Cold Mountain is poetry in prose, and the examples of this are infinite. Every character met is described down to the last hair on their head; the war-torn countryside still lives on for Inman to relive and Ada to discover. The field burning, the sunrises and sunsets, the rivers flowing and the eternal rocks and trees that make up the landscape are all characters in themselves.
The definition of the word ‘poetry’ is allusive to say the least. Those in dictionaries run in circles from defining a poet as ‘one who writes poetry’ to defining a poetry as ‘the work of a poet’. It is more conclusive therefore, to describe what the poets themselves are aspiring to create: Coleridge distinguishes between prose – ‘the best words’- and poetry – ‘the best words in the best order’ – while Wordsworth said that poetry is ‘the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge.’ Therefore it is difficult to distinguish between the exact difference between prose and poetry. In some instances, such as translating foreign poetry, it has proved more satisfying to convert the poetry into prose to convey the meaning without worrying about the metre, which is often lost in translation anyway. However, ‘Cold Mountain’ is clearly one of the chosen few novels written in prose with poetic style. By describing scenes, be they uplifting or disturbing, in an innovative, different, detailed style, Frazier succeeds in surpassing other novels in library brilliance and ingenuity.
From the first few words of the first chapter, the reader is captured. Different, or unusual words are used to describe what they do not usually do – morning ‘gesturing’, for instance, morning is not normally thought of as a gesture, b…
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…head; the war-torn countryside still lives on for Inman to relive and Ada to discover. The field burning, the sunrises and sunsets, the rivers flowing and the eternal rocks and trees that make up the landscape are all characters in themselves. Frazier conveys his love of the land through every word of ‘Cold Mountain’ and uses unusual adjectives or verbs to explain his sight from a different angle. (This is illustrated on page 215 as Inman is wedded to Lila; she ‘described little delighted circles in the dirt’.) Matthew Arnold states that ‘genuine poetry is conceived and composed in the soul’, and Frazier has simply shared this genuine classic to give a hauntingly true-to-life insight in to the search for the American Dream, based on his own experience of the Appalachian Mountains.
Frazier, Charles. Cold Mountain. New York: Vintage Books, 1998.
Buck of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild
Buck of The Call of the Wild
The main character of the novel, The Call of the Wild, is a St. Bernard and Scotch Shepherd mix, named Buck. As I read the book, I found out that Buck can be very loyal and trustworthy to his master, if his master is loyal to him. Also, at times I found that Buck could turn into an enraged beast very easily.
At home, which was a large house called Judge Miller’s Place, in the sun kissed Santa Clara Valley in California, Buck ruled over all of the dogs that were there. Buck was Judge Miller’s inseparable companion, until a man named Manuel, who was one the gardener’s helpers, committed a treacherous act. In order to cover his Chinese lottery gambling debts, he stole Buck from his sound sleep and brought him to a flag station called College Park. There, the exchanging of money took place. Buck was loaded onto an express car to Seattle. On his way to Seattle, he found that a man in a red sweater repeatedly beat him. From then on, I knew that Buck would never forget that experience. In that part of the book, I found out that Buck was now an enraged animal and could only be tamed by repeatedly being hit with a club or a whip.
At this point of the book, I was thinking about Judge Miller. He would’ve sent out a message or an investigation in order to find Buck. Because Judge Miller had a big house to live in, the book implied that he was wealthy. The trip to Seattle must of taken days and by then, Judge Miller would’ve been worried sick about his inseparable companion. As the story goes on, Buck’s first experience of snow left him feeling pretty stupid. When the train got to the station in Seattle, two men named Perrault and Francois bought him. Then, they put him on a ship called the Narwhal. At this point of the book, I was thinking about the cruelty of animals and how the humans treated them. It was cruel, but I guess they didn’t care.
The Narwhal took Buck to the Yukon where he was trained to be a
sled dog. There were other dogs that Buck had grown to know well during his training.