• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars

Extracts from this document...


The novel uses nature imagery extensively both descriptively and symbolically. How does nature shape this novel and the themes it explores? Guterson uses many literary techniques in his novel to reflect on his views of the nature of human kind. Through his descriptions of the natural setting of the novel Guterson conveys the significance of San Piedro as a microcosm of the world of human kind, reflecting on the universal thoughts and emotions felt by all of humanity. Particularly, the descriptions of the weather establish parallels between the emotional turmoil of the characters and the state of the natural world. Furthermore, the extensive use of imagery in Snow Falling on Cedars symbolises the character's anguish and consequently reflects on the emotions of humans on a grander scale while contrasts in nature - snow and cedars - exemplify the juxtaposition of ideals and the conflicting nature of human kind. The natural setting of the novel conveys the contention between nature and human kind. Set in 1954 in the depths of winter, the date of the setting is symbolic of the turbulent community. ...read more.


The "haphazard cedar fences lined the careless roads", are suggestive of the boundaries and limitations constructed by man: boundaries that defy the intentions of nature. The harshness of the setting and weather induces sympathy for the characters who are battered with all life has to offer. Guterson conveys how individuals have no control over the weather and the thoughts/emotions/actions of others. Through the experiences of the characters, he portrays how we can only maintain power over the thoughts and actions of ourselves: "Accident ruled every corner of the universe except the chambers of the human heart". The harshness is also reflective of nature's disapproval of human actions towards others, conveying the censure of the social divide established by human nature. In essence, humans are "more similar in their deepest places than they care to admit". Snow is symbolic of this, as the covering of snow masks the differences between race and culture. Everything is perceived to be the same; everything is the same. The changing weather in Snow Falling on Cedars reflects the undulating human emotions of the characters. Within the small community, it is evident that weather affects people - it is essentially a representation of place, of the community. ...read more.


The snow is of great beauty and great danger. At one stage, Ishmael hopes "it would snow recklessly and bring to the island the impossible winter purity, so rare and precious he remembered from his youth." Yet snow causes a physical hindrance to transport and communication. The snow is a backdrop to events on the island and offers continuous cleansing and renewal: "The wind and snow had scoured everything clean." It is important that it is snowing during the trial and Ishmael's reuniting with Hatsue. The snow symbolises the possibility for ablution that the trial could have on the community. It has the potential for them to see the racism that lies underneath the superficial harmony on the island. Guterson uses the purification of snow to mirror this. In Snow Falling on Cedars, Guterson uses natural setting to convey his criticism of the nature of human kind. Through the use of lyrical descriptions, the symbolic representation of weather and effective imagery, Guterson establishes an evocative ambiance that is reflective of his perception of human kind. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jack Clayton 11G 1175 words ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Misc section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Misc essays

  1. What is a human being?

    we have the freedom to make our own decisions, this freedom is actually an illusion. John Locke illustrates this view with the idea of a sleeping man who is put into a locked room, when he wakes; he chooses not to leave the room although he believes that he could leave the room by walking through the door.

  2. Comparing and Contrasting Envy and Deception in Shakespeares Much Ado About Nothing and Othello

    Three, "It is thought abroad that 'twixt my sheets / He has done my office." However one must acknowledge the fact that he does hold a rather misogynistic view of women, in the way that he maltreats Emilia, and in Act Two Scene One, in the presence of both Emilia

  1. According to the standards within the Ln Yu, has the Confucian gentleman survived to ...

    And finally love takes place for magnanimity and graciousness. And to recreate the Golden rule, it would be courage, wisdom, self-control, and most importantly love that would allow it to be enacted. To return to "perfect virtue," to propriety, is done so with the Greeks, but that can be accounted for the few centuries between the philosophies of virtue.

  2. Discuss the connection between culture and art, as it is presented through significant characters, ...

    Mr Acton is another complex character that provides a contrast between the provincial American and European cultures and arts. Mr Acton is a cousin of the Wentworth's family and also lives in America, however there are clear differences between himself and his American neighbours.

  1. Articles on Bolivias Turmoil

    When Carlos Mesa (former president) was taken from charge, Evo began a massive campaign. In the elections of 2005, Evo won by over a 50%. Most indigenous people voted him because he represented the "pueblo boliviano" (Bolivian people). He promised to "resolve problems" by taking the "extra" money from the wealthy people.

  2. What is a human?

    Mentally challenged may not fulfill either of these requirements, meaning - according to the argument - that the mentally challenged are not people.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work