There is no hesitation whatsoever in emphatically stating that, even a superficial reading of “Odyssey” by Homer and “Cold Mountain” penned down by Charles Frazier would convince even the most skeptical that the latter has been inspired by the former! To put it in other words, the basic storyline of “Odyssey” and “Cold Mountain” is one and the same! It would now very much be appropriate in succinctly elaborating on as to how both the stories are similar. (1)
To begin with, in both “Odyssey” and “Cold Mountain”, the central characters of Odysseus and Inman, respectively, are soldiers who are away from their beloveds, on account of being involved in wars. Both the wife of Odysseus and also the lover of Inman are compelled to undergo lot of hardships, as their men were away from them. They were unprotected!! As a matter of fact, there is no hesitation in maintaining that the point discussed in this paragraph is a major similarity between both the stories. (1)
In “Cold Mountain” and as well as “Odyssey”, one gets to observe that most of the aforementioned hardships endured by ladies are in the form of getting unwanted male attention! In fact, both the stories speak volumes about the severe difficulties endured by womenfolk, when males of the households are away, waging wars with adversaries! (1)
It is but an irrefutable fact that another striking similarity between both the narrations is attributable to the fact that, both Inman and Odysseus are entailed to battle several grave hindrances, before they successfully get reunited with their beloved ladies! The long distances that they cover in reaching their destinations are amongst the most challenging of these hindrances. Also, the presence of Union Soldiers and home guard in “Cold Mountain” and, lotus eaters and giants who are cannibals in “Odyssey”, further aggravate things for the protagonists. But the crucial aspect to be noted is that, not withstanding all these perilous adversities, the brave soldiers (Inman and Odysseus) do manage to eventually reach the ladies! (1)
In both “Odyssey” and “Cold Mountain”, the central characters of Odysseus and Inman are men of cast iron will power! This is clearly evident when one notes the highly risky impediments that they defeat, for the purpose of meeting their beloveds after a long time span! All this is possible only for the people with highest possible levels of courage and power of will. And, this is what is seen in both the protagonists! (1)
It is rather interesting to note that, despite the fact that there is so much common between both the stories, Charles Frazier never ever mentioned that his story has been inspired from “Odyssey”. It is only people who have read both the stories are aware of this key aspect. Also, it needs to be highlighted that the only chief difference to be noted in both the stories is that, “Odyssey” was written about two-and-half millenniums ago, while ‘Cold Mountain” is closer to contemporary times. In fact, the latter (Cold Mountain) is against the backdrop of the 1940s.
Before concluding, it has to be said that it is difficult to be exhaustively analyzing the manner in which “Cold Mountain” includes ‘Odyssey” in a brief essay such as this one. Yet, a sincere attempt has been made to encompass the most salient of the pertaining points, with not the least among them being the focus on personalities of both the protagonists.
1) “The TRUE Story Behind Cold Mountain!!”, epinions.com/review/mvie_mu-1128336/content_130430045828?sb=1, Internet, Shopping.com Inc, 2012.
PS- I have used the above-mentioned source along with the PDF file uploaded by you.