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 representation of the society through the symbols it contains. The judge assigned to the trial is seemingly a man of virtue and good standing moral fiber. He has not succumbed to the immoral prejudice toward Kabuo because of his origins that the rest of the community so prevalently upholds. The courthouse as described thought imagery in the novel is seen as protection from the actual storm taking place outside, but in actually goes much deeper to represent protection from the storm that is brewing within the interracial community of San Piedro. The resentment between the cultures has been...