Summary of Chapter Twenty-One
The chapter begins as a contrast between Nels's age and feeling of sexual impotence and Susan Marie's sexy womanhood. He, however, has achieved a kind of inner peace and wisdom about life. He goes on to point out that she did not really hear the conversation of the two men, but the fact that Carl told Kabuo he would think about selling the land means Kabuo left feeling hope, and therefore, there is no motive for murder.
Commentary on Chapter Twenty-One
Nels establishes that much of the testimony against Kabuo is hearsay, not real evidence.
Summary of Chapter Twenty-Two
The lights go out in the courtroom as the power on the island is knocked out by the snowstorm. Alvin Hooks says that the state's case against Kabuo rests. Court adjourns for lunch as Ishmael sets about his errands for preparing his paper and getting his mother fuel and food. He takes pictures of the storm wreckage with his camera. With chains on his tires, Ishmael drives to his mother's house. On the way, he sees Hisao Imada in a stranded car trying to shovel it out with Hatsue's help. He offers them a ride to their home. Ishmael says, don't they find the snow beautiful, even though it does damage? Hatsue's eyes meet Ishmael's in the rear view mirror. He realizes he has no more anger toward her, though he still harbors a vague fantasy that he is waiting for her.
Hatsue tells Ishmael the trial is unfair and that he should use his newspaper to say so. Ishmael argues with her saying that he wonders if unfairness isn't part of the way things are. She says she is not speaking philosophically but about the people on the island.
Commentary on Chapter Twenty-Two
Ishmael makes the most of the strained moment with Hatsue in the car, arguing about the unfairness of life in a way that she understands that she was unfair to him, so he feels little sympathy for her. He thinks these things are like fate, beyond anyone's control.