"Snow Falling on Cedars" by David Guterson - A discussion of some literary techniques used in the novel.

Essay by leo23High School, 11th gradeA-, April 2006

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The novel "Snow falling on cedars" by David Guterson is an excellent literary example wherein the author has made use of several literary techniques. These techniques have been effectively placed throughout the novel and help in moving the story forward. Even more importantly, the literary devices used by the author complement the various themes in the novel, like the discrimination in society and the internal war of the two war veterans - Kabuo Miyamoto and Ishmael Chambers. The three main literary techniques and devices that are worthy of discussion are the use of motifs, symbolism and allegory. These techniques have been used intelligently by Guterson and there are several instances of the same throughout the course of the novel. Let's discuss them one at a time.

A motif is a literary technique that is used in a lot of literary works and is very important to novels. A motif is a technique wherein in specific words or phrases reappear several times in the text and help complement the central themes of the novel.

This is very much like the theme, but the difference being that the theme is a statement whereas motifs can be words or phrases used to represent objects or specific incidents from the novel.

In "Snow Falling on cedars", the storm is one such motif that affects the understanding of various aspects of the novel, like the characters, the society and the courtroom. The rainstorm was what made Ishmael and Hatsue meet inside the hollow cedar for the first time as lovers, when "[Ishmael] saw that Hatsue was ... no matter how long he lived."(Guterson 110-112). The storm affected the Japanese-Americans at the concentration camps and Ishmael and other soldiers during the battle which cost Ishmael his arm . The storm is actually shown to...