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Snow Falling On Cedars - How does Ishmaels(TM) experience of war influence his character and behaviour in the novel as a whole? Look closely at language and imagery

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English coursework - Snow Falling on Cedars "Ishmael explained matters to two dozen boys..." p218 to the end of the chapter on page 220. How does Ishmaels' experience of war influence his character and behaviour in the novel as a whole? Look closely at language and imagery. The character of Ishmael Chambers throughout 'Snow Falling on Cedars' is one referred to for many reasons. One of these reasons is that his character and behaviour throughout the novel have been influenced directly by his experience of war in World War II. The passage I will use to explain the reasons for Ishmaels characteristics is one that shows his harsh experience of war, and therefore the reasons why his character is bitter and resentful. Guterson uses vernacular language throughout this passage to create a sense of realism and immediacy. Ironically, the vernacular language in this passage is used by Ishmael as he is describing the Japanese. Phrases such as "Fucking Japs" shows that whereas Ishmael had a romance with Hatsue - a Japanese girl - in his childhood, his experience of war has stopped him accepting the Japanese race, and instead has made him racist and prejudice against them. ...read more.


This harsh language shows his self hatred, and his continuous bitterness because of the war. The futility of war is a key theme in this passage, and Ishmael carries the fatal outlook throughout the novel. "There was no point to anything, that was clear" and "He died ten minutes before the bearers came around to take him down to surgery" are both examples of the futility of war, and Ishmael continues to dwell on this as the novel goes on. This is supported with the prosaic tone of the novel and the detached narrative it is reported in shows the hardening and coldness of the soldiers. An example of this is the cataloguing of dead soldiers by one of Ishmaels troops, "Jim Harvey, and that guy Hedges...and Murray and Behring". This quotation shows the reality of war, contrasting with the belief that it is a smooth military execution. This shock of reality means Ishmael becomes cold and insular, and this is noticed by other characters in the novel, such as his mother. ...read more.


arm, Kabuo and Hatsue for being Japanese, and from Art Moran who feels he is in the wrong profession, and that he doesn't belong in his role as Sherriff. The futility of war, shown by the prosaic tone of this passage, shows the reasons that Ishmael adopts a fatalistic attitude towards life. It is because of the fatalities he sees when fighting that he has a grim outlook of life, and this runs throughout the novel. In Snow Falling on Cedars, the war that Ishmael fights in shapes him into a colder, harder, and more cynical and withdrawn character. He is less able to communicate with people because of his experiences, and this is shown throughout the novel, as well as in this passage. War causes Ishmael to lose his faith in religion, and see it as a "pathetic falsehood", showing his cynicism. He becomes more prejudice, and refers to the Japanese as "fucking Japs", instead of the equal race in San Piedro that he loved when he was a young boy. 1030 words total. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lauren Metalle 12FO ...read more.

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