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Symbolism in Snow Falling on Cedars by Guterson Essay

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Updated: Jan 31st, 2022

Character Story

Kabuo and I were picking strawberries when someone’s shadow unexpectedly appeared over me. I abruptly looked up and saw there was a white man standing in front of me. I recognized his face for in such a small town, you would eventually get to identify everyone’s face. The man took out his police badge and told me Kabuo was accused of killing a man named Carl, and that they were to take him away down to the police station.

Carl… Yes, Carl Heine. I knew him since childhood. We used to go to the same high school and I knew Kabuo talked about buying his land soon. I faintly remember the mindless days when I was unaware of disapproving looks of society when I could easily ignore the hesitation of being together with a white boy when I believed everything would turn out to be alright. The officer arranged for a meeting with me in order to interrogate him about everything I could tell him about the case. As the date and time of my visit were announced, I started thinking about everything that occurred.

The very first and the strangest thing to me was the very fact that Kabuo was suspected of killing a man, and this man was not just a mere man. He was a well-respected person locally, the man of dignity and honor. Why would Kabuo kill him? Why would Kabuo kill just any person? Kabuo is the most peaceful and inoffensive man in our community. Of course, people do not actually love him as he is Japanese American, and after all those events during World War II Japanese people are treated poorly here, but still why Kabuo? Could that be possible that people suspect him out of their nationalistic hatred? All of these thoughts just leave me confused and bereaved of my peace of mind.

And even the weather supports my gloomy thoughts as it is snowing terribly, and actually, it even seems that storm is going to begin. Probably the nature itself is against this terrible arbitrariness conditioned by nationalistic moods. Knowing Kabuo as a nice and polite person of a mild temper, the person who is not even able to harm anyone I am sure this accusation of murdering is a terrible mistake, and how eloquent t is that even nature is against this awful accident. I only wish Kabuo could be approved as soon as possible.

The Essay

The novel “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson is an excellent piece of literature enabling us to examine the way symbolism may be applied in order to reveal the most appealing ideas and address the most complicated issues of human life. In the following paper, the symbolism of snow along with the other types of weather which occur on the fictional San Piedro Island during the trial and the other events addressed in the book will be discussed in terms of their importance for revealing the themes related by the author in the novel.

Generally, such themes as prejudice, legalism, national hatred, failed love, and lying are related in the novel, and even the very title of the novel featuring the word “snow” or something cold and unpleasant at times highlights the ideas of illegal practices described in it along with the need to strive for justice and truth.

Guterson resorts to the use of the symbols based on weather types as a very successful strategy in this novel, and this technique can be evaluated as his successful carte de visite. Snow is a well-known allusion to something cold and gloomy which represents the mood depicted in the novel initially. In addition, snow in the novel does not happen to be usual, but it appears to be a storm. The storm is something that can be hardly controlled. The idea about the uncontrollability of the events taking place in the novel is emphasized by the symbol of the snowstorm. The case discussed by the jury in the court shows a great measure of uncontrollability with its every injustice and prejudice.

All of these prejudiced ideas cause an uncontrollable burst of unrighteousness and dishonesty in the court. The author shows all the badness of the occurring things by means of the use of the symbol of weather: initially, the weather is very bad with its severe snowstorm, strong wind, and gloominess; eventually, as justice begins to through its warming light on the events taking place in the court the weather is getting better.

In conclusion, the novel “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson can be evaluated as a meaningful piece of literature addressing a row of important social issues including prejudice, false accusation, national hatred, the consequences of wars for human society, and the relationships within it. Guterson applies the symbol of snow and the other types of weather as a means to show the main changes of mood and general developments in the story plot. Through such symbolism, the author is able to get one’s audience involved in a serious meditation on the themes of legalism, guilt, national hatred, failed love, and lying along with public opinion about these crucial issues.

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