Snow falling on Cedars In the novel, Snow falling on Cedars , racism plays a persistent theme in the novel. It is responsible for the internment of Kabuo, Hatsue, and there families, for Kqabuo's loss of his land, and perhaps for his indictment for murder. David Guterson, the Author uses characterization, to associate the reader with the story of how Kabuo Miyamoto, in 1954, was accused of murdering a local fisherman, mainly because he was a Japanese American.
Because there was a war going on between the Japanese and the Americans during this time, the Japanese were forced to fight for the U.S. leaving all of there belongings behind. This affected Kabuo and his family because they were two payments away from owning their land, and were not able to make the payments on time. Etta Heine had sold the land that was promised to the Miyamotos upon their return to San Piedro.
Etta Heine argued that what she had done was not illegal, despite this fact Kabuo pointed out that she "hadn't done anything illegal, wrong is a different matter"(p.38). Etta's decision to sell the land had not only revolved around the payments not being payed, but that the payments were not being paid by a "Jap", which these people were not thought highly of in San Piedro.
Another result of this prejudice that went on in the past, was the accusation of Kabuo murdering Carl Heine. A majority of people believed that Kabuo Miyamoto, being Japanese, could be capable of this crime. All evidence made the media portray this as a prejudice case, which it was. Kabuo's experiences he encountered while he was in the war, and the actions he was forced to use in order to stay alive, enable people to think, beyond any doubt, that Kabuo was involved in the murder of Carl Heine. (Kabuo had learned a Japanese defense mechanism with a weapon called the "Bokken", much like stick fighting, which resembles the wound on Carl's head.(p.65).
Some Characters, which might not be thought of as prejudice, are in a less subtle way. In all actuality bigotry manifests itself in the thoughts and behavior of every character. Ishmeal had not helped the Japanese out in every possible way during there drastic times of need, but also fell in love with Hatsue who was not fully American. Still he felt that the Japanese were responsible for a lot that had gone wrong in his life, a part of him related Hatsue, Kabuo and their families, to the Japs he had fought in the war.
Referring to them as "Fucking Japs", implying a generalization of all Japanese descendents.(p.250).
Throughout the novel the theme of racism is repeated numerously in several different events. It definitely had an effect on the actions of the characters involved, and resulted in the change of a lot of people's lives. The outcome of the trial shocked many with disbelief, displaying once again, that people are innocent until proven guilty.