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Techniques Discuss In Detail How Guterson Uses The Weather And Other Aspects Of The Natural World As A Reflection On The World Of Human Kind

1062 words - 5 pages

Guterson uses many literary techniques in his novel to reflect on his views of the nature of human kind. Through his descriptions of the natural setting of the novel Guterson conveys the significance of San Piedro as a microcosm of the world of human kind, reflecting on the universal thoughts and emotions felt by all of humanity. Particularly, the descriptions of the weather establish parallels between the emotional turmoil of the characters and the state of the natural world. Furthermore, the extensive use of imagery in Snow Falling on Cedars symbolises the character’s anguish and consequently reflects on the emotions of humans on a grander scale while contrasts in nature – snow and ...view middle of the document...

For example, the self-contained characters were adversely affected by a war which they fought and died for, yet the incidence of war had no immediate concern with the island community.
The lyrical and evocative descriptions of San Piedro convey the nature of the members of the community. The island setting is divided into four divisions which is reflective of the subdivisions that exist within society. Amity Harbour provided a sanctuary for ‘five thousand damp souls’, providing a ‘deep moorage’ for a fleet of emotions. It is an ‘eccentric … sea village, down trodden and mildewed, the boards of its building bleached and weathered, their drainpipes rusted orange’. Battered and run down, the emotions of the community are heightened, thus conveying the raw anguished experienced by the characters: the true essence of humanity. The name, Amity Harbour is reflective of the intent of nature to harbour good willed citizens. This is bitterly contrasted with the reality of the social divide and contention between neighbours: hence, the fight between nature’s denunciation of the will of man to do harm. The ‘haphazard cedar fences lined the careless roads’, are suggestive of the boundaries and limitations constructed by man: boundaries that defy the intentions of nature.
The harshness of the setting and weather induces sympathy for the characters who are battered with all life has to offer. Guterson conveys how individuals have no control over the weather and the thoughts/emotions/actions of others. Through the experiences of the characters, he portrays how we can only maintain power over the thoughts and actions of ourselves: ‘Accident ruled every corner of the universe except the chambers of the human heart’. The harshness is also reflective of nature’s disapproval of human actions towards others, conveying the censure of the social divide established by human nature. In essence, humans are ‘more similar in their deepest places than they care to admit’. Snow is symbolic of this, as the covering of snow masks the differences between race and culture. Everything is perceived to be the same; everything is the same.
The changing weather in Snow Falling on Cedars reflects the undulating human emotions of the characters. ...

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