David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars

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David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars

In the novel Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson, the main character Kabuo Miyamoto was charged with the crime of murder for the death of Carl Heine. Miyamoto was charged with a crime that he never committed. If Miyamoto was of any other ethnic origin than Japanese his innocence would never be questioned. Because of Miyamoto’s race it can be understood that it would be impossible for him to receive a fair trial. This statement made from a fictional book is supported by evidence from the time periods 1940-1955 in the U.S. in which existed a highly racially charged atmosphere.

To understand the fact that the mood of the novel was a very racially charged, the reader can reflect back to this time period in history and understand why it was so hard for Kabuo Miyamoto to receive a fair trial. One piece of historical evidence that show the racial animosity that majority of the population felt toward Japanese Americans the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In the early morning hours of December 7, 1941 the United States was deliberately attacked by the Empire of Japan (Shandley 5). Within a few hours the Japanese has destroyed a majority of the Pacific Fleet of the United States naval capacity (5). Yet to the average American they took much more. The attack drove the American way of life into that of xenophobic thought. Never before had the United States been invaded in such a was as the events of December 7. Americans, in shock, feared anyone that they believed as being “enemy alien”(Desai 2). The American government in an effort combat this fear and to resolve the chance of “Japanese Aggression toward the United States as a whole” enacted the Executive order 9066 (Desai ...

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...ne of the easiest ways to realized how Miyamoto was judged guilty so early on would be ask yourself a single question. How many pages would the novel Snow Falling on Cedars be if Kabuo Miyamoto was not a Japanese American, just a good old white, average, Joe Taxpayer?

Works Cited

Guterson, David. Snow Falling on Cedars. New York: Harcourt Brace &

Company, 1994.

Michalowski, Mark. "Concentration Camps." Online posting. May 1997.

America's Concentration Camps. 4/17/01.


Shandley, Elizabeth. "Landmark Race." Online posting. 1944. Korematsu v.

US. 4/17/01. <http://lawbooksusa.com/cconlaw/korematsuvus.htm

Desai, Jatin. "Pearl Harbor." Online posting. March 30, 2001. Pearl Harbor:

Remembered. 4/17/01. <http://www.execpc.com/~dschaaf/overview.html>.

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