Guterson suggests that facts and knowledge are not the same thing. When the young Ishmael tells his father that a newspaper should report only facts, Arthur responds by asking his son, “Which facts?” Ishmael ultimately asks the same question when he urges Art Moran to search Carl’s boat a second time. As the novel progresses and we learn more about Carl’s death, we realize that the facts of the case are never complete. The facts remain important, however, because they are often the only resource we have in making any judgment. As individuals and as a community, the characters in Snow Falling on Cedars must use reason when making decisions that could hurt others: weighing Kabuo’s guilt or innocence, for example, or sitting idly by as the island’s Japanese residents are rounded up and put in prison. In every decision, human beings must rely on facts that are inevitably incomplete. We must accept that our knowledge is limited and must rely on our hearts and our reason to make the right decisions.