The effect created in the passage from Cold Mountain leaves a profound effect on the reader. The author uses a multitude of connotative diction and specific word choices to describe setting, characters and moods. The mood is set off from the start and flows well into the end.
Charles Frazier uses detailed imagery when describing the house, the 3-legged dog, the knapsack and the smokehouse. When describing the house, he mentions that it is slanted, indicating that things are out of balance. The 3-legged dog also signifies an unbalance in the setting.He gives the home “toadlike” characteristics, describing that it is nasty, slimy and unpleasant. From this description, it gives the reader a mysterious and timid feeling from the beginning of the passage. To further emphasize this feeling, when describing the dog, Frazier explains that’s it comes out of its den like a wild animal and “snatches” its bone like a wolf. He further elucidates that it is a wild place with savage creatures that dwell within it.
Further in the passage, Frazier tells how Inman follows the dog to the back of the house onto the porch.Immediately, Inman begins to rummage around for a gun. He “thrusts” his arm through a wood stack to find the LeMat pistol. This gives the reader the impression that Inman is very angry, and wants to do something with the gun, such as seeking revenge. While the gun was in Inman’s hand, Frazier explains that it was like a tonic to feel the weight of the pistol. This also gives us an insight to how furious and angrily unstable Inman is. The author proceeds to describe the smokehouse, where Inman in headed to.
He describes the bayonet “stobbed” into the dirt floor, how packed the room was and how there was so much grease everywhere that the flame cast glints off it. This could easily be depicted as a parallel to describing hell in another fashion. Frazier details every action in this scene. For example, he explains how Inman steps into the light to be seen purposely, but how Junior doesn’t fully recognize him. The mood given to the reader in this section of the passage is suspenseful, as we know that Inman is furious and has a gun, unknowing of what will happen next.Frazier then tells how Inman instead of shooting and killing Junior, hits him repeatedly with the butt of the gun until he lay motionless. This has a profound effect on the reader giving insight that Inman was so enraged, that he felt the need to physically kill Junior to satisfy his revenge.
The mood quickly changes to brutality and malicious. The reader feels a sense of shock due to the viciousness of the murder. Frazier wraps up the passage by describing how the blood gathers in a pool around Junior on the “black earth” of the smokehouse floor.What can clearly be identified within the text is that Charles Frazier does just about everything perfectly to create the effect that the reader experiences. From the use of connotative diction to the vivid imagery created, Frazier excels in setting the tone of the passage to the reader. The sentence structure that the author chooses sets up the passage by separating up the three main events. Each event leads to the other cleanly and flows seamlessly.
Charles Frazier’s style of writing not only leaves an intense effect on the reader, but also manages to illustrate his work using words to make a clear visualization.
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