Chapter 7 Notes from Snow Falling on Cedars

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Snow Falling on Cedars Chapter 7

We are given a short history of the Japanese settlers in San Piedro, who first arrived in around 1883. They worked in the strawberry fields that were owned by white farmers, and there was always an uneasy tension between the two races.

Hatsue comes to visit her husband. He is stoic about his ordeal, though she is very upset. She has put her life on hold, in fact, worrying about their future. He has been imprisoned for seventy-seven days. Hatsue, who is thirty-one, knows she is no longer as beautiful as she was. She is remembering her former teacher, Mrs. Shigemura, who told her that white men might want her, but she must marry a Japanese man, and that she must find stillness in order to stop wanting petty things and find peace. She remembers her mother, who was partially tricked into marrying her father (she thought he was much wealthier than he was) and how they all toiled in the strawberry fields. She remembers kissing Ishmael Chambers on the beach after he taught her how to swim, and then how when she married Kabuo she told him he was the first person she kissed. She remembered marrying Kabuo in the internment camp, and then having sex with him in a small room with her whole family on the other side of a thin wall. She knew him to be what she was supposed to want, and she knew they wanted the same future (a strawberry farm), and this made her love him. Soon after, he went to war, because he felt it was necessary to show his patriotism. "Hatsue settled into missing her husband...a deliberately controlled hysteria that was something like what Ishmael Chambers felt watching her in the courtroom." Chapter 7, pg. 93

Topic Tracking: Racism 3


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