Cold Mountain, the mountain that neighbors Black Cove, is clearly one of the novel’s key symbols. It’s such a big, imposing sight that it’s impossible to forget it—everybody who’s lived in Black Cove knows Cold Mountain like the back of their hand. Furthermore, the characters say on more than one occasion that Cold Mountain never changes—it’s the same as it was before the Civil War, and it’ll be the same again in a hundred years. In this way, Cold Mountain is a symbol of the characters’ collective past, and an important reminder of why Inman wants to go back to Black Cove in the first place: he wants to travel back to a time before he was a soldier.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Cold Mountain appears in Cold Mountain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: the shadow of a crow
Chapter 2: the ground beneath her hands
...that Monroe could get some fresh air. Ada had never seen mountains before arriving at Cold Mountain . She was delighted to find Monroe so interested in Cold Mountain’s foliage and animals.... (full context)
Chapter 3: a color of despair
...ever believed that this was his country, and worth fighting for. He imagines returning to Cold Mountain and building himself a big, empty cabin where he’ll never have to use his ears... (full context)
Chapter 4: verbs, all of them tiring
...a child, Ruby was always frightened of being eaten by a wild animal prowling around Cold Mountain . Cherokee women talked about evil spirits and monsters, and she was always afraid one... (full context)
Chapter 6: ashes of roses
...sky. Ada feels an overpowering sense of loneliness as she makes out the outline of Cold Mountain . She remembers something Monroe told her—the sense of loneliness is really the sense that... (full context)
Chapter 10: in place of the truth
Chapter 11: the doing of it
Chapter 12: freewill savages
Chapter 15: a vow to bear
Chapter 18: footsteps in the snow