Snow Falling on Cedars | Study Guide

David Guterson

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Snow Falling on Cedars | Chapter 26 | Summary



In his cross-examination the prosecutor blames Hatsue Miyamoto and Kabuo Miyamoto for not volunteering information to the sheriff when they heard of Carl Heine's death. Hatsue explains they were afraid Kabuo would be blamed, which is what happened. The prosecutor suggests their behavior is a sign of guilt.

The second witness for the defense is Josiah Gillanders, president of a local fishing association. He testifies it would be impossible for Kabuo to tie up to Carl's boat against Carl's will; the evidence suggests Kabuo must have helped Carl with a dead battery. Josiah notes Carl was fishing in a dangerous location where he'd be glad to receive help. The prosecutor suggests Kabuo might have faked his own engine trouble to get Carl to come to him. Josiah is dubious but admits it would be possible.


The narrator has not described the jury, but there are probably few, if any, Japanese Americans on it. Lawyers often debate how much it benefits a defendant to have people with similar ethnic heritage on the jury, but in this case, it might help. The Japanese American islanders who experienced the internment would fully understand why Kabuo Miyamoto doesn't volunteer information to the authorities, but white islanders may not.

Josiah Gillanders's testimony is interesting. He doesn't seem particularly friendly with Kabuo, but he knows about fishing, and Kabuo's story makes sense. Gillanders, like Kabuo's lawyer, Nels Gudmundsson, demonstrates that not every white islander is biased or prejudiced against Japanese Americans. They both offer a strong contrast to Ishmael Chambers, who still hasn't shared his important evidence of Kabuo's innocence.

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