Snow Falling on Cedars By David Guterson Summary and Analysis Chapters 25-26

In Chapters 25 and 26, the defense presents its case. Hatsue is the first witness, but before she testifies, she remembers how her life changed because of the war. The plans she made with Kabuo weren't realized; she was now living with a man who was living with the memories and demons of the war. For nine years he worked, trying to save money and to figure out a way to buy back his family's land. And Hatsue stood by his side.

Her testimony provides a twist — for the first time, mention is made of a dead battery and that Carl agreed to sell the land to Kabuo. To the spectators and the jurors, this comes as an unexpected and almost unbelievable claim. To the readers who know the truth, the news is equally unexpected but believable.

Under cross-examination, Hatsue gives testimony that is ridiculed and called into question by Alvin Hooks. Keeping silent for three months about news that her husband was indeed aboard Carl's boat is somewhat suspicious. Keeping silent for three months about news that her husband was about to be able to purchase the long-desired land is incredible. Alvin Hooks summarizes and trivializes her testimony by ending with the comment, "I don't know what to believe and what not to believe."

Alvin doesn't need to call Hatsue a liar in order to plant ideas in the minds of the jurors. From his point of view, the route that Hatsue and Kabuo chose to take doesn't make much sense. Alvin is equally adept at using the testimony of Mr. Gillanders, another defense witness, against Kabuo.

Mr. Gillanders, the president of the San Piedro Gill-Netters Association, testifies regarding the code of salmon fishermen. He talks about the fact that a salmon fisherman would board another's boat only during a time of emergency. This testimony corroborates Hatsue's claims. Unfortunately, Alvin Hooks presents an equally plausible theory about tying and boarding another's boat. Alvin asks whether it were possible for Kabuo to feign an emergency as a means to lure Carl to the Islander.

This third day of the trial could provide enough information to instill reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors, or the information could appear as a shot in the dark. As long as the truth remained in Ishmael's pocket, the rest of the information would just be manipulated by both the prosecution and the defense in order to appear to be true.

Glossary

geisha a Japanese girl trained to provide entertaining and lighthearted company, especially for men.

cannery a processing station for fish.

naginata a halberd; a weapon consisting of a battle axe and pike, mounted on a handle about six feet long.

bugeisha a person in military uniform.

seppukka to take one's own life by using a special and lavishly decorated sword.

landlubber a term used to characterize a person who is clumsy when learning to sail.

sea yarn a tall tale about sailors and sailing.

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Although visibly composed in the courtroom, Kabuo feels guilt and anger over what incident?




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