Snow Falling on Cedars

by

David Guterson

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Carl Heine, Sr.’s wife and Carl Heine Jr.’s mother. She is hateful and prejudiced against people of Japanese descent. She is from Bavaria and still speaks with an accent. Etta lived on San Piedro until her husband’s heart attack in 1944. After Carl Sr.’s death, Etta moves and sells her husband’s strawberry fields—including the seven acres of it that had belonged (albeit, secretly) to the Miyamoto family. When Kabuo Miyamoto approaches Etta about the land after the war, she refuses to help him. Etta also testifies against Kabuo Miyamoto in court, claiming that Kabuo holds a vicious grudge against her and her family for selling his family’s land and that this motivated him to murder Carl.
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Etta Heine Character Timeline in Snow Falling on Cedars

The timeline below shows where the character Etta Heine appears in Snow Falling on Cedars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
The Psychological Impact of War  Theme Icon
Chance vs. Choice Theme Icon
...old-time island stock.” His grandfather and father (Carl Sr.) had been strawberry farmers. Carl’s mother, Etta, had sold his father’s strawberry fields after his death in 1944. The Heines were “hard-toiling,... (full context)
Chapter 9
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Duty vs. Desire Theme Icon
...away. When the court returns after the recess, it’s Carl Heine’s mother’s turn to testify. Etta Heine is a weathered old woman who spent decades working alongside her husband, Carl Sr.,... (full context)
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Facts vs. Truth Theme Icon
...a heart attack and died in 1944. Alvin Hooks, the prosecutor, is excited to interrogate Etta Heine about her finances. Etta reveals to Hooks that she did the bookkeeping for her... (full context)
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Chance vs. Choice Theme Icon
Etta steps off the witness stand and her thoughts turn to the day Zenhichi Miyamoto came... (full context)
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Facts vs. Truth Theme Icon
Etta’s memory of this time moves forward as she returns to the witness stand to continue... (full context)
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Judge Fielding interrupts Etta to explain the legality of the arrangement to the court. Because it was technically illegal... (full context)
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Hooks tries to validate Etta’s bigotry as merely her honest attempt to recall the land purchase as she remembers it,... (full context)
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But, Etta reveals, the Miyamotos missed their final two payments. Etta hesitates and recalls the circumstances that... (full context)
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Etta Heine testifies that Zenhichi came to the Heine home to try to figure out how... (full context)
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Etta continues with her testimony: Zenhichi, she reveals, offered to pay the Heines $120 on the... (full context)
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Continuing with her testimony, Etta recalls that Carl Jr. had returned later with fishing rod that Kabuo had loaned him.... (full context)
Chapter 10
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In the courtroom, Alvin Hooks continues to question Etta. She tells him that she moved back to Amity Harbor in 1944 after her husband’s... (full context)
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...Ole, who had no idea that Carl Sr. had sold the seven acres to Zenhichi. Etta scoffed at the idea that she should have told Ole about what she considered an... (full context)
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After this confrontation, Etta recalls in her testimony, there was no further communication between her and Kabuo, except “dirty... (full context)
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Hooks amends his question to ask what Etta saw in her son that would suggest he was afraid of Kabuo. Etta agrees that... (full context)
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Nels Gudmundsson takes his turn. He asks Etta three questions: whether it’s true that the value of the Miyamotos’ land, at the time... (full context)
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Ole Jurgensen testifies after Etta. Ole is old: he had a stroke in June and walks with a cane. At... (full context)
Chapter 18
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The Psychological Impact of War  Theme Icon
Facts vs. Truth Theme Icon
...that Kabuo and Carl were in the same waters the night of Carl’s death; (2) Etta claimed Kabuo and Carl were enemies; (3) the out-of-place mooring line on Carl’s boat made... (full context)
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...“off-the-cuff statement.” He hadn’t been convinced that this detail really incriminated Kabuo. As far as Etta was concerned, Fielding found her hatefulness to be problematic. (full context)
Chapter 20
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The Psychological Impact of War  Theme Icon
...sell his newly purchased land. Susan Marie had guessed it was because of the hate Etta harbored against the Miyamotos. Still, Carl insisted it wasn’t about that; rather, he said, “it... (full context)
Chapter 21
Duty vs. Desire Theme Icon
...didn’t want to discuss their conversation. She also agrees that Carl expressed concern over what Etta would think of his selling the land to Kabuo, which he had also expressed to... (full context)
Facts vs. Truth Theme Icon
...Nels also brings up the “dirty looks” that Kabuo “is supposed to have aimed at [Etta].” Susan Marie says that, yes, she remembers Carl mentioning these looks. She can’t speak for... (full context)
Chapter 25
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Still, Nels reminds Hatsue, there was the issue of Etta Heine: Kabuo and Etta weren’t on good terms. Hatsue agrees; in fact, she’d cautioned Kabuo... (full context)