Snow Falling on Cedars : Chapter 27-28

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Summary of Chapter Twenty-Seven

This chapter tells the story from Kabuo's point of view as he spends a cold night in his cell waiting to testify. The danger of fishing in a fog and near shipping lanes comes out in his memory. He found Carl Heine in the fog at midnight, dead in the water, with no power. They tied up together. Worried about being in the shipping lane, Carl lashed a lantern to his mast. The two men have known each other from childhood. They are similar in that both keep their feelings to themselves and are silent around others. They used Kabuo's fishing gaff to hammer the battery well, so the D-6 battery would fit. Carl took the gaff and cut his hand while fitting the battery. That is how his blood got on the end of the gaff. Out of politeness, Kabuo did not bring up the issue of the land to Carl, but Carl brought it up himself. He apologized for his family's behavior and offered to sell to Kabuo. They shook hands on it.


Commentary on Chapter Twenty-Seven

This story, from Kabuo's viewpoint, makes the two men friends instead of enemies. When they shake hands on the land deal, Carl has blood on his hand, and the men become symbolic blood brothers. They are more alike than different, despite their races. Kabuo points out to Carl that he too is an American and served in the war. This story illuminates most of the mystery but not all.


Summary of Chapter Twenty-Eight

The story of the last chapter is the one Kabuo told to the jury, and Alvin Hooks in his cross-examination asks why he did not tell the sheriff this story. Kabuo admits that he had a few hours after Carl's death to make a decision of whether to tell the sheriff what he knew. Before he could decide to come forward, he was being arrested for murder, so he kept his mouth shut. The reason that his boat had two D-6 batteries when the sheriff searched him is that he brought a spare from home to use before going out to sea again. Hooks's argument tries to show that Kabuo is untrustworthy and has lied about what happened, covering his tracks by inserting the extra battery before the sheriff came. In the witness stand, Kabuo looks like a proud soldier with no softness about him.


Commentary on Chapter Twenty-Eight

Kabuo's testimony does not appear trustworthy in this company or circumstance, no matter if it is the truth, something he had known all along. The author illustrates racial prejudice in the way Kabuo appears to the jury as the stereotype of the sly Japanese killer, like the ones in World War II. One thing that comes out in the testimony of the Miyamotos is how quickly Kabuo was arrested by the sheriff. This returns us to the sheriff's nervous character and his belief that he is playing Sherlock Holmes, when in reality, his action was hasty.

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