire Dechutes
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… read analysis of Junior
An old peddler who claims to have once been a wealthy man in Georgia. Odell tells Inman that he fell in love with Lucinda, a slave, and then went off to fight in the… read analysis of Odell
A young Cherokee child who befriends Inman when Inman is also a boy. Swimmer teaches Inman spells and incantations, some of which Inman chants to himself during his long walk home to Black Cove.
The slave with whom Odell fell in love, later shipped off to Mississippi by Odell’s spiteful father.
A young member of the Home Guard, who kills Inman at the end of the novel.
A Southern soldier who’s arrested by the Home Guard for deserting.
A member of the Home Guard.
A Southern soldier and fellow invalid who’s in the hospital with Inman.
One of Inman’s fellow soldiers.
An old, talkative resident of Black Cove.
A member of the Home Guard.
Lula / Chastity
Junior’s daughter—or at least the child of Junior’s wife, Lila.
Junior’s wife, who tries to seduce Inman.
One of Ada Monroe’s neighbors in Black Cove, and the woman who sends Ruby Thewes to live with Ada.
The husband of Sally Swanger.
A young piano tutor who tries and fails to seduce Ada Monroe.
Ada Monroe’s cousin, who lives in Charleston.
A traveler who points Inman toward Sara’s house.
A big, dimwitted deserter who’s highly talented at playing the banjo.
A black prostitute with whom Solomon Veasey tries to have sex.
The Blind Man
An old man who talks to Inman while Inman is staying in the hospital, and asks Inman to describe his experiences during the Civil War.
A young woman whom Solomon Veasey seduces and impregnates.
A rich, foolish man who flirts with Ada Monroe.