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Free Study Guide-Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson-Book Notes
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Kabuo had been a mystery to Hatsue since he had returned from the war. He often awoke in the middle of the night and sat at the kitchen table drinking tea. Hatsue had married a war veteran, and this fact shaped their marriage. Kabuo told her of the 7 acres Etta Heine had stole from his family. How they lost everything because of being interned.

Once in the middle of the night, Kabuo retrieved the belongings his father had buried in the strawberry fields. Hatsue encouraged him to realize that he was soon going to be a father, and she hoped that would make him happy. Kabuo only answered that he would get the farm back.

They saved enough money, but instead of buying a house of their own, Kabuo convinced her that a fishing boat was a better investment. In a year or two, it would pay for itself, and they’d have enough money to make a down payment on land. Ole was getting old and he would sell, Kabuo said. But Kabuo was not a good fisherman. He blamed himself and grew short with Hatsue. Hatsue did not indulge his self-pity, and Kabuo resented her for that. She had come to realize this was their life, and there was no point in hoping for a different one, but Kabuo always believed that a better one was just around the corner.

On the stand, Hatsue relates how she saw the sign for the land for sale and called her husband to tell him, but an hour later learned from Kabuo that it had been sold to Carl Heine. Kabuo was not disappointed but hopeful. The important thing was that Ole had decided to sell, creating an opportunity. Kabuo waited a day to talk to Carl. Kabuo was nervous and wanted to plan what he had to say. Hatsue says Kabuo came home from his conversation with Carl more hopeful than ever. Even Hatsue was hopeful. Yes, she had questioned whether people that were not on the best of terms with Kabuo would sell. Kabuo replied that Etta and Carl were two different people and that long ago Carl had been his friend.

During the week between Kabuo’s conversation with Carl and Carl’s death, Kabuo simply waited. Kabuo said the next move was Carl’s. It was Carl’s obligation to redress a wrong. Kabuo also did not want to beg. On the morning of the 16 th , Kabuo came home and told her that he had seen Carl out at sea and helped him with a dead battery. Carl agreed to sell the 7 acres for $8400. Later that day, Hatsue found out Carl had died.


Hatsue’s marriage to Kabuo is not what she had pictured. The war had changed Kabuo, and as a result, shaped their marriage. Kabuo was unhappy, yet optimistic that something better was around the corner. Hatsue, on the other hand, took their life as it was and found no point in hoping it would change. Hatsue wanted to make the best of their situation and hoped Kabuo could find happiness in it. But, Kabuo carried with him his war guilt. He also carried with him a determination to get back the land he believed was stolen from his family. Hatsue had to deal with the two sides of Kabuo: the unhappy, guilt-ridden Kabuo and the optimistic, determined Kabuo. As his wife, her role was not to pity him, but to keep a balance between their present and their future and worked toward helping him be happy.

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Free Study Guide-Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson-Book Summary


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