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How does Guterson Present the War and its Effects on the People and the Community in Snow Falling on Cedars?

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Introduction

How does Guterson Present the War and its Effects on the People and the Community in Snow Falling on Cedars? Guterson has presented the war and its effect on people and the community in Snow Falling on Cedars in many ways; through the relationships between characters, flashbacks, reoccurring themes, symbolism and the personal thoughts of the characters, the ones that happen in the 'chambers of the human heart'. The war is an important theme in the novel, as it can be seen as the cause of the whole plot. The use of flashbacks and filmic technique by Guterson in this novel are very important. They provide an effective method for him to skip back into the past, before the war, and during the war, and look at events then. This therefore allows the reader to compare the characters before and after, giving them more insight to how the war has affected them so dramatically and why it has done so. ...read more.

Middle

Guterson also uses the experiences felt in the war to show the effects of it on people, particularly on Ishmael. The war provides a moving experience to most of the characters, leaving none unaffected by the war. However, the experiences differ and have different resulting effects on the characters. Carl Jn became introverted, 'he worked alone. He was courteous but not at all friendly.' indicating that he lost the will to be sociable after seeing the affects of the war. Kabuo feels very guilty about killing the little boy in the woods, and has that guilt constantly with him; 'and he returned a murderer'. It is a guilt that even at the end of the novel does not leave him. For Kabuo the trial that he faces in the novel is also as a result of the war, because the final payment was not made because of the interruption of war. Ishmael looses almost everything of value to him to war, but the one person who does appear to benefit from the war ...read more.

Conclusion

However, when he returns to the cedar tree at the end of the novel the 'silence of the world roared steadily in his ears'. This not only demonstrates the loss of meanings of things, but also the loss of emotions and feeling and how bleak the world and existence has perhaps become for him since the war. At the beginning of the novel in the courtroom Kabuo is the only person who does not complain of the snow and actually appreciates it, in comparison with everyone else who complains. This could indicate his innocence, that even through war he has remained innocent. He is also aware of the snow being outside and the 'heat of the courtroom' which could reflect the inner feelings of his heart. The war in Snow Falling on Cedars has been presented by Guterson through relationships, flashbacks, symbolism and how the characters view events. As an important theme in the novel the war is responsible for the plot and many of the events that have occurred in the past and how these are viewed by the community and characters, in their hearts. ...read more.

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