Explore the ways Guterson presents women characters within the novel 'Snow Falling on Cedars'

Essay by jlaHigh School, 12th gradeB, January 2004

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Explore the ways Guterson presents women characters within the novel

The women characters within 'Snow Falling on Cedars' are fundamental to the story. They are all very different from each other and have different beliefs and views. Hatsue Miyamoto is a key character and Guterson illustrates many issues through her. Her relationship with Ishmael is referred to many times within the novel. Hatsue describes he relationship with Ishmael saying "It felt wrong". The use of the relationship between the two characters demonstrates that Hatsue is torn between the values of her Japanese background and her American life. Hatsue is greatly affected by the prejudices of the society at that time. She is torn between the ideologies of different people and the reader learns of these struggles in context to the prejudices she faces.

Guterson uses the appearance of the women characters to show the reader something about them.

Hatsue is described as having "extraordinary beauty." She appears to be calm but the reader learns that like most Japanese this is a "practised disguise." Her hair is often described to show her different moods and attitudes at the time. When Hatsue is a child her hair is worn long and down perhaps portraying her carefree attitude of the time. In comparison, at the trial Ishmael describes her hair "wound tightly in a black knot against her neck". This seems to illustrate her more reserved, troubled feelings at this point in the novel and perhaps that she herself is tightly wound. At the conclusion of the novel when Hatsue is hopeful that her husband has a chance, her hair is described as "awash in a light along her back, falling in cascades around her hips". Her hair links directly to the story and as Kabuo is about to go free...