The Role Of Journey In David Guterson's 'Snow Falling On Cedars'

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A journey is a voyage leading to the discovery and transformation of one’s self through the experiences and challenges that confront an individual. This journey may arise circumstantially, however, the destination of the journey depends on the individual and the decisions they make. On the contrary, some journeys do not lead an individual to a monumental transformation, instead these journeys may be cyclical and more self-reflective in nature. These notions are explored thoroughly through the use of several literary and poetic techniques in David Guterson’s novel ‘Snow Falling on Cedars’ and Rosemary Dobson’s poem ‘Cock Crow’. Both texts provide insights into the nature of journeys and how the influences of journeys on individuals may differ.

The concept of circumstance shaping an individual’s journey is a notion deeply rooted within Guterson’s ‘Snow Falling on Cedars’. Through the
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This journey arises when Ishmael accidentally discovers a crucial piece of evidence which could exonerate Kabuo, who is on trial for alleged murder. The repetition of the word ‘hope’ in “...But I hope the jury comes in with the right verdict…How we all hope the justice system does its job. How we hope for an honest result”, makes evident the dependence Ishmael has towards fate and ‘hope’. His willingness to let hope create the outcomes in this situation is ironic, considering he has the evidence which could completely eliminate the need for ‘hope’, and could also ensure ‘an honest result.’ Yet again, this passivity can also be seen through his stream of consciousness in “I’m bothered, too, when things are unfair…. But sometimes I wonder if unfairness isn’t …. part of things. I wonder if we should even expect fairness, if we should even assume we have right to it. Or if- “ In this quote, Guterson reveals the psyche of Ishmael; specifically, his confusion and indecisiveness about whether or not to use the evidence he has. As the novel progresses, however,

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