Ishmael Chambers Ishmael Chambers, the protagonist of Snow Falling on Cedars, is haunted by the trauma of his past. His rejection by Hatsue and his brief but horrific experience in World War II have left him bitter and resentful. With a broken heart and a missing arm, Ishmael sulks around San Piedro, observing other people's lives but having little personal life of his own. Ishmael reports what he sees in the San Piedro Review, the local newspaper that his father, Arthur, founded. As a virtual outcast chronicling the lives and events that go on around him, Ishmael plays a role similar to that of the most famous Ishmael of American literature, the narrator of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Like Melville's narrator, Ishmael Chambers watches as his fellow humans are battered by seemingly impersonal forces: war, prejudice, and the fierce winter storm that blankets San Piedro's cedars in fresh snow. Unlike Ishmael, however, Ishmael Chambers must learn to accept circumstances that
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