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Snow Falling on Cedars

David Guterson

Chapters 30–32

Chapters 25–29

Chapters 30–32, page 2

page 1 of 3

Summary : Chapter 30

The jurors leave the courtroom to deliberate. Some people file out of the courtroom, while others remain, since the power outage on the island leaves them with nowhere else to stay that is warm and dry. Nels remarks to Ishmael how much he liked and respected his father, Arthur Chambers. Ishmael sees Hatsue on his way out the door, and she again asks Ishmael to defend Kabuo in the San Piedro Review, calling it “[his] father’s newspaper.” Ishmael points out that he runs the newspaper now and that if Hatsue wishes to talk to him about what he prints in it, she will find him at his mother’s house.

Meanwhile, the jurors deliberate. They are unable to reach a verdict that evening because one of the jurors, a local boat builder named Alexander Van Ness, doubts that Kabuo committed premeditated murder. All the other jurors are frustrated, since they strongly believe Kabuo is guilty but are unable to persuade Van Ness to change his mind. With the lone juror preventing the delivery of a verdict, the jury adjourns for the evening.

Summary: Chapter 31

Ishmael sits in his father’s study that evening, surrounded by the books his father once read. He remembers his father telling him that an enemy on the island was an enemy for life, which makes the islanders careful toward others’ feelings but also makes them somewhat brooding and reserved. Ishmael also remembers his father taking him to the Strawberry Festival as a boy. Arthur Chambers told Mr. Fukida, an old Japanese farmer, that he had high hopes for his son. Mr. Fukida replied, “We wish good fortune for him, too. We believe his heart is strong, like his father’s. Your son is very good boy.”

Ishmael leaves his father’s study and goes to his old room, where he rereads the rejection letter from Hatsue. She wrote that because Ishmael had a big heart, she was certain he would do “great things.” Ishmael realizes that he has disappointed Hatsue and has failed to live up to her expectations. He gets up, leaves his mother’s house, and walks to the cedar tree. Ishmael then decides to go to the Imadas’ home and tell them about the records he found at the lighthouse that prove Kabuo’s innocence.

Summary: Chapter 32

At the Imadas’ home, Ishmael shows Hatsue the evidence he has found. Hatsue is grateful and kisses Ishmael on the cheek just before he leaves. She tells him she will always remember his goodness and urges him to leave the past behind and move on with his life.

Early the next morning, Ishmael wakes to his mother telling him that Hatsue is downstairs. Hatsue recalls that Kabuo testified that Carl had tied a lantern to his mast because he had no electricity to power the lights on his boat. Hatsue reasons that if the lantern is still tied to the mast, it proves that Carl’s batteries had gone dead. Hatsue and Ishmael take the lighthouse radio transcript to Art Moran, who agrees to look at Carl’s boat again.

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