Cold Mountain

Ada Monroe Character Analysis

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, Monroe, moves from Charleston to Black Cove, Ada catches the eye of the young, handsome Inman, and the two develop a warm, if repressed, romance—one that’s cut short by the beginning of the war. After her father dies, Ada is on the verge of giving up all hope and starving to death. But with the help of Ruby Thewes, Ada learns how to farm, plow, sew, etc. Throughout the book, Ada—like Inman—has flashbacks to her time before the war, and seems to have a deep attraction to Inman. In the absence of “high culture,” Ada learns how to live simply, practically, and peacefully. Upon Inman’s return, Ada tries to bring him into the new life she’s built for herself in Black Cove, and she’s heartbroken when he’s killed. Even so, she continues with her duties as a farmer, moving from day to day instead of dwelling on the tragedies of the past.

Ada Monroe Quotes in Cold Mountain

The Cold Mountain quotes below are all either spoken by Ada Monroe or refer to Ada Monroe. 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 2 Quotes

Cookery had become a pressing issue for Ada. She was perpetually hungry, having eaten little through the summer but milk, fried eggs, salads, and plates of miniature tomatoes from the untended plants that had grown wild and bushy with suckers. Even butter had proved beyond her means…

Related Characters: Ada Monroe
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute i

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dLoremLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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!

Even now, return to Charleston was a bitter thought and one that her pride rejected. There was nothing pulling her back there. Certainly not family. She had no relatives closer than her cousin Lucy, no kindly aunts or doting grandparents welcoming her return. And that state of kinlessness too was a bitter thought, considering that all around her the mountain people were bound together in ties of clan so extensive and firm that they could hardly walk a mile along the river road without coming upon a relative.

Related Characters: Ada Monroe, Lucy
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 4 Quotes

After Ada made her decision known, Ruby wasted no time. She knew who had excess animals and produce, who would be willing to trade favorably. In this case it was Old Jones up on East Fork she dealt with. His wife had coveted the piano for some time, and knowing that, Ruby traded hard. Jones was finally made to give for it a pied brood sow and a shoat and a hundred pounds of corn grits.

Related Characters: Ada Monroe, Ruby Thewes
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in volupta

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 8 Quotes

He wished Claire not to marry before her eighteenth birthday. I agreed. Two years seemed not too long to wait, and a fair request on his part. Within a few days he took me home to dinner as his guest. My introduction to your mother was at his hand. I could see in her eyes that she knew me from the night in the yard, but she said not a word of it. I believed from the beginning that my feeling toward her was returned.

Related Characters: Monroe (speaker), Ada Monroe, Claire Dechutes
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididLorLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cill

The months when we knew you were to come seemed a strange blessing for a pair such as we were: old and marred by the past. When Claire died in childbirth, I could not hardly think that God would be so short with us. I could do little for weeks. Kind neighbors found a wet nurse for you and I took to my bed.

Related Characters: Monroe (speaker), Ada Monroe, Claire Dechutes
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaec

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariaturLorem ipsum dLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing e

Chapter 10 Quotes

—Here is far enough, she said. Go on back. As you said, I'll see you when I see you.
—But I hope that's soon.
—We both do, then.

Related Characters: Inman (speaker), Ada Monroe (speaker)
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dol

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure doloLoreLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut eni

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, Lorem ipsum dLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate

Chapter 18 Quotes

He would come walking up the road into Black Cove, and he would be weary looking. What he had been through would show in his face and in his frame, but only so much as to suggest heroism. He would be bathed and in a clean suit. Ada would step out the door onto the porch without knowing he was coming, just going about her doings. She would be dressed in her fine clothes. She would see him and know him in every feature. She would run to him, lifting her skirts above her ankle boots as she came down the steps.

Related Characters: Inman, Ada Monroe
Page Number: 312
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequ

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud e

Chapter 19 Quotes

—I'm ruined beyond repair, is what I fear, he said. And if so, in time we'd both be wretched and bitter.

Related Characters: Inman (speaker), Ada Monroe
Page Number: 333
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariat

Epilogue Quotes

Ada had tried to love all the year equally, with no discrimination against the greyness of winter, its smell of rotted leaves underfoot, the stillness in the woods and fields. Nevertheless, she could not get over loving autumn best, and she could not entirely overcome the sentimentality of finding poignancy in the fill of leaves, of seeing it as the conclusion to the year and therefore metaphoric, though she knew the seasons came around and around and had neither inauguration nor epilogue.

Related Characters: Ada Monroe
Page Number: 355
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt molli

Get the entire Cold Mountain LitChart as a printable PDF.
Cold mountain.pdf.medium

Ada Monroe Character Timeline in Cold Mountain

The timeline below shows where the character Ada Monroe appears in Cold Mountain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: the ground beneath her hands
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
A woman named Ada sits on the porch of “the house that was now hers.” She’s writing a letter... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada’s father, a preacher named Monroe, died recently. Since that time, she’s been in charge of... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
We learn a little more about Ada. Ada grew up in Charleston. At Monroe’s insistence, she got an unusually advanced education for... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada is ill-equipped to run a farm. She isn’t even sure why she’s running the farm... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Ada reads books in the late morning—by people like George Eliot, Nathaniel Hawthorne, etc. She reads... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada reads a book about “frontier adventure,” which she finds enjoyable but strangely sad. Afterwards, she... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada strolls to the chapel on her property. Monroe is buried outside this chapel, and his... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada remembers her father’s funeral. The preacher talked about Monroe’s kindness and wisdom. Afterwards, men buried... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
In the present, Ada walks by her father’s grave plot. Walking past the chapel, she enters Black Cove, the... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
At the Swangers’ home, Ada finds Esco Swanger, Sally’s husband. Esco greets Ada, mostly because he wants an excuse not... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Esco warns Ada of Teague and his Home Guard, a group of marauders and robbers who’ve taken the... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Sally asks Ada if she’s ready to go back to Charleston yet, but Ada admits that she’s not.... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Esco asks Ada if she saw anything in the well, and Ada replies that she didn’t. Sally offers... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Ada remembers coming to the town of Black Cove six years ago, hoping to cure Monroe... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
When Monroe and Ada first arrived at Black Cove, Monroe made a point of introducing himself to his new... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada goes to sleep, and has a strange dream in which she’s standing at a train... (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
A new day begins, and Ada wonders what will become of her when she returns to Charleston. She’ll probably have to... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada sits on her porch, and sees a figure walking toward her. It’s a young woman.... (full context)
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada quickly grows to like Ruby. Ruby explains that she’s not exactly a servant or a... (full context)
Chapter 3: a color of despair
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 me, fortifies me.” Monroe delivered the sermon on the day that Inman first met Ada. (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Inman remembers falling in love with Ada. He began attending church just to see her. Many of the people in Black Cove... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...Inman didn’t pay much attention to Monroe’s sermon because he was too busy staring at Ada. After the sermon, Inman’s friends, Mars and Dillard, teased him for staring. A stranger told... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...went to see Sally Swanger, whom he knew to be a friend of Monroe and Ada. Sally agreed to introduce Inman to Ada. A few days later, Inman and Ada were... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Inman remembers more of his meeting with Ada. Ada teased him for being shy and silent, and Inman finally summoned the courage to... (full context)
Chapter 4: verbs, all of them tiring
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Back in the town of Black Cove, Ada and Ruby have reached an agreement: Ruby will teach Ada how to run a farm,... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Ada surprises herself by selling her piano. As she prepares to part with it, she remembers... (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
As Ada parts with her piano and other possessions, she can’t help but think about Monroe, and... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
At the Christmas party, Ada had a little too much to drink. Sally Swanger, also drunk, told Ada that she... (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
As Ada remembers her experienced with Inman, she looks through the basement of her house, searching for... (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 is struck by how busily she and Ruby have to work in order to survive... (full context)
Chapter 5: like any other thing, a gift
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...adventurers traveling through the wilderness. Then, when he’s very drowsy, he begins to think about Ada, four years ago, when she sat in his lap at the Christmas party. That night,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...begins walking back toward his home, invigorated by his evening, and by his dreams of Ada. (full context)
Chapter 6: ashes of roses
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
It’s fall, and Ruby and Ada are working in a field. They pull weeds and harvest turnips and onions. As time... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Ada and Ruby give shelter and food to a group of travelers who are moving from... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
As time goes on, Ada notices that Ruby, despite being a very capable farmer, has a strange way of getting... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
After talking with Ruby, Ada walks around her property, staring up at the birds. She wonders if the numbers of... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Late at night, Ada thinks about a party she attended just before the attack on Fort Sumter (i.e., the... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada continues telling Ruby about the party. Blount gave Ada a kiss on the cheek, sensing... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Back in the present, Ada and Ruby stare out into the night sky. Ada feels an overpowering sense of loneliness... (full context)
Chapter 8: source and root
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Ada and Ruby walk into town, even though it’s raining. They’re on a mission to buy... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
In town, Ada and Ruby buy powder, caps, and other ammunition materials. They also buy a copy of... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Ada and Ruby walk through town, and come across a handcuffed captive telling a story about... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The captive continues his tale, and Ruby and Ada listen. In vivid detail, the captive sets the scene: his father, an old man, stands... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The captive finishes his story. Ada and Ruby are shocked by what they’ve heard—they can’t decide whether the captive was exaggerating... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ruby tells Ada about her childhood, during which she saw plenty of herons. In fact, Ruby’s mother told... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada remembers a day shortly before Monroe’s death. She and her father were reading Emerson together.... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Monroe continued telling Ada about his relationship with Claire. After nearly two years had passed, Monroe caught Claire kissing... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...to Claire, and she accepted. She died in childbirth shortly thereafter. Back in the present, Ada remembers listening to Monroe telling her this story, awestruck. (full context)
Chapter 10: in place of the truth
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada and Ruby have obtained a horse named Ralph, which they’ll use to plow their land.... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
While Ruby leads Ralph through the farm, Ada makes a scarecrow to protect the crops. She rummages through the house for tools with... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada sets up the scarecrow, and Ruby comes back from her trading with Esco. In the... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
In the evening, Ada looks at the letter that she’s received from Inman. She has no idea how old... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada continues remembering her walk with Inman. Inman told her a story about an old Cherokee... (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
When Inman told Ada this story, Ada was unsure how to react—she had no idea what it meant, but... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
When Ada returned to her home after seeing Inman, she found Monroe, still reading by the fire.... (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 next day, Ada woke up and went to visit Inman one more time before he left. She found... (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
...evening moves on, and Inman is inspired to open up to the old woman about Ada. He tells her about Ada’s beauty, her personality, and his desire to marry her. The... (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
Ruby wakes up early to cook eggs for herself and Ada. As she cooks, she notices a man standing outside. She gets her gun and runs... (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 send him on his way. Inside, Stobrod tells Ruby... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
The next day, Ruby and Ada get to work making molasses. In the afternoon, they sit by their barn and stare... (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 her father shows so much talent for the fiddle.... (full context)
Chapter 14: a satisfied mind
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Ada and Ruby spend most of the fall working with apples. This requires them to plant... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Inside the house, Ada pens a letter to her cousin Lucy, who lives in Charleston. In the letter she... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada works hard, cutting hay with a scythe. Late in the evening, exhausted from her day’s... (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... (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 months ago, Stobrod and some other... (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 to ask them for a favor. Stobrod explains that he... (full context)
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada and Ruby go into the house to sleep. Ada pulls out a telescope and points... (full context)
Chapter 15: a vow to bear
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
...realizes that the cub will die. He considers taking the cub as a pet for Ada, but he quickly dismisses this idea. In the end, he shoots the cub. Because he’s... (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
...boy from Georgia, who’s no more than seventeen years old. The trio is headed for Ada’s farm. Stobrod explains to the Georgia boy that Ada has finally convinced Ruby to take... (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
As the 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... (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,... (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,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
Ada and Ruby bury Pangle near a chestnut tree. It takes a long time to bury... (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... (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
...bear cub. Inman tries to distract himself from his hunger by thinking about reuniting with Ada. (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
...deaths. Inman listens patiently to the boy’s story, then asks him if he knows who Ada Monroe is. He’s amazed to find that the Georgia boy has met Ada. The boy... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Inman sets off for Ada. He imagines how his reunion with Ada might play out. He wants to believe that... (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... (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
...and moves toward the sound. As he approaches, he sees a figure: the figure of Ada Monroe. He calls her name, and Ada doesn’t answer. She sees a dirty beggar, with... (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
There’s a long pause, in which Ada stares deep into Inman’s eyes. Inman turns slightly, as if to move away. Somehow, when... (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... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...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 gets Stobrod some water. As he... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Afterwards, Inman walks outside, where he finds Ada walking around in the “yellow light.” Ada touches Inman’s back with her hands and tells... (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 shows Ada the book, by Bartram, which he’s carried with him throughout his journey. He asks Ada... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
The Quest to Return Home Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
...falls asleep together in the cabin: Stobrod snores heavily, keeping the other three people awake. Ada stays up, thinking about Inman, who looks old and wizened. Inman isn’t the man she... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Hospitality and Quid Pro Quo Theme Icon
The next morning it continues to snow in the mountains. Ada and Inman go hunting together. As they hunt, Ada tells Inman about Monroe’s death, her... (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... (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 finds Inman lying in bed with his shirt off. As if in a trance, she... (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 ahead an hour—Ada and Inman lie in bed together. They talk through the night. Inman talks about his... (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 and Ada continue talking. They plan to get married, and to order books about art, botany, and... (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
The next morning, Ada and Inman are still lying in bed together. They’re forming a plan. The war will... (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
...begins to recover. His wounds shrink, and he’s able to eat solid food again. Ruby, Ada, and Inman prepare to return to the farm: Stobrod is finally healthy enough to be... (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,... (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... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada looks through the woods, and eventually comes to Inman, lying on the ground. Ada allows... (full context)
Epilogue: October of 1874
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
The Epilogue begins, “Even after all this time and three children together, Ada still found them clasping each other at the oddest moments.” The Georgia boy—whose name, we... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Isolation, Survival, and Community Theme Icon
Romance, Sexuality, and Repression Theme Icon
Ada has spent the last decade enjoying the beauty of the natural world. Working her farm... (full context)