Study Guide

Snow Falling on Cedars Chapter 15

By David Guterson

Chapter 15

  • This chapter opens with a description of the day the Imadas and other Japanese Americans left San Piedro for the internment camps. We get the details of their travel and conditions at the camp (short version: they were not pretty).
  • Then, we learn what happened when Ishmael tried to send his first letter to Hatsue with that "Journalism Class" return address. Apparently, her sister Sumiko picked up the mail and was so desperate for news from home that she opened up the letter with no qualms (even though it was addressed to Hatsue). In defense of the snoopy sister, she probably thought (given the return address) that it wasn't likely to be personal.
  • Naturally, she was surprised to find a love letter from Ishmael within the envelope. She brought the letter to her mother.
  • This lead Fujiko into memories of her early married life, which wasn't happy. Still, she battled through. Somehow these thoughts occurred to her when she was thinking about her daughter's deceit and pursuit of a hakujin boy.
  • She intended to confront Hatsue when she got home. While she was waiting, Kabuo Miyamoto (whom she already knew from San Piedro, of course) showed up with some other boys. Apparently, they were going around the camp offering to build furniture for the residents and help patch up holes in their accommodations. They got to work immediately on the items they could accomplish that day, and Kabuo chatted with Fujiko.
  • Then Hatsue walked in. Once Kabuo and the other boys had finished up their work for that day and hauled out (promising to build and return with more furniture), Fujiko confronted Hatsue.
  • Fujiko claimed she would be collecting the mail herself from now on.
  • Then, she went on to write a letter to Ishmael's parents, revealing her daughter's activities with their son. She showed the letter to Hatsue, who said it didn't need to be sent—Hatsue had no intention of trying to pursue anything with Ishmael.
  • Once Hatsue had convinced her mother that she was already completely done with Ishmael (without her help), Fujiko decided not to send the letter and instead let Hatsue send her own.
  • A few months later, after Hatsue had given herself some time to get over Ishmael, she became more receptive to Kabuo Miyamoto's friendliness (he had asked her to go out to walk underneath the stars soon after Lettergate, but she had said no and wouldn't speak to him for three weeks).