Snow Falling on Cedars : Chapter 25-26

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Summary of Chapter Twenty-Five

Hatsue is the first witness for the defense the next day. She takes the stand calmly and with dignity, though she feels no inner calm. Her marriage to a war veteran racked with guilt has been difficult.  Their children help him to find purpose in life. He wants to recover the land his parents tried to buy for him to start a family farm. They save for nine years, and he buys the fishing boat so he can make even more money for the farm. He blames himself when he is not successful at fishing.  Hatsue testifies that when Kabuo talked to Carl Heine about buying the land back, he felt more hopeful than he had for many years. Kabuo felt Carl would do what was right. When he came back from fishing on the morning of September 16, he told Hatsue he had met Carl on the sea in the fog and helped him replace a dead battery on his boat. They had shaken hands on the land deal. Later that day they heard about his death after Kabuo had left him, the last person to see him alive.


Commentary on Chapter Twenty-Five

The chapter begins with a portrait of Kabuo. Like Carl and Ishmael, he came back from war with a damaged soul. Kabuo's great-grandfather was a samurai warrior who committed suicide for honor, and this explains Kabuo's insistence on going to war to defend his own honor to the Americans. He is always dissatisfied with his lack of success, however, though Hatsue is content and patient, trying to show him they are lucky. The testimony brings out a new story we have not heard before. Kabuo admits he met Carl that night on the sea and tied up to his boat for an emergency.


Summary of Chapter Twenty-Six

The prosecutor cross examines Hatsue and brings up the suspicious fact that the Miyamotos did not tell anyone about making a deal with Carl or about meeting Carl and helping him with a battery until now. Hatsue said when they heard he was dead, they were afraid to tell the truth because of prejudice. There was no time to come forward with the truth because the sheriff arrested Kabuo for murder within hours after the accident.

Nels Gudmundsson calls Josiah Gillanders, the president of the San Piedro Gill-Netters Association, to establish that fishermen at sea never tie up to another's boat unless it is an emergency. It would have been impossible for Kabuo to tie up to Carl unless he let him. It is probable it happened because Carl had a dead battery and borrowed a battery from Kabou, a different size, putting a D-6 next to his D-8. It was dangerous for Carl to have a dead battery in the shipping lanes. On cross-examination, Josiah says that despite arguments, it is a fisherman's duty to help another in trouble. Alvin Hooks makes a case that the reason the men tied up together is that Kabuo faked being in need of help.


Commentary on Chapter Twenty-Six

The trial is like a chess game though Kabuo's defense is plausible. The Miyamotos lost credibility by lying in the beginning, but they were aware that it looked bad for them, and they were aware of the prejudice on the island. They had a reasonable fear.

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