Cold mountain – Ruby’s past Essay
The events that occur in Ruby’s childhood allow her to become a strong independent woman who is able to fend for herself, due to having nobody to rely on throughout her life. Ruby had grew up without a mother and with a father that was a small-time criminal and drunkard who had no pride in himself. Stobrod wanted his daughter to take care of herself entirely on her own, so he let her figure out how to do that on her own too.
This is the reason why Ruby and Stobrod did not get along with each other, until the near end where they manage to reconcile their relationship, when they live and work together on the farm. The reason why they are able to live and work together is because of how they have changed over the course of their journeys in the novel. As Ruby and Ada learn from each other, they both learn to appreciate each others previous lifestyles. When Ruby first met Ada, she was very critical of the lifestyle Ada enjoyed back in Charleston.
After Ada’s description of a house party, Ruby ‘could only marvel at lives so useless that they required missing sleep and paddling about on the river for pleasure.’ Then Ada’s views on Ruby and her lifestyle, thinking ‘all Ruby’s talk was of exertion. Ruby’s monologues seemed composed mainly of verbs, all of them tiring.Plow, plant, hoe, cut, can, feed, kill’.
However soon Ada rises above sophistication and becomes a more enlightened, nurturing caretaker, who didn’t care about social status and learned to accept the relationships between humans and the natural world and comes to have that kind of relationship herself. As Ruby spends time around Ada, she learns to accept her father’s weaknesses as she learns and values things like reading, music and companionship and because she starts to value these things, she is able to start a relationship with her father, as she finds something to respect in her fathers musical talent. By composing fiddle music, Stobrod finds a way to give something back, its something he can apply himself to, something he is actually good at, this gives him a reason to feel worthy and to actually take pride in himself. On his journey Stobrod also comes to realize the value of family because of his journey, when he looked after Pangle, therefore Stobrod came back to Ruby.In the chapter ‘verbs, all of them tiring’, Frazier takes us back to when Ruby was just a child through a flashback when Ruby and Ada were talking about their pasts, curious to learn about each other.
One afternoon when Ruby had been looking for food, her dress was caught on a briar and she had to spend the whole night in the woods alone. Although she was alone she heard a voice that made her feel watched over, ‘But later she was spoken to by a voice from the dark. Its talk seemed to arise from the rush and splatter of the river noise, but it was no cannibal demon. It seemed some tender force of landscape or sky, an animal sprite, a guardian that took her under its wing and concerned itself with her well-being from that moment on.’ This made Ruby feel safe and she learned that she doesn’t have to be afraid of nature, in fact it has taught her that she can learn from nature and that nature is on her side, there to help and guide her, ‘concerned itself with her well being from that moment on’.
As Ruby works on the farm and on a farm you all your crops and vegetables. Right there you! see nature helping Ruby. Throughout her life Ruby has observed and is now able to understand nature and use it to her advantage, by being able to eat the things she grows and by looking at the sky she can tell if it’s going to rain or not and she can tell what season it is by seeing which crops are growing. Ruby possesses a store of knowledge about the natural world.
Quickly she learns and she is now able to teach Ada all of these things.Both Ruby and Ada have been motherless from the moment of their birth. As Ada grew up with only a father figure (Monroe), who was a great father, however growing up, Monroe influenced Ada with lots of education; however he didn’t teach her the necessary domestic skills she would need to help her survive on her own. Therefore when Ruby comes to help Ada, Ruby is able to teach Ada common things like how to grow things. Whilst Ada is learning these things, she reads to Ruby and teaches her to become more feminine. They are teaching each other constantly, whether they know they are teaching each other doesn’t matter, as they are both progressing in there journeys by mothering each other, learning to appreciate many more things