Study Guide

Snow Falling on Cedars Chapter 20

By David Guterson

Chapter 20

  • At the beginning of this chapter, we get some details about Susan Heine, who is also in court that day.
  • We then get Susan's memories of a day just a little bit before Carl's death, when Kabuo had visited their house. Carl and Kabuo had gone walking outside so Kabuo could explain why he was there.
  • Interspersed with the details of that meeting, we get the (fairly racy) lowdown on how Carl and Susan got together and their married life.
  • When Carl had returned, he had explained that Kabuo wanted to buy back his family's seven acres (once Carl had officially purchased the whole parcel of land from Ole, that is). Carl had said he'd have to think about it, citing his mother's feelings as a possible complication. Kabuo seemed to get upset at the mention of Etta and her stories about Kabuo's dirty looks, and he left immediately, refusing to come back to the house for coffee.
  • Carl and Susan had discussed what he was going to do. Carl admitted that he had some residual anti-Japanese feelings that were playing into the equation, even though he and Kabuo had once been friends as kids. They ended the conversation without resolving what Carl would do, since their child had had an accident in the backyard.
  • Then, Susan remembers the day of his death and seeing him off for the last time.