Snow Falling on Cedars Book Club Discussion 2: ch. 9-10

Ch 9-10 Focus Question: How does racism play a major factor in the novel’s plotline?

Beginning Activity:

Trying to understand racism.

Etta Heine is the main focus of these chapters in Snow Falling on Cedars. List and discuss a few reasons why you think Etta is so biased against the Miyamoto family and be sure to approach these ideas openly so as to better understand why Etta seems to hate the Japanese so much. Also take a look at Carl Senior’s perspective and try to determine why Mr. and Mrs. Heine had such different views. This will require a good amount of inferring but do your best!

Discussion Questions:

1. Why is Etta so racist towards the Japanese?
2. Does Carl Jr. feel the same way about race as his mother?
3. Why was Kabuo so intent on getting the farm back?
4. What is the significance of Carl Sr?
5. Why didn’t Etta tell the court the entire deal between Miyamoto and Carl Senior regarding the land agreement?
6. Now that you know more about Kabuo and Carl Junior’s relationship, do you think Kabuo really did kill Carl? Why or why not?
7. Do you think there are any other possible suspects for Carl’s murder/death at this point in the novel?
8. If Kabuo was not Japanese how do you think the novel would change?
9. Do you think the members of the jury will respect Etta’s word more then Kabuo’s simply because of her race and level of respect among the community?

Snow Falling on Cedars Book Club Discussion 3: Ch. 11-16
Focus Question: What part do symbols play in the role of each character?
Opening Activity:
“The sword that gives life, not the sword that takes life, is the goal of the samurai.”
The goal of the sword is to give life, not to take it.

Kabuo said that his life follows the same path as his great-grandfathers’. If this is true, what do you think he’ll do in the end? Do you think he really did kill Carl? Make your own story line of what actually happened the day of the murder. Include all of the characters you think are involved.
Discussion Questions:
1. Does Ishmael truly hate Hatsue after she ended things with him?
2. What is love: affection between children or an attachment reached through a forced relationship?
3. What are your opinions of the mother; is her rational behavior unnecessary or protective?
4. Does Hatsue have to convince herself that she is not in love with Ishmael?
5. What does the strawberry symbolize? the sword? the cedar tree?
6. Now after all that we’ve read about Kabuo’s past, how do you feel about the trial?
7. Is Kabuo the true killer?
8. If he isn’t, who is?
9. Will Kabuo take the blame because he thinks he deserves it?
10. On pg. 142 and 151 (in my book, I think they’re different in yours) both Kabuo and Ishmael describe Hatsue in the same way according to appearance. However, Kabuo and Ishmael describe her in completely opposite ways while managing to say the same words. What does this say about the kind of love they have for her?
11. In your opinion, who would’ve been better for her?
12. Why did she choose to love Kabuo instead of Ishmael?