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The two characters of Ruby and Ada are brought to the reader of Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier as an example of the strange and illogical way

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Introduction

Examine how Frazier portrays Ruby and Ada in the chapters you have read so far. Focus on the way he presents the contrast between these two women. The two characters of Ruby and Ada are brought to the reader of Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier as an example of the strange and illogical way in which people were thrown together in times of desperation and uncertainty such as the American Civil War. The reader is enthralled as these two women find in each other the qualities to soothe their needs and for Ada, gain the appropriate education which is crucial in order for her even to survive. Frazier uses the relationship built between these two characters to impel the reader into feeling and understanding the desperation and hardships faced by the characters at the time of the novel and the utter importance of knowing nature and the workings of the natural world. The contrast between the two women is evident from the beginning of the novel from their individual appearances through to their motivations, priorities, life experiences and status economically and socially. It is however, the common drive, the need to survive, that brings Ruby and Ada together and Frazier uses this strange union to explore many intriguing themes and ideas. We are first introduced to Ada in chapter two of the novel as she 'sat on the porch of the house' writing a letter to her beloved Inman. ...read more.

Middle

Frazier creates an interesting balance within Ada of a strong determined woman and also a distressed woman in need of help. He uses flashbacks to great effect, allowing the reader a peak view at what Ada has been like in the past, for example her witty, intriguing chats with Inman where she had displayed her control of the situation for example telling him that 'he has served a purpose' before walking away and not looking back. These valuable snippets of knowledge build up in the reader's mind and create a rounded, rich view of the character. One major similarity between the characters of Ruby and Ada is Frazier's choice to craft them as strong, interesting and unconventional women. This is a theme continued throughout the book and makes for very interesting readership. When Frazier describes the women, he does not speak typically of golden blonde tresses tumbling about their bosoms, but instead, as in Ruby's case, practically, 'a dark thing... frail-chested... hair was black and course as a horse's tail.' This description provides an immediate contrast to that of Ada's in the obvious sense that Ruby is a labourer and physically a hard worker hence her permanent sun tan and matted hair. But this description also provides links to tie the two characters together for the eternity of the novel. This idea is conveyed in the precise way in which Frazier describes the women, focusing on their bodily form for example, 'corded through the neck and arms' and 'cords of muscle ran up under the skin'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is also aiding the reader to build more of an impression of this new female character and to recognise the similarities between her and Ada's stubbornness and determination. There are many other sentences and image generating phrases which portray Ruby and Ada as individuals and also their relationship together. 'Ruby would not let her fail' is a quotation from chapter four which sums up the basis of their relationship and the fortitude of Ruby and belief in Ada which inspires her to take on this massive learning curve and gain the appropriate knowledge, using Ruby as 'her principle text'. Frazier portrays both Ada and Ruby as unconventional women brought up in worlds so separate they could be different planets. However he unites them in the novel and nurtures a relationship which is incredibly valuable to the story and genuinely interesting. He stays true to his theme of strong women and creates the character of Ruby to be Ada's heroine as opposed to a dashing hunk on a snow white stallion as it could have been! The differences between the two woman means that under normal circumstances they never would have met but under the special conditions of the novel, anything is possible and this is demonstrated perfectly in the creation of the two characters of Ada and Ruby and their compelling friendship. Aisha Mirza 12.4 English Lit Ms Moore H/W 13/10/05 ...read more.

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