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The primary theme is the desire for home. For Inman it is a journey to the home he knows and remembers. For Ada it is a longing to find oneís place and establish a home.
There are two other major Themes. The first is endurance, without which the characters would not have been able to fulfill their destinies. The second is an elegy for the old life ways of the mountains and manís relationship with the land. Great detail is used describing how everything is done by hand or with animal power.
The minor Themes involve the dangers of solitude and the ways lives are transformed by the war.
The mood of Cold Mountain is one of struggle and melancholy. There is a sense of another world where, though the geography seems familiar, the times are unfamiliar and lives are tough. Everyday farm activities involve toil and sometimes pain. Inmanís daily activities are fraught with hardship. The gloomy tone however allows moments of pleasure, a good harvest, a good meal. The melancholy at last turns idyllic, but not until the epilogue.