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 Snow Falling on Cedars Study Guide (Choose to Continue)

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Snow Falling on Cedars : Chapter 19-20

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Summary of Chapter Nineteen

It is the second day of the trial, with the snowstorm continuing. The state calls Dr. Sterling Whitman, a hematologist, to testify that the blood on Kabuo's gaff matches Carl Heine's rare blood type. Nels Gudmundsson, on cross-examination, establishes there were no bits of hair or skull with the blood on the gaff, and that this is odd, if the gaff inflicted a head wound. He brings up the fact that Carl Heine had a wound on his hand, and that the blood could have come from there.

Nels also questions the fishermen who saw Kabuo's boat near Carl's, if it is normal to board another fisherman's boat, and they say that it is never done except for emergencies.

Alvin Hooks, the prosecutor, calls Army Sergeant Maples, who trained Kabuo in the army during the war. He remembers that Kabuo was an expert in kendo and even beat him at stick fighting. The prosecutor concludes Kabuo killed Carl with the fishing gaff.

 

Commentary on Chapter Nineteen

Nels shows that all the evidence is circumstantial and not clear proof of murder, yet the prosecution seems to be successful in presenting an image of Kabuo as a tough and merciless warrior.

 

Summary of Chapter Twenty

Susan Marie Heine, the widow, is called to testify. She is beautiful and gains the sympathy of the jury. She tells of the afternoon in September when Kabuo called on her husband about the land that he had just purchased from Ole. The narrative slips off into her memories of her husband, their courting, and his desire to quit fishing for farming. Carl was a gentle husband and father, though a large German. He was withdrawn and silent because of the war. Susan testifies that Carl later told her Kabuo wanted the seven acres of land back, but Carl had to think about it because of his mother's wishes. She claims that Carl and Kabuo argued when Carl asked Kabuo not to give his mother dirty looks. She says Carl did not want to sell to Kabuo because he was a Jap.

 

Commentary on Chapter Twenty

Like Etta, Susan Marie embroiders on the idea that Kabuo and Carl were enemies. She takes her mother-in-law's side. Her reporting of the meeting of the two men sounds suspiciously manufactured using Etta's words, as Nels shows in the next chapter.




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