Great War in American History Term Paper

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[. . .] They were being regarded as the enemy or disloyal, for the people around held biased judgement for all Asians.

Guterson reveals a remarkable side left by the war, for a community 'of five thousand damp souls', who supported themselves through salmon fishing and berry farming, in the fictional Island of San Piedro off the coast of Washington. He describes the time during the 1954, eight after the world War II ended, where a lot of men from San Piedro lost their lives and the ones alive had scars from war, physically and emotionally. The story talks about one of the survivors, Carl Heine, who drowned mysteriously while fishing, where another fisherman has been accused for the murder. Kabuo Miyamoto is the first generation of Japanese

Americans, ignoring the fact that he fought for the United States during the war, does not work in his favor during the trial. His trial constitutes of the white community quarrel with their Asian neighbors. Kubuo and his wife have their own grounds for resentment, going back to the time when he had faced bigotry during the war and had been robbed of his fathers land, at a time when thousands of Japanese-Americans had been allocated in the government relocation camps. As the case proceeds working its way against Kubuo, more facts are exposed; like Miyamoto's family had been cheated by Carl's mother. The wound on his head suggested a Japanese 'kendo' blow and the evidence, Carl's blood type was found on a wooden gaff of Miyamoto's boat. The proceedings of the trial, discloses more facts about the night of the murder, for the reporter, Ishmael Chambers, who had an affair with Miyamoto's wife before she had been sent to the camp with other

Japanese, in 1942. Even though he was not an objective witness, he had grown up with Carl and Kubuo and knew them both very well. In his state where he wanted to avenge his lost love for Kubuo's wife, Hatsue, he finds himself torn between loathsome and conscience.

The novel talks more then just a man's guilt; it envelopes the community fear, prejudice against the Japanese-Americans, at the same time recreating the war time hysteria that led to all of them being sent to the concentration camps. In fact, during the pre-war, Japanese people who were not American citizens, were not allowed to own a property, in the Washington state. Snow Falling in the Cedars, starts in the middle of Kubuo's trial, emphasizing on the winter when San Piedro is in the midst of a snow storm. It plays an important role for the characters uneasiness, while everything had become blurred, with a freezing temperature and feeling of complete isolation, adding to the dejected trial. It describes the winter scene as an immobilized state, even as it holds out the promise of an, 'impossible winter purity' (Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson, pg: 8). David has divided his island settings in four parts, namely; the town of Amity Harbor, the strawberry fields, the sea and the cedar forest. Such details arises questions as, how did the author manage a different mood for each surroundings? While he goes on to describe Carl Heine as a person, a lot of information is revealed regarding his background. His active role in the navy during World War II, his mother selling the family strawberry farm and his 'good character'. Each individual character have played their part and fulfilled a place for the Japanese-Americans.

Gutterson and Gaines have been open about the difficulties Japanese and Blacks faced, respectively and the disastrous affects of the wars that left its individual logo in everyone's minds. To bring out the true facts about the war, they both have used a fiction-based story, with murder trials and two innocent natives set up on trial. While they are Americans, the colour of their skin is what deems to be their fate, as they are found guilty. African-Americans and Japanese-Americans, as biased as they were treated by the whites, it never weakened their motivations.

They faced difficult times, there were discriminations in schools, public places, parks and restaurants, which made a number of Japanese-Americans ashamed of their roots, as they were trying to settle in a community where everyone was against them. This part has been enlightened in 'Snow Falling in Cedars', in Hatsue's character of her teenage years, when she used to rebel with her mother's values and hated being 'Japanese'. Yet she had learned as a young girl the importance of cultivating stillness and composure, in order to " seek union with Greater Life" (Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Gutterson, Pg; 83). Japanese hold back centuries of cultures and norms that pertain in their community. Like most cultures set by the ancestors, it's values were getting dim in a foreign land with the up coming generation. While the blacks were working their way through every obstacle they encountered, a step much further then the slavery their ancestors had endured.

The affects of any war can never leave a pleasant memory, for those who fought in the war or even for those, who waited for their loved ones to return. And much worse for those who had seen the ugliest side of life, witnessed their friends dying, been away from family for years, or their sons or fathers; many lost their ancestral lands and homes. For these people, the normality in life was an even harder adjustment then facing the enemy. They couldn't abandon their thoughts, they had gone to seek answers but returned with more questions, they had to kill people just because they were marked as an enemy, not knowing if they were guilty or innocent. People who lost most of their wealth went in isolation to start a new life, or die in solitude. Even as slavery came to an end, racism never let that mark rest for a long time, evolving the fear and anguish blacks went through.

Works Cited

Gaines, J. Earnest, A Lesson Before Dying, Vintage Books, 28th (Sept 1997)

Gutterson, David, Snow Falling in Cedars, Random House 1st (Aug 1998)

The African-American: A Journey From Slavery to Freedom, C.W Post Campus

Available at: http://www.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/aaslavry.htm#civil

Snow Falling on Cedar, Reading Group Center,

Available at; http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/read/snow/

Literature, Arts and Medicine Database, Literature Annotations, 53rd edition, April 2004

Gutterson, David, Snow Falling on Cedars'

Available at; http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/lit-med/lit-med-db/webdocs/webdescrips/guterson991-des-.html

Shotgun's Homes of the American Civil War,

Letters About the War' at: http://www.civilwarhome.com/letters.htm

And

Overveiw of the War' at: http://www.civilwarhome.com/overview.htm

Rhode Island Women During Word War II, by Students in the Honors English Program at South Kingston High School, ' Women and World War II', by Dr. Strom, Hartman, H.

Sharon and Wood, P. Linda, Available at http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/WWII_Women/WomenInWWII.html

Civil War Era-Newspapers, Republican Vindicator, 1859-1867

http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu:8090/xslt/servlet/ramanujan.XSLTServlet?xml=/vcdh/xml_docs/valley_news/newspaper_catalog.xml&xsl=/vcdh/xml_docs/valley_news/news_cat.xsl&level=browse_paper&paper=rv

Garrison, Web, More Civil War Curiosities: Fascinating Tales, Infamous Characters, and Strange Coincidences, Rutledge Hill Press, 25th (Oct 2000) [END OF PREVIEW]

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