Snow Falling On Cedars

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Snow Falling On Cedars


Stranger In The Kingdom

	When I first read Howard Frank Mosher’s novel Stranger In The Kingdom I was astonished that something like that took place in Vermont. I have always been under the misconception that racism isn’t extremely prevalent in our local culture today. Once again my white American’s views were challenged when I read Snow Falling On Cedars, by David Guterson. The two books seem to me to be exactly the same story, only they occur about forty years apart from each other. The book are so synonymous with each other, that most of the characters are comparable.

	As the story of David Guterson’s book unfolds, we find ourselves looking through the eyes of a man that has lived on the island for most of his life. His name is Ishmael Chambers. Ishmael seems to be a perceptive child, and soon gets to know one of the island’s many Japanese girls, named Hatsue. As fate would have it, they fall in love with each other in Shakespeare-like-fashion. The problem of them coming from two different races of people forces them to be secretive about their relationship. When Hatsue is forced to move away because of WWII regulations, she ends her relationship with Ishmael, sending him into a life filled with jealousy and grief.

Howard Frank Mosher paints the same portrait for us, only in a more commonly know setting. A black man and his son are cognizant of their color when they are forced to live in a town of solely white people. As the murder trial unfolds, we find out that the man’s son also has been having a relationship such as the one Ishmael and Hatsue had. He had been having "relations" with a white mail-order bride that had just arrived in town. They kept this secret because of the obvious problems it would have caused with the bigoted townspeople. In both stories, a love between two different people has evolved. Similar to each story the only reason the two young people were separated was due solely on the race and social standing. (The similarity to Romeo and Juliet here is amazing. I am beginning to think that all modern love stories are based on that play; West Side Story.) I believe that stories such as these will continue to happen indefinitely in the future.

	Ever since Columbus first set foot on the New World, racism and prejudice has been an issue.
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