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AS and A Level: David Guterson

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  1. In "Snow Falling on Cedars," write about the way Guterson presents the character of Kabuo in the novel.

    A Japanese-American accused of the premeditated, first-degree murder of Carl Heine. He was a childhood friend of Carl Heine. His family worked as sharecroppers on the Heine's strawberry farm until there internment at the Manzanar camp. Kabuo is presented to be determined to get back the land that was taken from them while they were interned. He served in the United States Army in World War II to prove his loyalty to the U.S. He carries the guilt of having killed three people during the war.

    • Word count: 763
  2. How does the author create suspense in chapter two of the "Snow Falling on Cedars", in which Carl Heine's body is discovered?

    The setting and pace of this chapter I think are the two most important elements that help create the suspense. This is because they create the atmosphere. The setting of most of chapter two is set on Carl Heine's deserted boat, deserted as in the middle of the harbour and lonely in the thick fog, 'A fog as palpable as cotton' Is the description used by the author to describe the weather. The suspense is built up thicker and leaves the reader wondering why the boat is alone and not moving.

    • Word count: 749
  3. Snow Falling on Cedars.

    The weather acts as a foundation, representing the change, alienation and blindness throughout the novel. The island, San Piedro, is self-sufficient with all of the islanders maintaining their lives by working for themselves. It shows the combination of the "closeness" of the community in contrast with the animosity and isolation that remains through judgment between races. It is the isolation of the island that is a metaphor for the isolation of the communities. "Snow fell that morning" on the first day of the trial, which is significant as the snow symbolises the duration of the trial.

    • Word count: 601
  4. How does David Guterson convey the fragility of the community of San Piedro in his opening chapters?

    Secondly, Ishmael, a news reporter who left San Piedro because he was unhappy, returned and was socially rejected by Hatsue, wife of Kabuo after their short-lived romance many years ago, and thirdly later found himself turning away from the 'fraternity of fishermen' as he knew he couldn't fit in. The problem was that 'he wanted to like everyone. He just couldn't find a way to do it.' This can show his social inexperience and inability to be liked, but more predominantly, it displays the community's unhealthy spirit to engage in nothing, except their day-to-day business and their way of acting in an unwelcoming nature towards outsiders.

    • Word count: 563
  5. In what ways does the writer develop tension and mystery in the opening chapters of Snow Falling On Cedars?

    Kabuo Miyamoto is described as 'sat proudly upright with rigid grace', 'Kabuo's features were smooth and angular'. This character description is of great consequence because of the author's method of manipulating language, which poses questions to us like, why does Kabuo seem to be so proud and unmoved by the trial? Has he got something to hide? Subtle references are also used to create mystery, gill-netters are said to pass their nights in silence, which is also a metaphor for what a murderer would do.

    • Word count: 788

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