Cultural Issues in Snow Falling on Cedars

A look at the cultural conflicts in the novel with focus on the main characters.

An examination of David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars. The author examines the cultural issues in the novel. This is done by exploring the main character and how she is torn between two cultures.
?Snow Falling on Cedars,? by David Guterson is more than just a love story, a murder mystery, or a tale of Japanese-American internment during World War II. While it is indeed all of those, there is a distinct other dimension of the book which explores the unique difficulties of culture. In this case, the female protagonist, Hatsue, is caught between two cultures, belonging partially to both and wholly to neither. She is of Japanese descent and traditions, growing up in American society, in love with and loved by an American boy. During the course of the novel, she must decide finally what and who she is, where she belongs. It seems intuitively natural, in our American arrogance, to assume that she should embrace American culture including the old adage that love conquers all. However, to say that Hatsue should forsake her Japanese heritage and marry an American is to subordinate her to our own image and deprive her of her essential character – fundamentally a racist act.”