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Point of View
The point of view is that of limited omniscience, which alternates between the perspectives of Inman and Ada. As we see into the characters we find they each have a unique point of view about the significance of the land, but the poignancy of each nuance of nature prevails in their thoughts.
The unique point of view is that of Inman as a southern Appalachian man. The story is woven around the events of the Civil War, but the perspective of mountain people is seldom discussed in history books. Through Inman the reader sees the pointlessness of the killing by the Home Guard and the Federals, and the pain of the women who are alone as a consequence of the war.
The story and characters of Cold Mountain have certain parallels to The Odyssey of Homer. Inman, like Odysseus is a soldier/warrior who is battle-fatigued and is trying to get home. Further, each obstacle, each rogue, encountered along the way teaches the wayfarer more about himself. The patience, humility and endurance required confer upon him a worthiness of his goal. Meanwhile, Ada, like Penelope, faces problems of her own at home, and when Inman/Odysseus finally arrives, he finds suitors/Ruby vying for the attention of his beloved.
Homerís Iliad tells about the battles of the Trojan War. His Odyssey, as sequel, tells about wanting home and peace. Cold Mountain, as sequel to Inmanís Civil War battles, is the story of those same wants. This desire for home is the central theme that ties The Odyssey and Cold Mountain together.