Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson: Theme Analysis

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Relationships can end up with consequences whether there with parents or strangers. In the story “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson he explores and dives deep into this theme by using Hatsue and Ishmael’s relationship as an example. Hatsue started the relationship behind her mother’s back and it’s coming back to hurt her, at the same time her mother is limiting her by trying to help her. Fujiko needs to realize as people become older including her daughter they have to take responsibility for their actions. Her trying to fix it herself isn’t the right thing for her to do, it should be Hatsue doing it herself. At a point in time people have to become responsible for their own actions and need to take care of and deal with their own situations; Hatsue is the one that is trying to handle it herself and her mother is the one not letting her do it.

Hatsue’s been hiding the relationship with Ishmael, she doesn’t know whether her parents would approve or not. When she decided to start being with Ishmael she was much younger and wasn’t thinking right, in her older age she knows it’s not right but Fujiko doesn’t see it that way. She says Hatsue doesn’t know what she’s doing when she says “deceiving me is only half of it. You have deceived yourself too”, she knows that Hatsue is still young and learning but doesn’t think she can take care of it herself. Hatsue instead of denying it immediately says she was hiding this from her family, she isn’t as passionate and headstrong about her and Ishmael’s relationship now than when she was when she decided to hide it from her parents. In that time frame she has realized that risking her parent’s trust for something she doesn’t know if she wants or not isn’t worth it, her understanding has improved enough for her to know what is worth fighting for and what isn’t. Her mother isn’t allowing the relationship not because she doesn’t like it but because it was behind her back, she is being overprotective of her daughter. It’s evident that Hatsue is mature enough to take responsibility for the irresponsible decisions she has made; she has changed from when she made the initial decision to present time where she can take responsibility for the consequences.

Instead of letting her mother, Fujiko, end the relationship, Hatsue decides to end it herself. Under the pressure of her mother ending the relationship her choice reveals more about her character and the qualities she has that her mother thinks she doesn’t. The reaction to open up and tell her mother the truth of what she wants to do, her motivation, and how it’s better for her to do it herself shows how much shes progressed to become an adult. She started the relationship behind her parent’s backs and telling no one about it to owning up to it and wanting to end it herself. Hatsue reflects and tells her mother the reasons that she made the choice showing her ability to make someone else understand why and what her thought process was for her to act like the way she did. The thoughts on the train show her indecisiveness and how even though she risked things for them to be together behind their families backs she knows that it isn’t something she should have done and it’s something she needs to own up to herself. That indecisiveness is something she recognizes she had for too long and didn’t help her situation; that ability to self reflect and know what a person have done wrong when it is themselves shows that they can be held responsible and take of their own actions. Hatsue is that person and Fujiko isn’t letting her be the woman she is, she is still treating her as a child. Hatsue’s shown that she is a grown adult by expressing and telling her mother what and why she had taken those actions, her motivations were childish and she knows that. The outcome of her actions is that her mother lets her end that relationship herself. Fujiko has evidence that her daughter isn’t a small child she has to baby and take care of, its both of there faults for being in the situation and they are both in the wrong. Hatsue knows that she has left the problem unattended for too long and that she made a dumb decision, her character has developed to become more dynamic. The way she thinks and takes actions has changed because she knows that old decisions can end up affecting her relationships with her friend Ishmael and her mother Fujiko. Fujiko has changed as well from Hatsue’s actions, her daughter has changed from one person to another in her head. While Hatsue is still learning and unexperienced her mother now knows that not letting her take care of her problems herself is more harmful than helpful, Hatsue is at that point that she has to take responsibility and deal with the consequences of her own actions; Fujiko isn’t helping by taking care of it herself. That’s why at the climax of the story Fujiko lets Hatsue cut off ties with Ishmael herself, it’s in her best intentions to help Hatsue become an adult. Hatsue has become an adult that can take care of her own actions and responsibilities, it’s clearly shown through the entirety of the story.

The story “Snow Falling on Cedar” deals with the theme of people like Hatsue having to transition into a more responsible and mature person but being limited by an overbearing parent. Fujiko wants her child to become an adult but didn’t see it was her limiting Hatsue, in the end of the story Hatsue has convinced her that she was doing it wrong. By being able to tell her mother the reasons why and what her intentions were to do now she managed to convince Fujiko that it’s best for her to end the relationship with Ishmael herself, she made the decision to start it and she should be the one to end it. That time frame between when she started it and now when she is ending it shows how she has become a much different person. She knows that her indecisiveness isn’t something she should let linger and that the choices she makes have consequences that she has to deal with. Hatsue is someone that can take those consequences and deal with them, Fujiko now knows that she can trust Hatsue to do the right thing. She isn’t a child anymore, she is a fully capable adult that can do things herself

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