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Landscape in Angelas Ashes and Cold Mountain - Book Report/Review Example

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A paper "Landscape in Angela’s Ashes and Cold Mountain" claims that the landscape is practically a living thing in and of itself. It is described in great detail throughout the book. The characters must navigate the landscape and learn to live in peace with it in order to find peace in their lives…
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Landscape in Angelas Ashes and Cold Mountain
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Download file to see previous pages The characters must navigate the landscape and learn to live in peace with it in order to find peace and fulfillment in their lives. In Angela’s Ashes, however, the landscape is very sparsely described. It is ever-present, and the reader is always aware of the dank, gray, urban atmosphere, but McCourt rarely goes into detail describing it. During the course of the narrative of Cold Mountain, one of the protagonists, Inman, must journey across a land that is foreign to him on his way back home. The other protagonist, Ada, is also in a foreign landscape, but that place is Cold Mountain, the home to which Inman is traveling. While Inman must trek across rivers, mountains, and forests to reach Cold Mountain, Ada has to stay there and learn how to live there in harmony with the land. To both Ada and Inman, the landscape is both the antagonist and a symbol of the psychological changes taking place inside of them, in addition to representing the goal towards which the characters strive. As Inman makes his way across the country, in hiding most of the way because he is a deserter from the Confederate army, he is forced to learn to understand the land around him. But the land stands for more than just a place where the story is set. It reflects his moods and serves as a barometer for his psychological state. We know how Inman is feeling based on how he perceives the landscape around him. When Inman is angry or frightened, the land is harsh and frightening. After first escaping from the army hospital, these are his impressions of the land: It was a foul region, planed off flat except where there were raw gullies cut deep in the red clay. Scrubby pines everywhere. Trees of a better make had once stood in their place but had been cut down long ago, the only evidence of them now an occasional hardwood stump as big around as a dinner table ... What Inman wanted was to be out of there, but the river stretched wide before him, a shit-brown clog to his passage. As a liquid, it bore likeness more to molasses as it first thickens in the making than to water. He wished never to become accustomed to this sorry make of waterway. It did not fit his picture of a river. (Frazier 64) When he is happy and hopeful, he begins to see the beauty and the land is transformed into something soft and inviting. Meanwhile, Ada is a city woman who finds herself virtually alone in a rural setting, with only her friend Ruby to guide her. While Ada does not have to trek across great distances, she still has to make a journey. She must learn how to live off the land and fend for herself. When Ada is upset, the land is her enemy, something that is out to get her, which she must conquer if she is to live in Cold Mountain. As things get better, she learns to love the land and live as a part of nature. Her view of the landscape involves noticing all of the tiny details of the workings of nature: Ada stood still and let her eyes go unfocused, and as she did she became aware of the busy movements of the myriad tiny creatures vibrating all through the massed flowers, down the stems and clear to the ground. Insects flying, crawling, climbing, eating. Their accumulation of energy was a kind of luminous quiver of life that filled Ada’s undirected vision right to the edges. (Frazier 108) Frazier spends long passages throughout the book carefully detailing the qualities of the landscape. He describes a world of intense beauty and terrible harshness. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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