Snow Falling on Cedars | Study Guide

David Guterson

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Course Hero. "Snow Falling on Cedars Study Guide." Course Hero. 11 Aug. 2017. Web. 18 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Snow-Falling-on-Cedars/>.

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Course Hero. (2017, August 11). Snow Falling on Cedars Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 18, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Snow-Falling-on-Cedars/

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Course Hero. "Snow Falling on Cedars Study Guide." August 11, 2017. Accessed July 18, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Snow-Falling-on-Cedars/.

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Course Hero, "Snow Falling on Cedars Study Guide," August 11, 2017, accessed July 18, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Snow-Falling-on-Cedars/.

Snow Falling on Cedars | Chapter 8 | Summary

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Summary

Ishmael Chambers remembers being at the beach with Hatsue Miyamoto when they were 14. He told her he "likes" her and they kissed, but Hatsue ran away. Ishmael is convinced he will love her forever, even though "at school they were strangers ... he understood it had to be that way because she was Japanese and he wasn't."

Hatsue avoided him until he found her in a hollow cedar tree where they used to play together. They knew their parents would not approve, but "they felt comfortable kissing inside the tree, and they kissed for another half hour." Ishmael believes he will never feel so happy again in his life.

Analysis

In Chapter 7 David Guterson establishes the boundaries of Japanese–white relations and the baggage of geisha stereotypes and warns of the racist dangers to come with the internment. Then in Chapter 8, he shifts to Ishmael Chambers's point of view, which is very different.

Ishmael's love for Hatsue Miyamoto is pure; it is the love of childhood sweethearts, of first crushes. He thinks of Hatsue as "the spirit of the place"—embodying everything he loves about his childhood on San Piedro Island. Ishmael's desire for Hatsue is because of who she is as a person; his love is no sexual fantasy toward the passive, compliant Asian woman stereotype. In reality, Hatsue seems to have all the power: Ishmael repeatedly reflects on how he doesn't know what she's thinking and can't himself maintain her stillness and composure.

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