Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars
Ishmael Chambers:  
Ishmael is one of the novel’s central characters, a bitter and lonely man sulking around San Piedro Island mourning the loss of his arm (an injury from WWII) and nursing the broken heart caused by Hatsue Imada 13 years previous.   After spending a brief time in San Francisco attending university, in the years immediately following the war, Ishmael returned home to take over his father’s newspaper upon his father’s death.   Working as a “small town newspaper man”, sets Ishmael up as an observer of life rather than an active participant, he was never able to fill the emptiness inside him that Hatsue and his horrific experiences in combat produced.   When he discovers the lighthouse archives that prove Kabuo’s innocence, Ishmael’s resentment towards Kabuo and his longing for Hatsue stops him from immediately turning the evidence into the sheriff. In the end it is ironically a memory of a Japanese – American man comparing him to his father that leads him to make the decision to tell Hatsue of the data he has uncovered. Ishmael will always be haunted by the events of his past, but at the very end of the novel, we are granted a glimmer of hope that he will finally learn to live his life.
Hatsue Miyamoto:
Hatsue Miyamoto nee Imada is the wife of accused man Kabuo Miyamoto and the childhood sweetheart of Ishmael Chambers. All her life Hatsue has struggled with her identity, caught between her Japanese upbringing and her American dreams. When she was younger Hatsue was in love with the idea of love, her secret romance with the Caucasian Ishmael always felt wrong to her but it wasn’t until her mother found out about her indiscretions that she finally ended the relationship. In the end her upbringing won out and she married Kabuo Miyamoto focusing instead on practical love rather than romantic love.
Kabuo Miyamoto:
Kabuo is a strong, stoic Japanese-American accused of the murder of Carl Heine. Kabuo is married to Hatsue, the...