Snow Falling on Cedars

1146 Words5 Pages
Racism is a long-lasting critical issue that has been accustomed and instilled in the minds of individuals for centuries. While many measures have been taken to prevent the desensitizing effects of racism, its controversy spurs from the environmental effects that formulate an individual’s perception. In his novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson communicates how racism and its effects can alter an individual’s life through the events of past experiences. Guterson illustrates this message through the development of various characters that possess alternating racist ideologies through a young and mature Ishmael, Etta Heine, Fujiko and Mrs. Shigemura, Horace Whaley’s extreme sense of racism, the internment of the Japanese culture, as well as Arthur Chambers and Carl Heine’s value of equality. In Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson utilizes psychoanalytic and discriminatory criticism as well as effective writing styles to convey racist ideologies that are formed in the minds of individuals as well as groups of people, in a balanced form, through the notion that humans will always be shaped by their experiences.

Ishmael Chambers’ experience with Japanese-Americans, as a child and adult, led to opposing emotions in relation to certain past transgressions. Ishmael and Hatsue’s young friendship blossomed into a romantic affair as they express their love under the cedar tree. At this point in the novel, Ishmael admired Hatsue and her culture, supporting the Japanese and expressing his love for her,

“They had passed autumn afternoons when they were nine years old in the hollowed-out base of a cedar tree, where they sprawled on the ground looking out at the rain as it pummeled the sword ferns and ivy. At school they were stran...

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...nd negative attributes after his rejection and war experiences.

Works Cited

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

"Kendo." Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre . N.p., n.d. Web. 8 June 2014. .

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Routledge, Clay . "Exploring the psychological motives of racism." More Than Mortal. N.p., 31 July 2010. Web. 30 June 2014. .
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