Essay on David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars

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David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars

The beginning of World War II caused many Americans to spawn a deep hatred against anyone of Japanese decent. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, fear of the Japanese emerged in hearts all across America. White Americans felt threatened by Japan. The fear of Japan created a fear of its people and this fear created severe prejudice against anyone who looked like the “enemy.” During the war, and for many years after, Japanese Americans were victims of this fear. In the fictional novel Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, Kabuo Miyamoto is an example of this victimization. The United States did not enter World War II until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. On Sunday morning
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“In February of 1942 Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the relocation of all people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast of the United States. (Friedler, 1).” Japanese Americans were sent to concentration camps. While these camps were not “death” camps like the ones for the Jews in Germany, the living conditions were very harsh.

In the novel, The Imada’s and the Miyamoto’s were sent to Manzanar,. “Manzanar barracks measured 120x20 feet and were divided into six one-room apartments, ranging in size from 320 to 480 square feet. Each block of 15 barracks shared bath, latrine, an mess buildings (Manzanar, 2).” These conditions were cruel and unusual punishment to the Japanese Americans who were forced to live there. The Japanese Americans felt that the sentence of imprisonment was against their rights as American citizens. However, in the 1944 court case Korematsu vs. United States “The Court sided with the government and held that the need to protect natural Americans against espionage outweighed Korematsu’s rights (Korematsu, 1).” American citizens of Japanese heritage had to leave their homes and all of their possessions when they were relocated. The Miyamoto family was forced to miss the last two payments on farmland they had been working for years. A majority of the prisoners of these camps were American citizens and most of the men either enlisted in the American Armed Forces or were drafted. Despite all the injustice done to his
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