Snow Falling On Cedars

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Racism can be defined as the vicious, sadistic, and overwhelming hatred of a person of a different ethnicity (Unk). Racism often causes problems in today's society. It was an even bigger issue in the past when the Ku Klux Klan was at its peak and also during and after World War II. The Ku Klux Klan mainly affected African-Americans in the South whereas the Japanese-Americans became the targets of hate crimes and discrimination because the United States was at war with Japan. The book, Snow Falling on Cedars, written by David Guterson, is about a trial that reveals the prejudice that people have towards Japanese-Americans. The protagonist, Kabuo Miyamoto, is suspected of murdering Carl Heine after Carl is found dead, caught in his fishing net. Carl's death is suspicious because the coroner, Horace Whaley, suspects that Kabuo inflicted a massive head wound to Carl with a kendo stroke, a sport that Kabuo is an expert in.

As a result Kabuo faces charges for first-degree murder. With biased prejudice and discrimination, the prosecutor, Alvin Hooks, successfully accomplishes portraying Kabuo as a cold-blooded "Jap"�. Whereas, Kabuo's lawyer, Nels Gudmundsson tries to ingrain the fact that first-degree murder involves the premeditation of the crime since no clear evidence existed that Kabuo has planned the murder of Carl Heine. In spite of this argument, all but one of the jurors reason that enough evidence exists, which is a fictitious story that Hooks makes up to prove that Kabuo had committed first-degree murder. Luckily for Kabuo, his wife, Hatsue Miyamoto, and the reporter, Ishmael Chambers, discover two very important pieces of evidence on Carl's boat before the jurors can reach a conclusion. This evidence matches along the lines of Kabuo's story and finally proves that Carl had accidentally fallen into the ocean. Throughout this...