Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What does Ishmael mean at the conclusion of the novel when he thinks to himself that "accident ruled every corner of the universe except the chambers of the human heart"?

  2. 2

    What do the cedar trees symbolize in the novel? Analyze their significance in context and describe their larger significance.

  3. 3

    How is the trial of Kabuo Miyamoto related to the war and the relocation of Japanese Americans? How do prejudice and justice affect the local situation and the national situation?

  4. 4

    What is the role of Hatsue in the different versions of the American Dream held by Ishmael Chambers and Kabuo Miyamoto?

  5. 5

    How does the San Piedro Review serve or fail to serve the community?

  6. 6

    Why does Hatsue feel so conflicted in her feelings about Ishmael? How much of her conflict is due to her cultural identity?

  7. 7

    What is the significance of Carl Heine's having kept Kabuo Miyamoto's bamboo fishing rod?

  8. 8

    How are the loss of Ishmael's arm at war and his loss of Hatsue linked?

  9. 9

    Discuss the war wounds in this novel. Consider Ishmael's amputated arm, watching the deaths of others, cultural conflict, the Miyamoto family's loss of property, the Manzanar relocation camp, or the divsions in experience between the men who went to war and the women who stayed at home.

  10. 10

    How does Ishmael heal himself by the end of the novel?