Snow Falling On Cedars "More Than Just A Murder Trial" 1922 Words

1922 words - 8 pages

The statement that Snow falling on cedars is "more than just a murder trial" is definitely true as it is in essence a murder mystery but encompasses much more that a simple murder trial. The story itself is based around the death of a local fisherman named Carl Heine and the accusation and subsequent murder trial of Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese-American who is also a fisherman and, like Carl, a war veteran. This forms the platform for the plot but the whole story entails much more. The trial is the basis for the story but there are many sub-plots and individual stories in the novel from which the author branches out in several directions giving detailed description of all the smaller and sometimes subtle aspects of the novel.The story is set on a small and remote island named San Piedro, a small fishing community of five thousand people with a single town named Amity harbour. It has a ferry terminal, a salmon factory and just a single street with shops and businesses on it. It is described as a beautiful place with picturesque green rolling hills and lush green forests with fields of strawberries and blueberries dotted throughout. The impression given by the author is that it is a sleepy, slow moving kind of place where the people all know one another. The isolation of the island gives rise to the situation where all the residents keep mostly to themselves to avoid confrontation, as they do not want to make enemies in such a small and intimate community.I think that the vivid description given of San Piedro is an interesting location to set a murder mystery. The fact that it is set in such an unusual place allows the author freedom to expand on the detail of settings in the story not directly associated with the focal point of the story. He does this by painting a detailed picture in the reader's mind of all the places and settings that the story takes place. These descriptions range from the town itself its courtroom and the character's homes to the forest, fields and roadways of the island. All of the places in the story that are integral to the plot often even have the smell and feel of them illustrated. This attention to the depiction of visual and other senses is highly unorthodox for a murder mystery and I believe it adds unusual degree of depth that makes it much more than a classic murder mystery. The combination of the isolation of the island the attention to detail given to the settings and landscapes involves San Piedro so much into the storyline that it becomes a large part of the story. Many of the settings that the characters are placed in add to the scene substantially and some would not exist at all without them. A perfect example of this is the large snowstorm that is present for much of the novel. It shows the ability that nature has to wreak havoc with the human way of life. This is shown and described really well in the range of scenes in which the effects of the storm are noticed. Scenes where things have gone unavoidably wrong...

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