Snow Falling on Cedars | Study Guide

David Guterson

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Snow Falling on Cedars | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • 1934

    Kabuo's father makes a deal with Carl Heine Sr. for land.

    Chapter 9
  • 1938

    Ishmael and Hatsue begin a secret romance.

    Chapter 8
  • March 1942

    Japanese Americans are interned.

    Chapter 14
  • A few weeks later

    Hatsue writes a letter ending her relationship with Ishmael.

    Chapter 15
  • 1944

    After Carl Sr. dies. Etta sells the land, ending the deal with the Miyamotos.

    Chapter 9
  • 1945

    Ishmael, Carl, and Kabuo return home from the war. Kabuo wants his family's land, but doesn't get it.

    Chapter 10
  • September 7, 1955

    Carl arranges to buy his father's farm again.

    Chapter 10
  • September 9, 1955

    Kabuo approaches Carl to buy his family's land.

    Chapter 20
  • Morning, September 16, 1955

    Kabuo helps Carl with a dead battery on his boat; they agree on the land.

    Chapter 27
  • Later that morning

    Carl is killed accidentally.

    Chapter 32
  • Evening, September 16, 1955

    Kabuo is arrested for Carl's murder.

    Chapter 18
  • December 1955

    Kabuo is put on trial for Carl's murder.

    Chapter 1
  • A few days later

    Ishmael finds evidence that suggests Carl's death is accidental.

    Chapter 23
  • The next day

    The jurors deliberate; one juror refuses to convict Kabuo.

    Chapter 30
  • Later that night

    Ishmael shows the evidence to Hatsue; Hatsue and Ishmael resolve their issues.

    Chapter 31
  • The next morning

    Ishmael and the sheriff find additional evidence.

    Chapter 32
  • A few hours later

    Kabuo is freed and reunited with Hatsue as Ishmael looks on.

    Chapter 32

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 It is 1955. Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese American veteran of World War II, is on trial for murder. The trial is a major ev... Read More
Chapter 2 The prosecution calls the sheriff, Art Moran, as its first witness. Art remembers how he found Carl Heine's body three m... Read More
Chapter 3 Nels Gudmundsson, Kabuo Miyamoto's defense attorney, cross-examines Art Moran. He identifies some key facts: The b... Read More
Chapter 4 This chapter focuses on Ishmael Chambers. He grew up on the island and went to school with Carl Heine, Kabuo Miyamoto, a... Read More
Chapter 5 Horace Whaley is a World War II veteran and a family physician who also works as coroner. Horace flashes back to his exa... Read More
Chapter 6 During the trial, Nels Gudmundsson cross-examines Horace Whaley and elicits the following facts: Horace now knows ... Read More
Chapter 7 Japanese Americans on the island have faced discrimination for years. Early census records listed Japanese residents by ... Read More
Chapter 8 Ishmael Chambers remembers being at the beach with Hatsue Miyamoto when they were 14. He told her he "likes" her and the... Read More
Chapter 9 Carl Heine's mother, Etta Heine, testifies in court. Etta was born in Germany and came to San Piedro with her husband, C... Read More
Chapter 10 Etta Heine's testimony in the trial continues. She describes how Kabuo Miyamoto came to find her in July 1945. Selling t... Read More
Chapter 11 Back in his cell, Kabuo Miyamoto reflects on his life. He is haunted by the men he killed during the war. Kabuo views th... Read More
Chapter 12 Seeing Hatsue Miyamoto in the courtroom prompts Ishmael Chambers to remember their past. When they were in high school t... Read More
Chapter 13 Hatsue Miyamoto and her family learn about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor when they are at the Buddhist chapel. Eve... Read More
Chapter 14 The flashback continues with the story of Hatsue Miyamoto and her family's internment in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. ... Read More
Chapter 15 This chapter focuses on Fujiko Imada, Hatsue Miyamoto's mother, as she shepherds her daughters through the early days of... Read More
Chapter 16 This chapter covers events and feelings experienced by Ishmael Chambers when he served with the Marines in the Pacific t... Read More
Chapter 17 As a snowstorm worsens, Sheriff Art Moran is back on the witness stand. He identifies four mooring ropes (used to tie bo... Read More
Chapter 18 Art Moran asks Judge Lew Fielding for a warrant to search Kabuo Miyamoto's boat. He cites five reasons for the search: ... Read More
Chapter 19 Back at the trial, the prosecutor calls a hematologist (a doctor who specializes in blood work) to the stand. The hemato... Read More
Chapter 20 This chapter is seen mostly through the eyes of Susan Heine, Carl Heine's wife. She grieves deeply for her husband, but ... Read More
Chapter 21 Nels Gudmundsson, Kabuo Miyamoto's defense attorney, is uneasy about cross-examining Susan Heine, but he does so and ach... Read More
Chapter 22 With the power out, Judge Lew Fielding calls for a lunch break. Ishmael Chambers heads out to get snow chains on his car... Read More
Chapter 23 Ishmael Chambers goes out to the Coast Guard lighthouse to research previous severe storms. He keeps thinking of Hatsue ... Read More
Chapter 24 Ishmael Chambers spends the night in his old home with his mother, Helen Chambers. They discuss the trial. Like Hatsue M... Read More
Chapter 25 Hatsue Miyamoto is the first defense witness. She wants to go to Kabuo Miyamoto but stops herself and goes directly to t... Read More
Chapter 26 In his cross-examination the prosecutor blames Hatsue Miyamoto and Kabuo Miyamoto for not volunteering information to th... Read More
Chapter 27 Kabuo Miyamoto is getting himself into more trouble by refusing to tell the truth. His lawyer, Nels Gudmundsson, approac... Read More
Chapter 28 The prosecutor works hard to make Kabuo Miyamoto look guilty. He dismisses Kabuo's explanation for not going to the poli... Read More
Chapter 29 The trial concludes. The prosecutor argues Kabuo Miyamoto deliberately murdered Carl Heine. He does not explicitly appea... Read More
Chapter 30 The decision is up to the jury now. Hatsue Miyamoto again asks Ishmael Chambers to write an editorial; he tells her to c... Read More
Chapter 31 The electric power is back on in town, but Ishmael Chambers again stays at his mother's house. He remembers how his fath... Read More
Chapter 32 Ishmael Chambers's evidence is a start, but it won't prove Kabuo Miyamoto's innocence by itself. Still, Hatsue Miyamoto ... Read More
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