David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars: Racism in the Law Essay

1872 Words 8 Pages
David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars: Racism in the Law

Throughout history mankind as a whole has been afraid of things that were different. This is especially true in a world so rich in racial diversity. People are afraid of those who look different, speak different, or act differently than they do. The award-winning novel Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson shows just how difficult it can be to live in a society that discriminates against those who are different and stereotyped based on other people’s actions. Having a father as a lawyer and gaining inspiration from Harper Lee’s award winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird Guterson was able to make a very accurate reenactment of a trial of a Japanese-American in the time
…show more content…
Immediately after the attack Americans became terrified that someone could stoop so low as to attack their country without any notice at all. Because of this Americans looked upon the Japanese and anyone of Japanese descent very coldly. Americans became frightened and filled with paranoia. The thought that anyone around them could be a spy or that their neighbor could have stronger allegiance with Japan than with America was terrifying.

“Almost every Japanese family in the U.S. is a member of a “Ken,” or clan. They are linked in an association; its hidden control is in the hands of one of Japan’s top-flight spies. Driven by their own well-nurtured patriotism and apparently unmolested by the government they are plotting against, their part in the anticipated triumph appears to be well prepared” (High 14-15).

Some spies were secretly resident in America, but it was the widespread belief that almost every Japanese-American was a saboteur. Time magazine went as far as to print a guide on how to tell a Chinese from a Japanese man because at the time China was an ally of the United States.

“Those who know them best often rely on facial expression to tell them apart; the Chinese expression is likely to be more placid, kindly, open; the Japanese more positive, dogmatic, arrogant. Japanese are nervous in conversation, laugh loudly at the wrong time. Japanese walk stiffly erect, hard-heeled.

Related Documents