This essay Snow Falling On Cedars has a total of 1064 words and 4 pages.
Snow Falling On Cedars
Racism is the notion that one’s own ethnic stock is superior to that of someone else’s. Most all racism is as result of ignorance. Racism can range from a simple comment to make another human being feel inferior, to complex actions that make others feel unwelcome in society because of who they are. The theme of racism can be seen throughout literature. In the murder mystery novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson, many examples of wartime racism are evident.
The novel is set on San Piedro Island off the coast of Washington in the year 1954. It is a place of “five thousand damp souls” (5). Kabuo Miyamoto, a member of the island\'s Japanese-American community, is on trial for the murder of Carl Heine, a fellow fisherman. Heine\'s boat was found drifting one morning, with his body entangled in a net. While the death initially appeared accidental, bits of circumstantial evidence that seemed to implicate Kabuo Miyamoto accumulated. Etta Heine, Carl’s mother, unjustly cheated Kabuo’s family out of some land during the war while the Miyamotos were incarcerated in a "relocation camp" in California. This provided motive for the apparent murder. Also, Carl’s traumatic head wound appeared suggestive of a Japanese kendo blow. Furthermore, Carl Heine\'s blood type was found on a wooden gaff on Kabuo Miyamoto\'s boat.
As the trial proceeded, the story of Carl, Kabuo, and what happened that night gradually evolved, as did the tale of Ishmael Chambers, the local newspaper reporter. Ishmael had a love affair with Kabuo\'s wife when they were both adolescents, just before the Japanese families were sent away in 1942. It was clear, however, that this was more than just a story of one man\'s guilt or innocence; it is a story of a community\'s fear and prejudice against the Japanese-Americans in the midst of a war. In fact, Guterson even tells the reader that Japanese people who were not American citizens were not even allowed to own property. “We gotta take this… All this stuff… There’s a war on and that’s the way it is… Any old country stuff we have to take” (196). Many of the things that the Japanese people were subjected to during the war were as result of ignorance.
Ignorance seems to be the clue to almost all of the occurrences of racism in the novel. During Kabuo’s trial, he chose to keep quiet instead of sticking up for himself because in his religion, it was better to die with honor. The white people did not understand his silence, so they chose to interpret it as admission of guilt. Also, Kabuo knew that “they’re going to want to see me hang no matter what the truth is…. They hate anyone who looks like the soldiers they fought” (391). That quote seemingly holds a lot of truth. Much of World War II was waged against Germany, and their persecution of the Jews. Ironically, the most vocal bigot in this story (Etta Heine) is not only of German descent, but was actually born in Germany. Yet, there appears to be no prejudice against Germans on San Piedro Island as a result of the War. This provides a strong argument to the idea that white people were racist towards Japanese people also because physically they looked different. In all of World War II, no person of Japanese ancestry living in the United States, Alaska, or Hawaii was ever charged with any act of espionage or sabotage. This fact is at very least disturbing. Because of the internment camps, Hatsue and Kabuo are forced to spent their wedding night in a public room with only a curtain, and a radio to stop the details of their evening from traveling through the thin walls. They have no choice on what to wear, eat, or do.
It is not only the Japanese who remember the horrors of the camps and the war. Ishmael Chambers, the embittered war veteran who runs the San Piedro Review lost his childhood love when the Japanese were herded up and taken to the internment camps. Ishmael is not an objective witness however. He grew up with Carl and Kabuo. He lost an arm in Tarawa to Japanese machinegun fire. Most important, Hatsue
Topics Related to Snow Falling On Cedars
Puget Sound, Snow Falling on Cedars, Hatsue, David Guterson, Ishmael, Racism
Essays Related to Snow Falling On Cedars
The Effects of MediaThe Effects of Media An image, disturbing to picture, of a child’s mind and inside the child’s mind is a schema of every concept the adolescent has ever taken in. A Nazi swastika symbolizes an evil hatred from history, the child has learned that prejudice is wrong. A mental picture of a young bride walking down an isle, the child knows marriage is sacred and that the woman can take pride in her white dress. A Coke bottle brings the sweetness of cola to the youth’s taste buds. This person was bio
AIDS And The BudgetAIDS And The Budget I DO NOT WANT TO DIE! I really don’t wanna die…….about 30 percent of people who have AIDS are diagnosed in their twenties, that means most were infected in their teens. (It Happened to Nancy) More and more people are being infected with the HIV virus everyday, and if we do not raise the budget, to provide and cure those with the disease, and try to prevent it, the whole country is going to be HIV positive. The cost of treating people with HIV is increasing by about 20% annual
Olmstead v. United States (1928)Olmstead v. United States (1928) Opinion delivered by Chief Justice Taft Vote: 5-4 Case reached Supreme Court by writ of certiorari. Facts: The evidence in the records discloses a conspiracy of amazing magnitude to import, possess, and sell liquor unlawfully. Involved were not less than fifty employees, two sea-going vessels for transportation of the goods to British Columbia, a ranch beyond the city limits of Seattle with a large underground cache to store the liquor, and many other caches arou
Olmstead v United StatesOlmstead v United States Olmstead v. United States (1928) Opinion delivered by Chief Justice Taft Vote: 5-4 Case reached Supreme Court by writ of certiorari. Facts: The evidence in the records discloses a conspiracy of amazing magnitude to import, possess, and sell liquor unlawfully. Involved were not less than fifty employees, two sea-going vessels for transportation of the goods to British Columbia, a ranch beyond the city limits of Seattle with a large underground cache to store the liquor, a
Laissez FaireLaissez Faire Laissez-Faire- A French phrase originating among the Physiocrats in the 18th century. Literally translated it means “let do,” and has been applied to the principal of the free enterprise system, having come to mean a hands-off policy by government with respect to business operation. The doctrine presupposes the existence of natural economic laws of thee market place which control the buying and selling of commodities, and assumes the existence of unfettered competition. Andrew Carn
David Guterson and His Use of the Theme of NatureDavid Guterson and His Use of the Theme of Nature David Guterson, a young American author, has written two major works regarding aspects of human nature and human emotions. His first publication, a collection of short stories, entitled The Country Ahead of Us, The Country Behind addresses some of the moral dilemmas that humans face throughout their lives. His first novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, narrates the trial of a Japanese man accused of murdering a white man in the post World War II era. T
David GutersonDavid Guterson David Guterson, a young American author, has written two major works regarding aspects of human nature and human emotions. His first publication, a collection of short stories, entitled The Country Ahead of Us, The Country Behind addresses some of the moral dilemmas that humans face throughout their lives. His first novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, narrates the trial of a Japanese man accused of murdering a white man in the post World War II era. Throughout his literary works, Guter
Bill GatesBill Gates 1955- Biography Bill Gates, an American business executive was born on October 28, 1955. He and his two sisters grew up in Seattle. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. Mary Gates, their late mother, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent and chairwoman of United Way International. Gates attended public elementary school before moving on to the private Lakeside School in North Seattle. It was at Lakeside that Gates began his career in personal comput
Ted Bundy: The Biography of a Serial KillerTed Bundy: The Biography of a Serial Killer March 11, 1999 INTRODUCTION University educated serial sex killer whose good looks and charm enabled him to lure at least 30 young women to their deaths. Handsome, intelligent, socially recognized, Ted Bundy had been a law student, Boy Scout, a college degree with a major in psychology, involved in a Washington State party politics, and even served as a counselor at the Seattle Crisis Center. The public personality of Ted Bundy suggested nothing of the
Bill GatesBill Gates There have been many successful and prosperous people in the twentieth century, who gathered vast and enormous fortunes over the course of their lifetimes. Not one, however, has ever come close of surpassing the wealth and abundance of a young baby-boomer by the name of William H. Gates III. This man gathered in less than two decades what the richest known men in history could not have accumulated in their entire lifetime. This man, commonly known as Bill Gates by over 85 percent of t
Russian MafiaRussian Mafia Protectionism in the New Capitalist Russia The Russian Mafia has always exercised an important role in the Russian economy. The contemporary mafiosi are descendents of the seventeenth Century highwaymen and Cossack robbers. These men occasionally murdered families prior to raids preventing them from being captured. The Russia mafiosi made a point to remain aloof from the state. Mob men were actually spurned when returning home from fighting in the Great Patriotic War. The gangs beg
Brittle StarBrittle Star BRITTLE STAR PHYLUM: Echinodermata SPECIES: Ophioderma panamense GEOGRAPHIC RANGE: From Peru and through Southern California HABITAT: They have been observed in the mid and low tide zones, abundant on the sea floor underneath rocks and in crevices and moving about tide pools and in available habitats in southern California NICHE: Omnivoire and filter feeder ADDITIONAL NOTES: Sometimes often called serpent starts due to their snake like movements. The mouth is located on the undersid