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David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars: Racism in the Law

Powerful Essays
David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars: Racism in the Law

Throughout history mankind as a whole has been afraid of things that were different. This is especially true in a world so rich in racial diversity. People are afraid of those who look different, speak different, or act differently than they do. The award-winning novel Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson shows just how difficult it can be to live in a society that discriminates against those who are different and stereotyped based on other people’s actions. Having a father as a lawyer and gaining inspiration from Harper Lee’s award winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird Guterson was able to make a very accurate reenactment of a trial of a Japanese-American in the time period from 1940 to 1955, the era of World War 2. Japanese-Americans lived their lives in fear because the world they lived in saw them as the enemy. Even worse is that Japanese-Americans were round up and put into internment camps in the name of National security. If a government could be so cruel as to imprison its own people for no other reason than that of their descent then how could a Japanese-American get a fair trial? The answer is that a Japanese-American could not get a fair trial in that time because of the racism present in the hearts of non Japanese-Americans as well as in the courts across the Nation.

The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, “A date which will live in infamy” (Wilson). The Japanese launched a surprise attack against the United States and sent massive amounts of aircraft out to destroy the U.S. Fleet. At 7:55am “the first wave of 183 planes”, and at 9:00am “the second wave of 167 planes” attacks Pearl Harbor (Wilson). “They bombed Pearl Harbor. Japs...

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...otten a fair trial.

Citations

Blossom, Summer ED. "Outcast Americans." The American Magazine May 1943: 30-31

Conrat, Maisie and Richard Conrat. "EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066." The Internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans. . UCLA Asian American Studies Center Publication. 19 April 2001. <http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/aasc/ex9066/>.

Fey, Harold E. ED. "Racism in the Constitution." The Christian Century 03 January 1942: 8.

Guterson, David. Snow Falling on Cedars. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.

Hamilton, Frederick L.. "How You Look to the Japs." The American Magazine May 1942: 158.

High, Stanley. "Japanese Saboteurs in Our Midst." Reader's Digest January 1942: 14-15.

Mydams, Carl. "How to Tell Your Friends from the Japs." Time 22 December 1941: 33.

Wilson, Nick. A Day of Infamy. 2000. 19 April 2001 <http://www.adayofinfamy.com/>.
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