Snow Falling on Cedars

by

David Guterson

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Hatsue Miyamoto (Hatsue Imada) Character Analysis

Hatsue Miyamoto is the wife of Kabuo Miyamoto, the man accused of Carl Heine’s murder. She is known on San Piedro for her remarkable beauty. Hatsue was first Ishmael Chambers’s friend, and later, his teenage love. Because of the heightened prejudice against people of Japanese descent during WWII, the young couple was forced to keep their relationship secret. Hatsue broke off the relationship when the pain of lying to her family and to herself became too much for her to bear. Despite her feelings for Ishmael, her love for him was imperfect: she always nursed doubts about their relationship and felt torn between her desire for him and her duty towards her family and heritage. Because of this, Hatsue eventually marries Kabuo Miyamoto, who is also of Japanese descent, because their union feels “right” to her. Throughout the novel, Hatsue struggles to reconcile the duty she feels to honor her Japanese heritage with her desire to be part of the larger society. Hatsue wants to embrace her Japanese identity, but she also dreams of a world free of prejudice, where her ethnicity wouldn’t matter as much as it does. She takes refuge in nature, which lies beyond the grasp of society’s prejudices. Hatsue has a withheld quality to her personality. She keeps her thoughts to herself, and it’s often hard for other characters, like Ishmael, to know what she is thinking.

Hatsue Miyamoto (Hatsue Imada) Quotes in Snow Falling on Cedars

The Snow Falling on Cedars quotes below are all either spoken by Hatsue Miyamoto (Hatsue Imada) or refer to Hatsue Miyamoto (Hatsue Imada). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Snow Falling on Cedars published in 1995.
Chapter 8 Quotes

The inside of the tree felt private. He felt they would never be discovered here. […] The rain afforded an even greater privacy; no one in the world would come this way and find them inside this tree.

Related Symbols: The Cedar Tree
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

“That is the fundamental difference, Hatsue. We bend our heads, we bow and are silent, because we understand that by ourselves, alone, we are nothing at all, dust in a strong wind, while the hakujin believes his aloneness is everything, his separateness is the foundation of his existence. He seeks and grasps, seeks and grasps for the separateness, while we seek union with the Greater Life—you must see that these are distinct paths we are traveling, Hatsue, the hakujin and we Japanese.”

Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:

She was of this place and she was not of this place, and though she might desire to be an American it was clear, as her mother said, that she had the face of America’s enemy and would always have such a face.

Page Number: 205
Explanation and Analysis:

“None of those other things makes a difference. Love is the strongest thing in the world, you know. Nothing can touch it. Nothing comes close. If we love each other we’re safe from it all. Love is the biggest thing there is.”

Related Characters: Ishmael Chambers (speaker), Hatsue Miyamoto (Hatsue Imada)
Related Symbols: The Cedar Tree
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

“I’m not talking about the whole universe,” cut in Hatsue. “I’m talking about people—the sheriff, that prosecutor, the judge, you. People who can do things because they run newspapers or arrest people or convict them or decide about their lives. People don’t have to be unfair, do they? That isn’t just part of things, when people are unfair to somebody.”

Related Symbols: Snow
Page Number: 326
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

“You’ll think this is crazy,” Ishmael said. “But all I want is to hold you. All I want is just to hold you once and smell your hair, Hatsue. I think after that I’ll be better.”

Related Characters: Ishmael Chambers (speaker), Hatsue Miyamoto (Hatsue Imada)
Page Number: 334
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

“I’m not interpreting or misinterpreting,” Alvin Hooks cut in. “I merely want to know what the facts are—we all want to know what the facts are, Mrs. Miyamoto, that’s what we’re doing here.”

Related Symbols: The Courtroom
Page Number: 371
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 31 Quotes

But the war, his arm, the course of things—it had all made his heart much smaller. He had not moved on at all. […] So perhaps that was what her eyes meant now on those rare occasions when she looked at him—he’d shrunk so thoroughly in her estimation, not lived up to who he was. He read her letter another time and understood that she had once admired him, there was something in him she was grateful for even if she could not love him. That was a part of himself he’d lost over the years, that was the part that was gone.

Page Number: 442
Explanation and Analysis:
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Hatsue Miyamoto (Hatsue Imada) Character Timeline in Snow Falling on Cedars

The timeline below shows where the character Hatsue Miyamoto (Hatsue Imada) appears in Snow Falling on Cedars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...in the courtroom, Ishmael recalls how he’d tried to speak with the accused man’s wife, Hatsue Miyamoto, earlier that morning. Hatsue, who was sitting on a bench outside the assessor’s office... (full context)
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Now, as he sits in the courtroom, Ishmael ponders this less than savory interaction with Hatsue. He feels uncomfortable sitting amongst the other reporters, and resolves to find an “anonymous” seat... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Back in the courtroom, the trial’s morning recess is underway. Hatsue Miyamoto talks to her husband, Kabuo. Hatsue has visited her husband each afternoon since his... (full context)
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Mrs. Shigemura’s lessons taught Hatsue to react to hardship with studied composure. These teachings would come in handy, as hardships... (full context)
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Hatsue’s parents arranged for her to have these lessons with Mrs. Shigemura so that Hatsue would... (full context)
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After Hatsue was born, Hisao and Fujiko moved from a shoddy Beacon Hill boardinghouse to a Jackson... (full context)
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Life was hard for the Imadas on San Piedro, too. When she was seven, Hatsue and her sisters worked outside with Fujiko. Hisao sold fish. The family saved their money... (full context)
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Hatsue grew up outside, by the ocean and in the strawberry fields. At age 10, Hatsue... (full context)
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Back in the courtroom, Hatsue talks to her husband. She remarks on the snow. Kabuo notes that it reminds him... (full context)
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In a memory, Hatsue recalls this first night together. As the snow fell outside on their wedding night, the... (full context)
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Back in the courtroom, Hatsue observes that Kabuo has grown distant since he returned from fighting in the war, which... (full context)
Chapter 8
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In the courtroom, Ishmael Chambers watches Hatsue. He remembers their childhood friendship, thinking back to one particular day when they dug for... (full context)
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Young Ishmael anguished over Hatsue after their kiss as he worked odd jobs around town. He feared she had begun... (full context)
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Ishmael and Hatsue worked together at the start of that strawberry season, but she continued to avoid him.... (full context)
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In the tree, Ishmael apologized for kissing Hatsue on the beach. Hatsue told him not to be sorry—she, herself, wasn’t sorry it happened.... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Back in the courtroom, Ishmael watches Hatsue talk to Kabuo. He forces himself to look away. When the court returns after the... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...of San Piedro. Kabuo thinks some more about nature, recalling a trip he’d taken with Hatsue and their children just before his imprisonment, to Lanheedron Island. (full context)
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Kabuo continues to think about Hatsue. He remembers seeing her before they’d been married, when they were 16: they’d both been... (full context)
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Kabuo continues to reminisce about Hatsue. He recalls her unhappy reaction when he told her he’d enlisted in the military. Kabuo... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Ishmael’s memories overwhelm him completely, transporting him back to his teenage love affair with Hatsue: unable to be seen together in public, the young lovers spend many hours alone in... (full context)
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...each other in the cedar tree, speaking with the intensity and dramatics of teenagers. But Hatsue is sometimes “cold and silent” with Ishmael in the cedar tree. Hatsue’s silence hurts Ishmael,... (full context)
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Ishmael recalls Hatsue’s “religious side.” Hatsue believes that “all of life [is] impermanent,” and that every action has... (full context)
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Back in the present, Ishmael remembers that Hatsue was crowned the Strawberry Princess at the 1941 Strawberry Festival. Ishmael’s father, Arthur Chambers, had... (full context)
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Ishmael’s memory flashes forward to when they were high school seniors: In the cedar tree, Hatsue tells Ishmael about her training with Mrs. Shigemura, about how she’d been strongly advised to... (full context)
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Hatsue expresses her fears about the war; Ishmael responds that he’s going to be drafted and... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Teenage Hatsue is buttoning her coat after church at the Amity Harbor Buddhist Chapel when she hears... (full context)
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On the school bus the next morning, Hatsue and Ishmael learn that the Japanese are making attacks all around the Pacific Ocean. Their... (full context)
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The radio is on all day at school, transmitting “cheerless and sober” voices. Hatsue and Ishmael’s teacher encourages the male students to “consider it an honor to meet the... (full context)
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Hatsue approaches Ishmael as he reads his father’s war extra. Hatsue tells Ishmael that her family’s... (full context)
Chapter 14
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On February 4, two men from the FBI visit Hatsue’s family. The FBI men inform them that they have to search the place. Hatsue’s father,... (full context)
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...Hisao will answer a few questions, after which point he’ll be allowed to return home. Hatsue’s sisters begin to cry. Fujiko pleads with the men, but to no avail. “Think of... (full context)
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Hatsue resists her mother’s comments about the hakujin, insisting that not all white people hate the... (full context)
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But, argues Hatsue, these Japanese searching for “the Greater Life” are the ones who bombed Pearl Harbor, and... (full context)
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...and be certain not to say anything she’ll regret later. Fujiko’s words finally resonate with Hatsue, and she sees how right her mother is; that she doesn’t know herself well enough... (full context)
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...living among white people has “tainted” her daughter, and “made [her] soul impure.” She tells Hatsue that she must learn to live among the hakujin without becoming “intertwined with them.” Becoming... (full context)
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Immediately, Hatsue thinks of her secret meetings with Ishmael and wonders if her mother knows about them.... (full context)
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Hatsue walks into the forest later that day, admiring the nature around her. She contemplates everything... (full context)
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Still, Hatsue knows she has feelings for Ishmael: she wonders what love could mean if it doesn’t... (full context)
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...They both admit they cannot recall a time when they didn’t know one another. Still, Hatsue says, “We’re trapped inside this tree.” The couple cannot have a life together in the... (full context)
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Hatsue turns out to be correct, as “on March 21 […] the U.S. War Relocation Authority... (full context)
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On Sunday, the day before she and her family must leave, Hatsue goes out to meet Ishmael in the cedar tree. Ishmael proposes a way for them... (full context)
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Ishmael and Hatsue begin to kiss. “Let’s get married,” says Ishmael. Hatsue makes no response, but they continue... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Hatsue and her family leave San Piedro. It’s a miserable journey to the internment camp. They... (full context)
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One day, Hatsue’s sister, Sumiko, intercepts a letter Ishmael sent Hatsue. Sumiko opens and reads the love letter... (full context)
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...come by the make repairs and improvements on the Imadas’ sorry excuse for a home. Hatsue comes back while they are there, and Kabuo tells Hatsue he is happy to see... (full context)
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Fujiko shows the letter to Hatsue, who informs her that the letter is unnecessary: Hatsue will write her own letter to... (full context)
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...again, as Kabuo delivers other things for the family. A couple nights later, Kabuo asks Hatsue out to walk with him. She refuses, but realizes that Kabuo is attractive and kind.... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...suffering he incurs in sickness is “the kind […] he’d yearned for […] since receiving Hatsue’s letter.” (full context)
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...which makes Ishmael feel alienated from them. Ishmael writes letters to his parents and to Hatsue, but he rips them both to pieces before he can send them. (full context)
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...to write letters, as it might be the last chance they get. Ishmael writes to Hatsue: “I hate you, Hatsue, I hate you always.” He writes about “how he was about... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...convince them to accept a ride. As he walks toward the car, Ishmael sees that Hatsue is next to her father, helping him shovel snow. Ishmael helps Hatsue and Hisao, but... (full context)
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Hatsue is reluctant to speak to Ishmael. Most of the car ride’s conversation consists of Hisao... (full context)
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If the two of them were alone, Ishmael thinks, he’d like to ask Hatsue what she means by her expressionless look. Ishmael thinks about all the times he’s seen... (full context)
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Finally, in the back of Ishmael’s car, Hatsue addresses Ishmael: “Kabuo’s trial, is unfair […].” She urges Ishmael to write about the unfairness... (full context)
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Ishmael sympathizes with Hatsue, but he ultimately believes the jury can reach the right verdict. At any rate, he... (full context)
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As Hatsue and Hisao leave his car, Ishmael thinks that he’s gained “an emotional advantage” over Hatsue... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...tries to concentrate on the abundance of records, but his thoughts are pulled back to Hatsue in the backseat of his car earlier that day. He is overcome by memories of... (full context)
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...in nature, taking long hikes along the beach. On one of these walks, he encountered Hatsue and her baby. Hatsue refused to speak with him then. Ishmael whined about how lonely... (full context)
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...daydreaming and focuses on his task of combing through the maritime records. His thoughts of Hatsue have made him wonder if, perhaps, there’s evidence pertaining to Kabuo’s trial present among all... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Ishmael looks in his bedroom closet, where he knows he will find Hatsue’s final letter to him. He reads the letter. In her letter, Hatsue tells him that,... (full context)
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Ishmael thinks about his life after Hatsue and after the war. He’d slept with three women in Seattle, but he dumped them... (full context)
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Ishmael decides he will write the article in the San Piedro Review that Hatsue asked him to write—though not for the noble reasons that would’ve motivated Arthur Chambers to... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...of the trial. Nels Gudmundsson starts calling forward his own witnesses. His first witness is Hatsue Miyamoto. She wears a “calm expression” on her face as she approaches the witness stand.... (full context)
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Hatsue is dressed cleanly and tastefully. Her composure reminds a reporter of a geisha. Hatsue isn’t... (full context)
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Hatsue remembers how Kabuo had been cold, aloof, and suffered from frequent “disturbing dreams.” Hatsue thought... (full context)
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The land predicament was a huge problem for Kabuo. Half a year after war’s end, Hatsue, pregnant, woke to find Kabuo gone. Eventually, Kabuo came back, holding the Japanese family keepsakes... (full context)
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...Kabuo grew bitter and dark himself, and took it out on his family, as well. Hatsue had once shared the dream of owning land with her husband, but the unrealized dream... (full context)
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Back in the courtroom, Hatsue’s memory ends as Nels begins to question her as to whether it would be “fair”... (full context)
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But Kabuo hadn’t been upset, recalls Hatsue; rather, he’d been hopeful. Kabuo decided to talk to Carl about the land. On September... (full context)
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Still, Nels reminds Hatsue, there was the issue of Etta Heine: Kabuo and Etta weren’t on good terms. Hatsue... (full context)
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Hatsue tells Nels that she and Kabuo had waited, because “the next move was Carl’s.” Kabuo... (full context)
Chapter 26
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It’s Alvin Hooks’s turn to cross-examine Hatsue. He finds Hatsue’s “story” about Kabuo’s excitement towards the news that Carl had decided to... (full context)
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Hooks asks Hatsue to reaffirm that the “story” she told to Nels was true, which she does. Hooks... (full context)
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Hooks twists Hatsue’s words, suggesting that Carl’s death had been what prevented the couple from sharing the news.... (full context)
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Hooks asks Hatsue why the couple hadn’t gone to the police when they learned of Carl’s death—did they... (full context)
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Hooks continues to tell Hatsue that withholding information has made the Miyamotos appear suspect. She argues that there wasn’t time... (full context)
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Gillanders thinks that Hatsue’s story—that Carl’s batteries had died, and that Kabuo had given him his spare—must be true.... (full context)
Chapter 30
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It’s 3:00 p.m., and the jury leaves the courtroom to begin their deliberations. Hatsue goes to Kabuo and tells him that he’ll be free: the jury will do the... (full context)
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Ishmael looks at Hatsue from across the courtroom. He thinks about her testimony, and about how his private knowledge... (full context)
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Ishmael looks at Hatsue again, examining her physical attributes. He thinks about “all the times he had touched her... (full context)
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...car the other day. Ishmael buttons his coat and again feels Milholland’s coast guard’s log. Hatsue again tells Ishmael how unfair Kabuo’s trial was. She tells Ishmael he needs to write... (full context)
Chapter 31
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...father’s study and walks upstairs to his old bedroom. He returns to the farewell letter Hatsue sent him so many years before. He focuses on the last lines: “I wish you... (full context)
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...when she dies. Ishmael walks through the woods to the Imadas’ house. He sits with Hatsue and her parents and shows them Milholland’s notes. He explains the notes’ significance and why... (full context)
Chapter 32
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...Ishmael’s mother and the Imadas live, so there’s no way to reach Judge Fielding. Ishmael, Hatsue, and her parents stay up all night discussing the trial. Hatsue remembers that Art Moran,... (full context)
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...She compliments Ishmael’s newspaper and gives him some cookies to eat. After midnight, Ishmael leaves. Hatsue expresses her gratitude. Ishmael says he hopes Hatsue will remember him when she’s “old and... (full context)
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Ishmael’s mother wakes him up before 7:00 a.m. She says that Hatsue is there for him. Hatsue and Ishmael talk in his father’s study. She tells him... (full context)
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The jury convenes at 8:00 a.m., so they’re a little crunched for time. Ishmael and Hatsue drive in Ishmael’s DeSoto. Ishmael thinks if they can go to Carl’s boat first, then... (full context)
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...the sheriff’s office and find Art Moran. He accuses them of being “on a mission.” Hatsue shows Moran the coast guard’s notes that Ishmael discovered, and Moran accuses them of “trying... (full context)