Critical Response to David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars Essay

Critical Response to David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars Essay

Length: 1242 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Critical Response to David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars

David Guterson's novel Snow Falling on Cedars undoubtedly holds high acclaim in its reputable attempt to show the prejudice between the Americans and Japanese after World War II and more importantly the prejudice that is unavoidably apart of human nature. The author of the criticism recognizes and brings to light the things done by Guterson throughout the novel. He refers to the animosity between people brought about by differences, the unwillingness to accept change, and also states that things end in a moral and justified manner.
The author refers to “old passions, prejudices, and grudges” surfacing throughout the novel taking place off the Washington coast. In referring to “old passions” the although beings up a valid point of the passion that exists between Ishmael and Hatsue, although it is not necessarily “old” as Ishmael is still vibrantly in love with Hatsue throughout the novel up until the very end. Their so called passion begins in the cedar tree where they spend their childhood escaping from the prejudices of society, but form a passionate connection that cannot be broken. Referring to the “prejudices and grudges” the author is most evidently talking about the resentment between the Heine and Miyamato families regarding the purchase of Ole Jugersons land. The grudge aroused because the land rightfully belongs to the Miyamatos as they had it land leased but when the Japanese were sent to internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor there became confusion. Out of this confusion the land ended up in the hands of Carle Heine. If the land dispute would have been between two similarly colored people it would not have been as significant. Being between the Japanese and American protagonists it becomes an issue of prejudice rather than ownership as Karl, the ideal white male, keeps land from the hard-working Japanese who fought for a countries freedom in which he is not even viewed as equal. The simplistic idea of land ownership boils down to a much more complicated issue of the impurities of American democracy.
The author also refers to Gutersons courtroom, where the entire novel takes place, as being “cleverly constructed.” In doing so he alludes to the imagery portrayed through the novel by Guterson, which gives life to the seemingly standard courtroom making it a clear repr...


... middle of paper ...


...as a possible motive, points to Kabuo as the murderer. Meanwhile, Hatsue Miyamoto, Kabuo's wife, is the undying passion of Ishmael Chambers, the publisher and editor of the town newspaper. Ishmael, who returned from the war minus an arm, can't shake his obsession for Hatsue any more than he can ignore the ghost pains in his nonexistent arm. As a thick snowstorm whirls outside the courtroom, the story is unburied. The same incidents are recounted a number of times, with each telling revealing new facts. In the end, justice and morality are proven to be intimately woven with beauty--the kind of awe and wonder that children feel for the world. But Guterson communicates these truths through detail, not philosophical argument: Readers will come away with a surprising store of knowledge regarding gill-netting boats and other specifics of life in the Pacific Northwest. Packed with lovely moments and as compact as haiku--at the same time, a page-turner full of twists.




Works Cited
Guterson, David. Snow Falling on Cedars. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. 75-428.

"Snow Falling on Cedars." Kirkus Reviews. 24 Mar. 2005 < .

Snow Falling on Cedars. Sparknotes. 24 Mar. 2005 .

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

- 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....   [tags: Snow Falling Cedars David Guterson]

Free Essays
1357 words (3.9 pages)

David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars Essay examples

- David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars The early 1940’s were tough times for many Japanese living in America. This is all due to the Japanese and American conflict in World War II, after Japan decided to bomb Pearl Harbor. After this incident many Japanese-Americans were discriminated against and were thought of as bad Japanese instead of the Americans they were. A lot of these Japanese-Americans were unfairly sent to internment camps in the United States. This is also true of the incidents that take place in the fictional novel Snow Falling On Cedars, by David Guterson....   [tags: Guterson Snow Falling Cedars Essays]

Strong Essays
1063 words (3 pages)

David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars Essay

- David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars Snow Falling on Cedars, a novel written by David Guterson, depicts the struggles that many Japanese-Americans faced in our country throughout World War II. Though the events and characters in this novel are fictional, the manor in which they were treated was not. Ever since the tragedy of December 7, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese people throughout the United States were seen as traitors through the eyes of Americans. Every Japanese, whether or not they were a natural born citizen or an illegal alien, were all treated as a possible threat to the safety and well being of the United States....   [tags: Snow Falling on Cedars David Guterson Essays]

Strong Essays
1389 words (4 pages)

Essay David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars

- David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars The beginning of World War II caused many Americans to spawn a deep hatred against anyone of Japanese decent. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, fear of the Japanese emerged in hearts all across America. White Americans felt threatened by Japan. The fear of Japan created a fear of its people and this fear created severe prejudice against anyone who looked like the “enemy.” During the war, and for many years after, Japanese Americans were victims of this fear....   [tags: David Guterson Snow Falling Cedars Essays]

Strong Essays
1245 words (3.6 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: Guterson Snow Falling Cedars Essays]

Strong Essays
1888 words (5.4 pages)

David Guterson's Snow Falling on a Race Essay examples

- David Guterson's Snow Falling on a Race The novel Snow Falling on Cedars, written by David Guterson, is about the events that occurred during Pearl Harbor. The novel focuses on the trials and tribulations that the Japanese race had to deal with in America. During the war there were many American concentration camps that held Japanese and Japanese-Americans. The novel is about a Japanese man who is on trial for a murder that he did not commit. The novel exploits all of the fallacies of Japanese treatment, which nearly led to the conviction of an innocent man....   [tags: Racism Japanese Japan Guterson Essays]

Strong Essays
1331 words (3.8 pages)

Kabuo Assumed Guilty Because of Japanese Heritage in Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

- Kabuo Assumed Guilty Because of Japanese Heritage in Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson In the novel, Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, Kabuo Miyamoto is arrested for murder without any substantial evidence. He was charged with a crime he did not commit. He was accused based strictly on his race. Kabuo’s trial was unfair because there was racial conflict with the Japanese following World War II. The racial conflict with Japanese-Americans began when the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor....   [tags: Snow Falling Cedars David Guterson Essays]

Free Essays
1339 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Racial Prejudice in David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars

- Racial Prejudice in David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars 'It's not one ocean,' said Hatsue. 'It's four oceans...They're different from each other.' 'Well how are they different?' 'They just are.' (Guterson 97). Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson's award winning novel, is set on an island in Puget Sound in the early 1950's. It is a story of the racial prejudice that was felt so strongly against Japanese Americans immediately before, during and after WWII. Kabuo Miyamoto, the man accused of murdering Carl Heine, would never have received a fair trail, had it not been for Ishmael's late introduction of crucial evidence and Judge Fielding's morally right choice....   [tags: Snow Falling Cedars Essays]

Strong Essays
1776 words (5.1 pages)

Essay about David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars

- David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars The years 1940 through 1955 portray a time in America’s history when many Americans harbored a strong fear and distrust for Americans of Japanese descent. A closer look at this dark period for America reveals how the fictional character Kabou Miyamoto, in David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars could easily have been presumed guilty of murder simply because of his Japanese ancestry. Historical documentation can be related to the events in the novel to help explain the mindsets of the characters and to understand why the town suspects Kabou of this crime and then precedes to issue a charge of guilty....   [tags: Japanese History Snow Falling Cedars Essays]

Strong Essays
1730 words (4.9 pages)

Powerful Imagery and Settings in David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars

- Powerful Imagery and Settings in David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars Snow Falling on Cedars, a novel by David Guterson, is a post World War II drama set in 1954 on the island of San Piedro in Washington State. The story’s focal point is the murder trial of Kabuo Miyamoto, who is accused of killing a fellow islander, Carl Heine, Jr., supposedly because of an old family feud over land. Although the trial is the main focus of the story, Guterson takes the reader back in time through flashbacks to tell a story of forbidden love involving two young islanders, Ishmael Chambers and Hatsue Imada (Kabuo’s future wife)....   [tags: Snow Falling Cedars]

Strong Essays
1482 words (4.2 pages)