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Title How Does The Writer Use Weather And Environment In The Novel? Short (1100 Words) Essay For Exam Practice.

1055 words - 4 pages

The novel is set on San Piedro Island, a small island north of Puget Sound in the Washington state area. The island setting is fitting in several ways. The people of San Piedro Island have everything they need on the island; they are self-sufficient. Additionally, on a small island like San Piedro everyone knows everyone else. This works well in a novel where history and relationships are integral to the story. The islanders are not simply neighbors, but employers and employees, family and friends, lovers and enemies. The relationships between the island citizens are intimate because of their proximity to each other. Arthur Chambers, the owner of the local island newspaper, finds the island lifestyle to be good and bad, good because people are careful not to step on each other's toes, but bad because many feelings are repressed to avoid creating tension and strife. But the reality is that tension is exactly what exists between the two races that inhabit the island. Both white and Japanese races have everything they need to sustain their own culture and way of life on the island, but each race is isolated and even seeks isolation from the other, just as the island is isolated from the mainland because of the surround waters. Guterson uses particularly bleak descriptions of the island to make it seem a remote place, though it does have a certain beauty in some descriptions.The young Ishmael and Hatsue end up in the cedar tree for the first time because a rainstorm drives them there. For Ishmael and Hatsue, the cedar tree is a sanctuary from society and the forces of prejudice that attempt to keep them apart. The smell of the cedars and the surrounding forest is very, very strong and Ishmael relates the smell to his experiences with Hatsue in the Cedar tree. The tree is the only place where they are free to express their love for each another. The tree seems to exist in a different world that is unaffected by chance, circumstance and other people's beliefs and attempts to control. The tree shelters Ishmael and Hatsue from storms both literal, such as the falling rain and snow, and figurative, such as war and prejudice. The tree's isolation, however, prevents the couple from living fully in the world and from accepting and acknowledging that life is not always fair. For Hatsue, in particular, the tree becomes a prison of deceit, leading her to believe in a relationship that is untenable in the face of the pressures of the outside world. The tree imprisons Ishmael in a similar fashion, keeping him in an unrealistically romantic relationship with Hatsue.The time period is also important. It is December 1954, less than a decade from the end of World War II. Fear, racism, and hatred of the Japanese are still fresh in the minds of many white Americans. One day of the trial takes place on December 7th, an important day in history, as it was on this date that Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbour. The Japanese in the novel are still seeking to...

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