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Snow Falling on Cedars.

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Jayde Brindley 204h Jerry English Lit November 2003 What is the significance of the island setting and the weather in Snow falling on Cedars"? How does Guterson use the environment in which the novel is set to deepen our understanding of events? "Snow falling on cedars" is placed in the proximity of an insulated, isolated island off the coast of America. It is this seclusion that enhances the communal intimacy and inevitably the polarisation after the events of the war, especially the destruction of Pearl Harbour. The weather acts as a foundation, representing the change, alienation and blindness throughout the novel. ...read more.


The cedar tree is a prominent part of the novel and the relationship between Hastsue and Ishmael as it provides security and protection from societies prejudice. The tree provides multiple fond memories for Ishmael as it is where his relationship with Hatsue was first established and continued to evolve. However this tree is a fantasy for the reality in which they wish to happen, portrayed through the "hollow" part of the tree. For what they want to grasp is not within their reach and although the isolation enables them to cocoon themselves in the belief that the relationship can be fulfilled to the extent that Ishmael desires, it becomes apparent through societies ignorance and Hatsues' imprisonment of guilt that the dream will never be claimed as shown through the snow concealing the opening later on in the novel. ...read more.


The story represents how humanity are at the mercy of nature and the fate that it pushes onto them, for example Hatsue has her car overturned which runs parallel to the helplessness that exists for Kabuo and the trial. The snowstorm and the weather provide pathetic fallacy for the characters whilst presenting an unavoidable disruptions in San Piedro, which is metaphorical for the interruptions in the citizens lives. "Everyone wished unconsciously that it would come to an end and grant them some peace" this is not only a description of the weather but a insight into the guilt and conscience that the islanders are contaminated by, which is why on the last day of the trial the "wind whipped" weather ceases. ...read more.

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