Monday, April 21, 2008

My Favorite Scene from Cold Mountain

I am writing this blurb for no other reason than because. It has no bearing on anything except it's a favorite scene from a pretty good (but very sad) movie.

My absolute favorite scene from the movie, "Cold Mountain" is where Ada Monroe is in her house playing the piano while her minister father is out in their yard working on his sermon for the following Sunday. As Ada is playing music she notices that it has begun to rain - hard. She calls for her father to come in but, as she looks to find why he is not answering, she sees that he had slumped over while sitting in his chair, dead. His heart had given out. The rain shower becomes a down pour as Ada runs to him, calling his name to no avail.

Why is this dreary scene my favorite? Because it shows a distinct part of 19th century life that so many of us in the 21st century cannot comprehend: total helplessness. If we see someone who needs immediate attention, we have the ability to whip out our cell phones and call an ambulance or the police and, within a matter of minutes, help has arrived.
Not so during the Civil War era (and before). What could Ada do? No phones or electronic communication of any sort. She couldn't drag him into the house - I'm sure she wouldn't be strong enough to do that, especially on wet grass. So she had to leave her father - a man she loved and admired dearly - out in the soaking rain. (The movie doesn't show this but I am sure, if something like this had actually happened, it was what she would have had to do).
Can you imagine what went through Ada's mind - that total helpless feeling?

This brings the hardships and survival skills of the era to life under no uncertain terms. It's what we Civil War reenactors/living historians emulate, to a certain extent, and attempt to portray in our impressions.
But, after a reenactment, we can go to our very modern homes. Ada (or an actual person of the time) could not - this was her life - it was all she knew.

Well, anyhow, I just thought I'd pass around that thought, which came to me during my work day today. I'm always thinking something about social history it seems.

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