Connecting Characters


Charles Frazier, author of the novel Cold Mountain, creates three main characters with purposes and personalities similar to those of three main characters in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Ruby, Ada, and Inman, all of Cold Mountain, share significant character traits with Pearl, Reverend Dimmesdale, and Hester, all of The Scarlet Letter.
Ruby and Pearl possess many similar character traits, but they use them for different purposes. Both are defiant and strong-willed, with fiery spirits that contribute to the brightness of each novel. Ruby, an invaluable part of Ada's life in Cold Mountain, is purposefully named after a precious jewel. She is a stimulant for Ada's growth and happiness. Pearl, of The Scarlet Letter, is also given her symbolic name because she was 'purchased' at a great price, being "all she (Hester) had" (23). Pearl gave Hester a reason to live even when her life was ruined. Not only do the two females possess symbolic names, but also each symbolizes a suppressed part of someone else in the novel. Ruby is the outward strength and bravery that Ada has deep inside, and Pearl is the obvious sin that her mother tries to forget but cannot because of her daughter. Both Ruby and Pearl are stimulants in their novels, giving someone else something to reach for.
Another set of character connections made by Hawthorne and Frazier, Ada and Reverend Dimmesdale are both inward sufferers of their respective novels. Though they are quiet and spiritually strong, both are deserted either physically or psychologically by the one they love. Ada is reluctantly left by Inman, who goes to war, leaving her alone on a farm with her dying father. Ada loses much of her strength when Inman leaves, and pines for him the entire time he's gone. Dimmesdale is bitterly abandoned by Hester, who holds the secret that they share. He loves her, though he cannot show it, and this contributes to his death. Ada and Dimmesdale both contain an emptiness that adds to the tension in the novel.
Inman and Hester, another set of examples of character connections, are both the foundations of their novels. Inman is determined to regain the love and companionship of Ada, and Hester is adamant in finding peace in her life in order to shed the punishment and ridicule that follows her everywhere. Inman makes a trying and dangerous journey home to Ada, showing his bravery and the deep love that he held deep inside of himself for so long. Like Inman in her perseverance, Hester finally sheds her scarlet letter 'A', and returns home to counsel those in need of her wisdom. Though Inman and Hester employ their strength in different ways, both are essential bases to their own novel. They are the openly suffering characters in their novels, and they overcome their grief.
Both Cold Mountain and The Scarlet Letter, though different in most aspects, contain characters that are connected to each other. All play crucial roles in their respective novels, and mirror each other in distinctive ways. Frazier and Hawthorne employ similar writing techniques to create entertaining characters.