Snow Falling on Cedars

“How has Guterson’s choice of form, features and language been used to shape meaning in Snow Falling on Cedars”
The clashing of opinions about tradition, values and cultural norms causes disharmony within a community. Circumstances, incidents and individuality are made intricate through clashing viewpoints. Through Guterson’s use of vivid characterisation, intense setting and meaningful themes we are able to encompass a greater depth understanding of Snow Falling on Cedars.
The occurrence of war on a country can influence ones judgement about others. The war between the Americans and the Japanese has an immense impact on the Japanese society in the novel, the Americans start viewing the Japanese from a racist and prejudice viewpoint and in turn, the Japanese do not trust the community and tend to stick with blood and race. “Suckers all look alike, never could tell them apart” shows the ignorance and racism that is exposed by the island natives. Guterson’s use of imagery further shows the bigotry and chauvinism present within the community; this is evident during the trial where all the Japanese sit at the back of the courtroom whereas the Americans are at the front. Before the war, there was little racial prejudice. The strawberry fields symbolise this along with prosperity and innocence. The harmonious mood is created through sensory imagery: “with the smell of the earth and its berries rising like a mist.” Conversely after the war breaks out Guterson reveals that the Americans approved internment as a precaution “this exiling of the Japanese was the right thing to do.... there was a war on and that changed everything.” Therefore the camp becomes a symbol of institutionalised racism and its cramped and unhygienic conditions contrast to the fields. This use of imagery suggests the way the Japanese felt while being insulted at the camps “the bitter wind hurled the desert sand in their faces.” Due to this cruel situation and feelings of rejection they “had the face...