Snow Essay, Research Paper

The novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson, gives some

examples on how past events can effect a community. In 1954 on an island near Seattle, this

novel describes the trail of a Japanese American fisherman accused of murdering a white

colleague. The only one who can prove that the Japanese man, Kabou Miyanut, is innocent is his

wife?s childhood love is still in love with her. The novel explores how this conflict interferes

with justice.

This book takes place after World War II in a small town, filled with middle

class, hard working people. The people for the most past are fishermen or family farmers,

strawberry farms owned by a family were common. The people who lived in San Piedro were

mixed racially though. For the most part, the people were white, many of whom were of Bavarian

decent, and the other were common. The people who lived in San Piedro were mixed racially

though. For the most part, the people were white, many whom were of Bavarian decent, and

other were of Japanese decent. The Japanese in the town were looked down upon, and were not

considered citizens. They were also not permitted to own land. As World War II progressed, and

the United States was in war with Japan, and when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, the Japanese

people of San Piedro were scorned. Many of the Japanese were thought to be spies and were

deported to a camp in Seattle, Washington, were they could be watched to make sure no

espionage could take place. After World War II and the Japanese were allowed to return to their

homes, they were still scored and looked upon for being Japanese. The past events are effecting

a trial of an innocent man accused of murder. They can not appreciate the good things that the

families have done.

Amand comments,?From the first push of immigration, when poor Japanese took

over the manual labor of the island, raising raspberries and strawberries on fertile soil, to the

mounting tensions leading up to Pearl Harbor, the German-Dutch immigrants took upon the

Japanese with trepidation and fear, tinged with the sentiment of superiority?

Ishmael Chambers, a is a white newspaper reporter for the trail. He also grew up upon

San Piedro Island. In his past, he had a forbidden relationship with a Japanese woman name

Halsue. Ishmael and Halsue would meet alone in a hollowed cedar tree.

The critic, Amand, comments on, ?The puppy love between Hatsue and Ishmael

touchingly and easily rendered by Guterson, in an impossible one. Both of their parents forbid the

union. The hollowed-out base of the cedar tree where they meet in secret becomes a trope of their

relationship. The smell and green moss serve as bed and bedroom for their ?marriage?.?

Ishmael Chambers struggles with his feelings during the whole book. He still loves and has

feelings for her but she has moved on with her life and has a husband with three kids. He tries to

find out information on for the trial, but he sees Hatsue and realizes that he still loves her. At one

point during the book Ishmael has a flashback that he is in love with Hatsue. On page 94,

?Ishmael Chambers, watching Hatsue, remembered digging geoduct clams with her below the

bluff at South Beach. Hatsue, carrying a garden shovel and a metal pail rusted through in its

bottom, dripped water behind her as she walked the tide flat, she was fourteen and wore a black

bathing suit.?

Another reason why Ishmael struggles with his feelings is because he has lost his arms, during

the war. He was drafted to help serve his country to fight against the Japanese, and now he is

disabled physically. Towards the end, Ishmael finds out information that could break the case, and put a new man on trail. Throughout the book he has a conflict, because of his feelings

towards Hatsue. He isn?t sure to do the right thing because that means if he does the right they

Hatsue?s husband does not go t o jail. At the end Ishmael does the right thing and tells the truth.

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