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Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

analytical Essay
1357 words
1357 words
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Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson gives readers an idea of what it was like to be Japanese in the 1940’s and 50’s. In our nation at that time, much of the population felt that Japanese and Japanese Americans could not be trusted. Americans did not like the immigrants coming here and taking jobs that were once theirs. Last, of course, the evacuation and containment of the Japanese and even Japanese American citizens made it clear that America did not trust them. Prejudice against Japanese and Japanese Americans was most prominent in the western states, more specifically California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Nevada. These also happen to be the states most populated by people of Japanese descent. The disproportion can be seen in a poll taken in December of 1942 by the American Institute of Public Opinion. When asked “Do you think the Japanese who were moved inland from the Pacific Coast should be allowed to return to the Pacific Coast when the war is over?” Seventeen percent nationally said they “Would allow none to return,” whether they were citizens or not. In the western states, nearly twice as many felt this way, an astonishing 31 percent (Merrick 207). This data does not show, however, whether the inlanders were less prejudiced or merely wanted to send the Japanese back to the West. It seems the war was an excuse to lock these people away for a while. Discrimination existed long before the war began with a swift attack on Pearl Harbor. Interestingly, Hawaii had few racial problems, despite being at the site of the devastation. People often fear what they do not understand. Why did Germans and Italians not experience such distinct discrimination? European culture is fairly similar to American culture; it is, after all, where most of American culture and inhabitants came from. The Japanese, on the other hand, have severely different customs than the United States, customs that must have been hard for people to understand or value. Many White people saw the quiet reserve of the Japanese descendants as an indication of a cold, heartless, unfeeling person. To Caucasians, dark faces with slanted eyes were something they could not understand; and therefore, could not trust.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how snow falling on cedars by david guterson gives readers an idea of what it was like to be japanese in the 1940s and 50s. the evacuation and containment of the japanese and japanese american citizens made it clear that america did not trust them.
  • Explains that prejudice against japanese and japanese americans was most prominent in the western states, including california, oregon, washington, arizona, and nevada.
  • Explains that european culture is similar to american culture, but the japanese have different customs than the united states. white people saw the quiet reserve of japanese descendants as an indication of a cold, heartless, unfeeling person.
  • Analyzes how the american public was filled with propagandist ideas, characterizing the japanese as sly and untrustworthy. these films and brochures did not show the enormous amounts of japanese americans who signed up to fight for the united states of america against her enemies.
  • Explains that the most obvious discrimination against japanese and japanese americans was the war relocation effort. they were removed from "military areas" and detained in internment camps, without having committed any crime.
  • Explains that the shortage of workers resulting from the absence of japanese labor became so great that 9,000 detainees were released to work in agriculture, where they were commended for their hard work.
  • Analyzes how kabuo miyamoto is presumed guilty by the jurors because he is not a man that can be trusted.
  • Analyzes the poor treatment of japanese americans in guterson's book. in the courtroom, there was no written law directing asians to the rear seats.
  • Analyzes how zenhichi's plans for his son kabuo, an american born nisei, were ruined when his family was swept away to the manzanar internment camp.
  • Analyzes how arthur chambers supported the japanese americans in his newspaper and often cited their good works even more than their caucasian counterparts.
  • Analyzes how snow falling on cedars gives us a realistic look into life of the fictional kabuo miyamoto.
  • Cites guterson, david, and mcwilliams, carey, in korematsu v. united states: murphy dissenting.
  • Cites oakie, john h., “japanese in the united states.” far eastern survey, 26 jan 1942, 11.2:23-26.
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