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"Snow Falling On Cedars" By David Guterson A Discussion Of Some Literary Techniques Used In The Novel.

1157 words - 5 pages

The novel "Snow falling on cedars" by David Guterson is an excellent literary example wherein the author has made use of several literary techniques. These techniques have been effectively placed throughout the novel and help in moving the story forward. Even more importantly, the literary devices used by the author complement the various themes in the novel, like the discrimination in society and the internal war of the two war veterans - Kabuo Miyamoto and Ishmael Chambers. The three main literary techniques and devices that are worthy of discussion are the use of motifs, symbolism and allegory. These techniques have been used intelligently by Guterson and there are several instances of the same throughout the course of the novel. Let's discuss them one at a time.A motif is a literary technique that is used in a lot of literary works and is very important to novels. A motif is a technique wherein in specific words or phrases reappear several times in the text and help complement the central themes of the novel. This is very much like the theme, but the difference being that the theme is a statement whereas motifs can be words or phrases used to represent objects or specific incidents from the novel.In "Snow Falling on cedars", the storm is one such motif that affects the understanding of various aspects of the novel, like the characters, the society and the courtroom. The rainstorm was what made Ishmael and Hatsue meet inside the hollow cedar for the first time as lovers, when "[Ishmael] saw that Hatsue was ... no matter how long he lived."(Guterson 110-112). The storm affected the Japanese-Americans at the concentration camps and Ishmael and other soldiers during the battle which cost Ishmael his arm . The storm is actually shown to be occurring throughout the course of the trial. "A blizzard like this one did not come ... that constituted island news."(Guterson 312-313). Therefore, along with affecting the characters, the author uses the storm to convey how the power of humans is very limited against nature's fury.Courtroom novels often use testimonies to power the narrative. Testimonies are important motifs in this novel as well. Various characters like Art Moran , Hatsue , Kabuo , Susan Marie Heine , Etta Heine and Horace Whaley testify in the court. Their testimonies move the story forward by providing the facts, different interpretations and their biases. Thus, Guterson has intelligently inserted this motif into the narrative to let the story create at richly weaved and conflicting picture of the condition in San Piedro.Another literary technique that the author has used in this novel is symbolism. Symbols are objects, characters, or places in a novel that convey abstract themes from the novel, much like metaphors and opposite in length to analogies. There is a lot of symbolism used in "Snow falling on cedars". The novel is of the grim type and deals with a lot of conflicts that seem to bring events and characters together towards the...

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