Snow Falling On Cedars

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In Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson explores many social problems that are important in Contemporary literature to inform readers about social issues that shape and relate to us, and help us understand our society now and how it has been throughout history. David Guterson said in an article that whilst writing Snow Falling on Cedars he felt a terrible ambition, and a will toward moral purpose. There are a variety of themes in this novel including how racism can undermine justice in a court of law. In outward appearances the novel appears to be about the murder trial of Kabuo Miyamoto, an American man of Japanese descent who is charged with the murder of Carl Heine a local salmon fisherman. The trial provides the basic structure for the…show more content…
Japanese-Americans just like the fictional equivalents in Snow Falling on Cedars were often victims of racial prejudice during the World War II period. When the attack on Pearl Harbor happened in 1941 the U.S. public viewed Americans of Japanese descent suspiciously. Despite the fact that two thirds of the Japanese-Americans were American born citizens and had only ever heard of Japan from their family members, more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were put into internment camps by the US Government in fear that they were more loyal to Japan than to the United States and would help Japan to plot additional attacks. These camps were places of hardship and poor living standards. When they were finally released from the camps, many families, just like the Miyamoto family, returned home to find that they had lost their jobs, properties, belongings, savings, and positions in their…show more content…
Such as the prejudice enshrined in law which forbade Japanese immigrants from owning land in the state of Washington. This law was repealed only shortly before the main events surrounding the trial occurred. It was this law that led to the conflict between Kabuo and Carl over the purchasing of land. When Kabuo returns from the internment to find that Etta has taken advantage of their absence sold his fathers acres to someone else he explains his feelings of mistreatment - "you haven't done anything illegal. -Wrong is a different matter." The post-war behavior is reflected in the book, it consisted of treating all Japanese-Americans as less than citizens. For example when Kabuo sits in the courtroom he is aware that he is not being seen and treated as a war veteran who has sacrificed for his country. He is being viewed as a Japanese man, a foreigner. Kabuo expresses this thought to his lawyer "We're sly and treacherous.. You can't trust a Jap, can you? This island's full of strong feelings, Mr. Gudmusson, people who don't often speak their minds but hate on the inside all the

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