Snow Falling on Cedars | Study Guide

David Guterson

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Snow Falling on Cedars | Chapter 30 | Summary



The decision is up to the jury now. Hatsue Miyamoto again asks Ishmael Chambers to write an editorial; he tells her to come find him if she has something to say. He has the evidence in his pocket but doesn't tell her. His passionate feelings for Hatsue are growing again, consuming everything else.

The jury is ready to convict Kabuo Miyamoto, but one juror, Alex Van Ness, refuses. He thinks Kabuo lied but does not think Kabuo is a murderer. The others try and fail to persuade him, so they must wait until the morning to resume deliberations.


This trial has gotten to Ishmael Chambers. At the start, he is sympathetic to Kabuo Miyamoto. Now the jury could convict Kabuo and he won't have said a word about the evidence he holds. He imagines handing the evidence to Judge Lew Fielding, but he also imagines holding Hatsue Miyamoto in his arms again, which seems to carry more weight. Ishmael disagrees with Nels Gudmundsson's argument that "passions" from the war years are dead and buried. His passion, he thinks, has continued "as tangible as the phantom limb he'd refused for so long to have denervated." The image itself is a warning: his relationship with Hatsue is as nonexistent as his amputated arm. Still, he loses himself in his memories and longing for her.

In contrast, Alex Van Ness has no reason to stand up for Kabuo. He has reasonable doubts of Kabuo's guilt and does what he thinks is right. He thinks Kabuo did lie, "but that made him a liar, not a murderer." The other jurors believe Kabuo is guilty and just want to be done with the trial and go home. Van Ness's principled belief in Kabuo's innocence allows Ishmael a little more time to face his demons and make a decision about revealing the evidence.

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