World War Ii

The historical-fiction mystery novel, “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson, was published for the first time on September 9th, 19554. The book begins in 1954, the story opens with a Japanese man, Kabuo Miyamoto, on trial for the murder of a white man, Carl Heine. A lot of the story is told through various character’s memories. I think “Snow Falling on Cedars” was an excellent book.

David Guterson portrays the many struggles that Japanese-Americans encountered in our country during World War II. Even though the events and characters in, “Snow Falling on Cedars”, are fictional, the treatment that Japanese Americans received was not. Because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese people all throughout the United States were being viewed as traitors by Americans. Japanese were treated like threats. Kabuo Miyamoto, was being put on trial for murder in this novel and had to endure this jaring reality of racism that was diseasing his town. And because Japanese Americans were considered guilty by race, so was Kabuo Miyamoto. His Japanese background alone was plenty to convince the town of his guilt. Kabuo had to brave this harsh reality and the biased court system, giving him little to no chance at a fair trial.

On the surface, “Snow Falling on Cedars” is a novel about the murder trial of Kabuo Miyamoto, charged with murdering Carl Heine, a fellow fisherman; but, the trial is really just providing the framework to form an analysis the effects that the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans had during World War II on the people of the small island in the Pacific northwest, San Piedro Island. “Snow Falling on Cedars” begins in present-day 1954, during the beginning of Kabuo's trial, but the narrative moves forward and backwards in time, showing the characters lives and memories from World War II. Although the trial only takes some where around three days, but the novel expands to the pre-war, World War II, and post-war eras. The novel inspects all of the different results of the war, including; the difficulties of race, along with the mystery of human behavior. “Snow Falling on Cedars” is filled with murder mystery and courtroom drama, along with providing it’s readers with a story of a unfortunate love affair. Overall, with the text taken as a whole this novel was very captivating and I believe is a reflection of preconception and justice as well as the repercussions that they cause each other.

The purpose of writing, Snow falling on Cedar is to show the injustices that happened in the World War II era and how that and prejudice affect people. The author's mood continues to fluctuate from a frightening and sometimes even depressing tone to be at times a mood of hope and happiness. The tone has a strong judgment of the trial and gives a heavy tone of lost love between Kabuo’s wife and the reporter. Guterson uses an effective technique to shift the point of view throughout his novel to shape and reveal new information. Most of the information given to the reader is usually unknown to all the other characters, creating more suspense in his novel; keeping the reader engrossed in the novel. The author is very careful not to reveal the path of his narrative; instead, he provides small tidbits of information that leave a big impact, for example, that Carl Heine’s grandfather “established thirty acres of strawberry fields in prime growing land in the Center Valley”-is only one small part of the detailed passage. By the end of just chapter three it is obvious that the evidence found on Carl are critical pieces in the puzzle of a trial, but no mention of motive exists. Nor is there any hint of one of the novel’s most important themes; Racism. Even by chapter 3 Guterson has yet to reveal vital information, which is great for keeping the readers intrigued.

I feel that Guterson was able to clearly contribute an accurate and impartial view of the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, by presenting many diverse viewpoints of the time period. For example, Kabuo Miyamoto, the defendant, had fought with the US army, and was deeply affected by his experiences of the war, and this changed his perspective of the world. But on the other hand, Carls Heines mother, Etta, is very prejudice and she discriminates against the Japanese, even referring to them as, “dirty Japs”. Guterson also provided the viewpoint of American friends of the Japanese, an example of this would be; Etta’s husband, who was good friends with Kabuo's father, until the family was sent to an internment camp, Etta’s husband then offered to watch over the land, but after his death Etta sold the land. By including all of these viewpoints in his writing David Guterson was able to give the reader a better idea of what was going on at the time, and give the reader a very detailed image.

“Snow Falling on Cedars” has a well rounded cast of characters, demands strong emotional reactions from readers, and radiates the importance of equality and fairness, it is not these elements that set this tale apart from similar stories; It is through Guterson’s powerful and detailed imagery and setting that really brings this story to life. The words, and the way he uses them to create amazing scenarios, makes it almost effortless for readers to visualize his story. Guterson’s words give his writing depth, and make his story vivid and powerful, further captivating his readers and creating a story that seems so real.

“Snow Falling on Cedars”, by David Guterson, is a post World War II drama set in 1954 on the island of San Pietro in Washington State. Although the story's main focus is the murder trial of Kabuo Miyamoto, Guterson takes the reader back in time through flashbacks and memories to show the reader a forbidden love story, along with showing how racial prejudice is so vast on the island of San Piedro. “Snow Falling on Cedars” was an exceptional read, and I would not hesitate to recommend others to read it as well.