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Cold Mountain | Characters

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Character Description
Inman Inman is the male protagonist of the novel, who leaves the military hospital and the Civil War behind to walk home to Cold Mountain and the love of his life, Ada Monroe. Read More
Ada Monroe Ada Monroe is the female protagonist of the novel, a young woman who experiences profound changes when she decides to remain in the mountains instead of going home to Charleston; she awaits the return of the love of her life, Inman, from the Civil War. Read More
Ruby Thewes Ruby Thewes is the tough, young Native American mountain woman who uses her knowledge, skills, and work ethic to bring Ada Monroe's farm back to life and help them provide for themselves, while also becoming Ada's close friend. Read More
Monroe Monroe, Ada's overly protective father, is the minister who manages to win over the people of Cold Mountain but dies suddenly, leaving very little for his daughter to live on. Read More
Stobrod Thewes Stobrod Thewes, Ruby's irresponsible father, is an alcoholic and generally shiftless fellow who cares only for making music and drinking. Read More
Ada and Inman's daughter Ada gives birth to a daughter after Inman is killed; she is described at the end of the story as tall and nine years old.
Adams Adams is a man Ruby trades with, giving hard cider for a disappointingly small amount of beef brisket.
Ayron Ayron is a large African American man known as a killer in Teague's Home Guard; he looks just like Byron and has a high-pitched voice.
Balis Balis is the man beside Inman in the military hospital; he spends his days translating Greek works into English until he dies from gangrene.
Barkeep A barkeep wearing an apron feeds Inman lousy food and pours him weak drinks at the inn where he meets Odell.
Big Tildy Big Tildy is an African American prostitute whom Solomon Veasey spends the night with at the inn where Inman meets Odell, and who cuts him with a razor when he won't pay her enough.
Birch Birch is a young member of Teague's Home Guard who tries to stop Teague's brutal tactics during the raid at the Owens' place, and in other raids shows a strange type of religious fervor; in the end, however, it is Birch who kills Inman.
The Blacks The Black family sells the cove to the Monroes.
Blind man A blind man sells peanuts and newspapers to the patients at the military hospital; Inman tells the man of the horrors he has seen, and the two men have a philosophical discussion.
Blount Blount is the wealthy young man from Savannah who courts Ada on her last trip to Charleston and admits he feels cowardly in the face of war; he dies in the fighting at Gettysburg.
Burned girl When the father of a girl who was burned brings Stobrod Thewes to fiddle at her bedside, she is greatly pleased by his music just before she dies.
Byron Byron is a large African American man who is a killer in Teague's Home Guard; he looks just like Ayron and has a high-pitched voice.
Bystander A would-be suitor of Ada Monroe—described by Inman as nothing more than a bystander—observes at church that she is most likely to have a boyfriend in Charleston.
Dark gypsy woman Inman is struck by the extraordinary beauty of a dark gypsy woman who rides a horse effortlessly, and fearlessly allows the white leader of the show to throw knives at her.
Dead girl in quilt Inman makes a coffin for a girl who has just died, and then helps her grieving mother bury her properly.
Dead girl's mother Inman comes upon a grieving mother whose daughter has just died, so he makes a coffin and helps bury the girl; the woman feeds him a fine meal and gives him provisions.
Dechutes Dechutes is the French grandfather of Ada Monroe; Monroe had to arrange to marry his daughter Claire two times because the first time Claire chose one of her father's associates.
Dillard man A rather shy Dillard man is just one of the many who would like to be Ada Monroe's suitor, and he attends church for this purpose.
Eben Eben is the pistol-carrying Federal raider whom Inman kills after the raid on Sara's cabin.
Ethiopian An Ethiopian member of the gypsy band Inman encounters poses as a past king of Africa and plays music in the show.
Father of burned girl Stobrod Thewes credits his mastery of the fiddle to the father of a burned girl who comes to Thewes's army camp seeking a fiddler to play and ease his daughter's suffering; the father thanks Thewes for helping his daughter pass more peacefully and gives him a Federal dollar.
Ferry girl The ferry girl is a strong, brave young woman who offers to take Inman across the Cape Fear River in a canoe for scrip money (paper issued by the Confederacy in lieu of currency); they are forced to abandon the canoe when shot at by the men following Inman from the fight he had at the first settlement, but they reach the other side by swimming, and she gives Inman directions west.
Fleeing woman 1 One of three women who spend the night with their children at Ada Monroe's home, the first woman explains they have been robbed of everything by Federal raiders and are fleeing to South Carolina from Tennessee.
Fleeing woman 2 The second woman fleeing to South Carolina with her children explains that the women and children have become the victims of Federals' revenge.
Fleeing woman 3 The third woman in the group of those fleeing points out to Ruby and Ada how lucky they are to be hidden away in the cove.
Laura Foster Laura Foster is the young pregnant woman Inman rescues as Solomon Veasey is about to kill her.
Laura Foster's grandmother Laura Foster's grandmother is too old and deaf to realize what her young charge is doing at night with the preacher.
Frenchman On the night Monroe plans to give Claire Dechutes an engagement ring, he sees her kissing a Frenchman, a wine broker, whom she goes on to marry, breaking Monroe's heart; when the Frenchman dies, Monroe is finally able to marry Claire, Ada's mother.
Goatwoman More than a week after Inman survives the gunshot wound from the Guards, he meets an old but healthy woman who takes him to her caravan home and kindly nurses him back to health; the goatwoman survives as a goat farmer, root doctor, hunter, and tract seller, and she is a dedicated journalist and artist.
Gray-headed man A gray-headed man speaks only with vowel sounds when Inman asks for directions to Salisbury.
Guards The group of Guards to whom Junior turns over Inman and Solomon Veasey all fire together to kill the whole group of prisoners and then bury them in a shallow grave, but Inman survives.
Howling man A member of Teague's final group of Guards, a man howls with pain from a broken leg before Inman kills him.
Native American Indian menagerie A menagerie of Seminole, Creek, Cherokee, and Yemassee Native American Indians are part of the gypsy band Inman encounters; they tell jokes and make music as part of the show.
John John is Sara's dead husband, the father of her baby, killed in the war in Virginia.
Old Johnston's wife Solomon Veasey steals a revolver from Old Johnston's wife when she takes pity on him after his affair with Laura Foster is revealed, and gives him clothes to wear.
Old Jones Old Jones trades with Ruby to get Ada's piano for his wife in exchange for food and livestock.
Junior Junior is a debauched man, drunk and sexually deviant, who delights in turning deserters over to the Home Guard, as he does with Inman and Veasey; after escaping, Inman comes back to exact revenge on Junior.
Robert E. Lee Inman meets General Robert E. Lee at the battle of Fredericksburg and is troubled by Lee's religious zealotry, which leads him to view war and its outcome as God's will.
Lila Lila is Junior's young wife who is like a sex slave to him and promiscuous with every man she encounters; Lila drugs Inman and tries to have sex with him, and he is forced to "marry" her before the Guard takes him prisoner.
Lila's sisters Lila's two sisters look just like her and live the same debauched life with Junior.
Longstreet Inman meets Lieutenant General James Longstreet at the battle of Fredericksburg and appreciates Longstreet's desire to have the men fight from a safe position when possible.
Lucinda Lucinda is the beautiful octoroon slave (one-eighth African American blood) Odell falls madly in love with and gives up his life for; Odell's father sells her to people in Mississippi, but Odell never finds her.
Lucy Lucy is Ada's closest living relative, her cousin in Charleston; when Ada writes to her, she reveals her inner and outer changes since Monroe died.
Lula Lula is the name claimed by the pretty young daughter of Junior and Lila, although Junior says her name is Chastity.
Man at church fire On the night Claire breaks Monroe's heart, he and another man try unsuccessfully to put out a church fire, using the man's empty liquor bottle as a water vessel.
Man pulling onions A man pulling onions in a field only gestures in response to Inman's request for directions to Salisbury.
Man with cap One of three men Inman fights off at the first settlement he comes to, the man with a cap has a sniper's rifle he uses later when chasing Inman to the Cape Fear River.
Man with croker sack Ada encounters a man with a croker sack who hates farming but enjoys beating the shells off the beans in his sack.
Man with hammer After the battle of Fredericksburg, Inman watches a man kill wounded Federal soldiers by hitting them in the head with a hammer while whistling a song.
Man with nipple pick Inman beats up the man with a nipple pick, the smith, and the man with a cap when attacked by the three men at the first settlement he comes to.
Man with wen A man with a wen threatens to shoot and then beat Solomon Veasey because he wants to be with Big Tildy himself; Inman defuses the situation.
Hob Mars Hob Mars is a showy, arrogant man who tries unsuccessfully to court Ada Monroe.
Mrs. McKennet Mrs. McKennet is a wealthy widow who loved Monroe but settled on being his friend; she reminds Ada of Charleston ladies and makes her feel uncomfortable with a long story glorifying the war.
Mies man A man from Mies is a member of Monroe's church who advises him he should try to convert the Swangers and bring them into the congregation.
Claire Dechutes Monroe Claire Dechutes Monroe is Ada's mother who died in childbirth; Monroe first met Claire when she was 16 and planned to marry her when she was 18, but she took another husband; Monroe had to wait another 19 years to have her as his wife, and they were happily married for just two years before she died.
Mother of burned girl When Stobrod Thewes plays a fiddle tune on the death bed of a mother's daughter who was burned, the woman runs from the room crying.
Odell Odell is the white-headed peddler who sleeps in the hayloft of the inn with Inman, telling him his life story as they drink liquor; for the love of a slave named Lucinda, Odell loses everything he had as the son of a wealthy planter and comes to despise slavery.
Odell's father Odell's cruel father will have nothing to do with Odell's love for Lucinda, and his actions to keep the lovers apart push Odell to leave home forever.
Odell's wife Odell chooses a beautiful and frail planter's daughter for his wife, but he has no interest in her.
Old Cherokee woman An old Cherokee woman with snake tattoos, who claims to be 135 years old, tells Inman that he is a child of the Shining Rocks legend.
Old slave woman An old slave woman advises Inman and Veasey they can find shelter from the rain at a safe inn nearby.
Old woman One image that haunts Inman's memory from the battle of Fredericksburg is of an old woman surrounded by corpses in her home.
Outlander In a Cherokee tale, Inman tells Ada that a man described as an outlander comes to Kanuga but claims to live in an idealistic village behind the Shining Rocks where people can live if they follow the rules he outlines.
Bill Owens Bill Owens is one of the local men Teague picks on for supposedly being sympathetic to the Federals; Teague kills Owens's dogs and tortures his wife to try to get him to speak.
Mrs. Bill Owens Teague has his men string Mrs. Bill Owens up by her thumbs, but her husband still remains silent; she takes the kids and leaves her husband because of the episode.
Pangle Pangle is the name Stobrod Thewes gives the mentally impaired young man who is his banjo-playing sidekick; Teague's Guard makes Pangle cover his innocent, smiling face when they shoot him dead.
Mr. Peek Mr. Peek is the miller who also handles the post office at Cold Mountain.
Philadelphia raiders Inman kills two rifle-bearing Federal Raiders from Philadelphia after their raid on Sara's cabin.
Poozler Poozler is the partner Strobrod Thewes had for a while in the liquor-making business, during which time he left Ruby, younger than eight years old, on her own for three months.
Potts Potts is a "hog-eyed man" who lost his son at Sharpsburg and directs Inman to Sara's house, where he can get a meal after days of hunger.
Prisoner Ada and Ruby hear a prisoner tell the sad and brutal story of his capture by Teague's Guard, who kill his father and two outliers before tying him to a chair and bringing him to jail.
Prisoner's father The father of the prisoner who tells the story Ada and Ruby listen to is killed by Teague's Guard while trying to defend his home and the men hidden there, including his son.
Ralph Ralph is the name of Ruby's horse.
Reid Reid is the 17-year-old boy from Georgia who witnesses the shooting of Stobrod Thewes and Pangle and tells Ruby Thewes and Ada Monroe about it; he stays on at the house as a farmhand and then marries Ruby, with whom he has three sons.
Ruby and Reid's sons Ruby and Reid have three sons, described as dark-haired and dark-eyed, born 18 months apart.
Ruby's mother Ruby's mother, whom Ruby never knew, was an alcoholic who claimed Ruby's father was a blue heron (a tall, wading bird).
Sara Sara is the 18-year-old widowed mother who feeds Inman, helps him to get cleaned up, and asks him to sleep innocently with her; in return, Inman helps her slaughter her hog and defends her, her baby, and her home from Federal raiders by killing all three of them.
Sara's daughter Sara's baby girl is not named in the book; Inman does not believe the child will live through the winter.
Shopkeep When Solomon Veasey tries to rob a shopkeep with his revolver, Inman stops it by clubbing Veasey in the head; the shopkeep then threatens to shoot Inman.
Slave couple An enslaved man and his wife travel with the three women fleeing to South Carolina, intent on protecting them.
The smith At the first settlement Inman comes to on his walk, a blacksmith joins two other men to try to capture him; the smith wields a scythe and then a revolver, but Inman beats him.
Esco Swanger Esco Swanger owns the homestead closest to the Monroes and is an interesting mixture of a practical man who also believes in signs and folklore; he is kind and generous, and enjoys humor.
Sally Swanger Sally Swanger, Esco's round and happy wife, is a good friend to Ada and helps Inman to woo her; she also sends Ruby Thewes to Ada to help her.
Swimmer Swimmer is a Cherokee whom Inman met at age 16 and camped with for two weeks; Swimmer's tales and spells remain very important to Inman.
Teacher While in the hospital recovering from his war injuries, Inman dreams of the last teacher he had as a child, a boring and stern man.
Teague Teague is the brutal leader of the Home Guard who leads raids on homes of those rumored to be loyal to the Federals, and who delights in hunting down and often shooting deserters from the Confederate Army, including Inman; Teague is killed by Inman at the end of the story.
Tennessee boy Inman recalls a conversation with a Tennessee boy after the Fredericksburg battle, who dismisses human knowledge in favor of accepting whatever God gives.
Tired-looking woman A tired-looking woman barely responds to Inman's request for directions to Salisbury.
Twin boys Dark-haired twin boys are the young sons of one of Lila's sisters, but their father is unknown and the boys are wild.
Two outliers Teague shoots and kills two outliers who are hiding with the prisoner tied up on a chair; they are taken to jail where the captive then tells his story to all who will listen.
Solomon Veasey Inman comes upon the unscrupulous preacher, Solomon Veasey, just as he is about to throw a young woman over a cliff because he has impregnated her; later, Veasey meets up with Inman on the road and the two travel together until captured by the Guard and Veasey is killed.
Walker Walker is a rich, unkind slave owner; Stobrod Thewes and the other cave dwellers raid his home and take all the food and valuables they find, including the banjo Stobrod gives to Pangle.
White leader of gypsy show folk The white leader of the gypsy folk show sells Inman a meal, invites him to the fire, and comments about the end of slavery.
Woman in cage One of the horrible stories of slavery Odell tells Inman is about a slave woman in a cage who has been left to the buzzards and dies right after he sets her free.
Yellow slave A wiry, strong, kind yellow slave gives Inman food and shelter in a barn when he finds him after Inman survives being shot by the Guards; he then draws Inman a map of a safe route and gives him supplies.
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