Frazier’s References to Emersonian Philosophy in Chapter 12 of Cold Mountain.
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In chapter 12 of Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, entitled freewill savages, Frazier portrays two of the main characters, Ruby and Stobrod, with Emersonian ideals in mind. One can see that Frazier embedded Emersonian philosophy in each of the character’s stories or experiences in one way or another. Through the experiences of the characters Ruby, and Stobrod, Charles Frazier alludes to two major principles of Emersonian philosophy: a unified relationship with nature, and the paradoxical unification of opposites. .
Early in the chapter, one can recognize the occurrence of the Emersonian philosophy of being one with nature. This happens after the women give Stobrod dinner, Ruby goes into the hayloft and sits on the doorway; Ada, while hesitant at first, joins her. It is here, where Ada learns to appreciate Ruby as not only her friend, but also as her teacher. Ada tells Ruby that she wants to learn more about the land and Cold Mountain. Ruby then proceeds to cup her hands around Ada’s eyes and instructs her to listen. She then tells Ada to describe what she hears; Ada replies that all she hears are trees blowing in the wind. In response Ruby says, “Trees,” Ruby said contemptuously, as if she had expected just such a foolish answer. “Just general trees is all? You’ve got a long way to go,” (Frazier 289).When Ruby said Ada had a long way to go, she meant as a student and in understanding nature. One of the most basic Emersonian philosophies is being one with nature and understanding its vastness. In Emerson’s essay, Nature, he discusses at length nature’s depth and its purpose. Ruby’s oneness with nature as a character shows in this scene; her disgust at Ada’s lack of knowledge about her surroundings and her ability to distinguish trees by their sounds proves her adherence to Emersonian philosophy. Ruby is the epitome of Emersonian ideals; not only does her love for nature, but also her understanding and knowledge of it depict Emerson’s philosophies.