Top-Rated Free Essay

Snow Falling on Cedars

Good Essays
Topics: Love, Emotion
Timed Writing Prompt
In the novel Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, Ishmael’s need for catharsis and catharsis itself is powerfully influenced by Hatsue. His emotions upsurge beginning with their childhood love by the ocean side, and because these occurrences happened so early in his childhood, he fell profoundly in love with Hatsue each day. As the two mature, they also grow apart, causing intense heartbreak on Ishmael’s terms. In the first letter he confesses to Hatsue how he “aches for her to come home” and he states “I’m lonely and miserable and think of you always and hope you write me right away.” Ishmael is desperate for Hatsue’s love and affection. He says without her, he has nothing. Ishmael is selfish and egotistical. Hatsue is in a prison camp where she sleeps in dust and lives around disease, and he is merely thinking of his own security and well-being.
He continues his selfishness when Hatsue explains to Ishmael that she can no longer continue their relationship because she is deceiving her parents, his emotions climax; his hatred grows and he cannot contain it. He tells Hatsue “I hate you, Hatsue, I hate you always.”
Ishmael burts with pessimistic emotions during the war. He once again writes Hatsue and says he is about to kill as many people as he can that look like her. He says his “numbness is a terrible thing… he was angry at them [japs] and wanted their death.” He contained and expressed significant amounts of hatred. Ishmael means what he says completely, but he cannot get himself to tell Hatsue the truth. At this point when he writes the letter, he crumples up the letter and throws in into the sea along with his notepad. He still loves Hatsue. Ishmael comes back from the war with all these emotions that he still posseses for Hatsue. He sees her in the grocery store, and even though she is holding her newborn baby, he tells her “I am like a dying person… I haven’t been happy for a single moment since the day you left… sometimes I think I’m going to go crazy… I don’t sleep… the feeling never leaves me alone.” Ishmael can’t hold back his feelings for Hatsue, and even though he wants to forget about her, shown in his hate letters, this task is unimaginable, impossible.
The emotions of Ishmael control him when he discovers the note about the freighter and how it was most likely the cause of Carl’s death. He cannot bring himself to admit the incident. If he admits it, Kabuo will not be convicted and will stay by Hatsue’s side. Ishmael is selfish in wanting the man Hatsue is supposed to spend the rest of her life with to go to jail, to be found guilty. Kabuo would be set free with the court’s knowledge of this crucial piece of information.
When Ishmael rereads the letter “I don’t love you, Ishmael… When we met that last time in the cedar tree and I felt your body move against mine, I knew with certainty that everything was wrong. I knew we could never be right together…” he comes to the conclusion that the war and his arm had made his heart much smaller and he had not moved on at all. Ishmael has to be grateful even if Hatsue’s love for him has faded. Another example of this is when he sits in the Cedar tree and realizes that his place is not there anymore, that it was a childhood secret that someone else should have the chance to experience. After all these years he is compelled to speak to Hatsue, and tell her the truth about the freighter and Carl’s death.
His emotions stablilize and his guilt is set free. Ishmael gives himself the capability of moving forward in his life, and although he will never forget his childhood love for Hatsue, he learns to be grateful for her.
David Guterson gave Ishmael an overpowering catharsis, which at many points in the character’s life “drowned” him. Throughout the story it affects his actions and key moments in his life, and alters him forever.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    Snow Falling on Cedars

    • 1694 Words
    • 7 Pages

    How is the concept of the conflicting perspectives represented in the texts you have studied? In your answer refer to Snow Falling on Cedars and ONE related text of your choosing A conflicting perspective is a point of view of either one or more people that is generally subjective which presents a form of opposition in opinion. The novel, ‘Snow falling On Cedars’ composed by David Guterson in 1995 and the film ‘Crash’ composed by Paul Haggis in 2005 represents the concept of conflicting…

    • 1694 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Snow Falling On Cedars

    • 946 Words
    • 4 Pages

    “Snow Falling on Cedars” is a Contemporary Fiction book written by David Guterson. David Guterson was inspired to write this book based on his experience living in the Northwest. The novel is based on Japanese-Americans and how they were victims of prejudice due to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. In the Novel, there is a Japanese family known as the Miyamoto family that experience what most Japanese-Americans went through while getting taken to the Internment Camps and how they lost everything…

    • 946 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Snow Falling on Cedars

    • 900 Words
    • 4 Pages

    is powered by an individual’s determination and will. The use of the word “chambers” echoes directly with three major themes of the text, these being; the chambers of the heart, the chambers of the judge’s courthouse, and also the chambers of the cedar tree where Hatsue and Ishmael consummate their love. The final sentence has great importance to the text as it shows Ishmael understands that he will always love Hatsue however he will never be able to know her hearts desires, and should therefore…

    • 900 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Composition One Symbolism is all over the novel Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. All the symbols throughout the novel help convey the storyline. David Guterson constantly brings up the symbols to help keep the story flowing and to help develop several different ideas and opinions about the characters. Racism, snow, and the cedar tree are just three of the numerous symbols used in this novel. Racism signifies discrimination, hatred, and individuality. Snow represents destruction, unpredictable events…

    • 737 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Kristy Terp 2/19/2013 Snow Falling On Cedars Essay The development of events outside a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power; fate. An indifferent power that predetermines the inevitable events and outcome of our lives; fate. A simple four letter word that controls so much more than we, human beings, truly come to realize in our lifetimes; fate. In the novel Snow Falling on Cedars, most of the citizens of San Piedro Island also fail to conclude that this powerful…

    • 1300 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Snow Falling on Cedars Essay The novel Snow Falling on Cedars by author David Guterson reveals both a tragic love story between two of the main characters, and, on the other hand, the everyday life on a small, secluded island. Within the island of San Piedro, society is formed of individuals, who belong to two different ethnical groups – and with that difference in mind, other, more deeply-rooted matters come to the surface. Although every individual is granted equal rights, not everyone receives…

    • 318 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Characterization The protagonist in Snow Falling on Cedars is Ishmael Chambers. Ishmael Chambers is the local reporter of San Piedro Island and is Hatsue Miyamoto’s, wife of the accused, childhood sweetheart. Through direct characterization, the narrator describes Chambers as “a man of thirty-one with a hardened face, a tall man with the eyes of a war veteran. He had only one arm , the left having been amputated ten inches below the shoulder joint, so that he wore the sleeve of his coat pinned up…

    • 1977 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In Snow Falling on Cedars, the theme of racism stands out most strongly. Events, characters' attitudes, and emotions are all directly related with the surrounding environment of racial tension, caused by war hysteria. This prejudice retains a strong hold over the people of San Piedro Island, as well as all over America at this time. Events in the novel take place as a direct result of bigotry, such as the search for a "right handed Jap." This comment made by Horace Whaley to Sheriff Moran, caused…

    • 375 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Senior Portfolio Sam Derby English 4 Class C Snow Falling on Cedars In life, there are so many joys, sorrows, challenges, and complications of a loving relationship. The novel Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson has many examples of these complications. The relationships between Carl Heine and his wife, Kabuo and Hatsue, and most importantly Ishmael and Hatsue are three instances of the troubles can throw at you while you are trying to maintain a loving relationship. Susan Marie Heine…

    • 258 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    David Guterson, in his novel entitled Snow Falling on Cedars, clearly illustrates the harsh and brutal impact of war on many of the central characters in the plot. The novel is set in 1954, on the fictitious Island of San Piedro and follows the trial of Kabuo Miyamoto (a Japanese-American man) accused of the murder of Carl Heine. War is a prominent theme in the text and the effects it has on individuals are vividly detailed by Guterson. Ishmael Chambers, Kabuo Miyamoto and Hatsue Miyamoto are all…

    • 1263 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays