Hiroshima was a well written story with room for readers of different backgrounds to have their own interpretations. In this blog post I will be discussing my personal opinion and interpretations of the story. John Hersey is an accomplished writer with experience that allows him to write Hiroshima with the ability to show all angles as he has understanding of all pieces the event. I enjoyed how he used clarity in the storytelling instead hiding details. This showed the true effects. Many people argue that the story if Hiroshima is showing how the Americans were ‘in the wrong’ but with the details in the text it shows the reality of the impact while also showing how it created change in the world. I believe that although it is from a Japanese point of view it is not trying to show that the Americans were ‘evil’ as some put it.
Hersey uses many forms of syntax in the story to show the parallelism of the six characters and their lives and also alludes to greater things. For example “man is not now in the condition God intended. He has fallen from grace through sin.” This can allude to the bible with Eve, or other knowledge. By including pieces it can make you think deeper to draw conclusions on meanings.
Writing a non fiction story by adding pieces to characters lives it seemed to enhance and pull the story into more if a reality for younger generations. The book itself was one of the firsts in New Journalism which has a non fiction story but fictional additions to the characters. The tone of Hersey in the story really shows the effect unnatural power has on society. He does not depict the effects lightly as he uses description to see the effects of radiation and the bomb. “All he could hope to do was to stop people from bleeding to death.” Sentences like this draw emotion and connection from many people as everyone experiences life, death, and pain. By having the evidence and real life situations people can connect to the story on a deeper level and see different perspectives.
I believe that including the chapter “The Aftermath” was very important to the book. It looked at the characters lives forty years after the bomb and how their lives were today. In my opinion it showed the significance and difference of the bomb compared to other forms of man made destruction in its past. It seemed just as important if not more to have this with the rest of the book. For me it really put into perspective the long lasting effects of the bomb. Although some characters decisions after made put them in different situations it was evident they were to be forever effected. Even their unborn children or a few generations down the road would be effected by the radiation.
Showing the six characters lives forty years later showed how they either were working to move on from the event or would forever be harnessed by the grief. For example, “Tanimoto placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.” This showed great courage and sympathy for the others in the event. Although some would see the soldier as a sworn enemy Mr. Tanimoto has a deeper understanding and shows empathy. Other people would not have the same mentality or even the thought to do the same as what Tanimoto had courage to do. Offering theses details showed how these are real people with realistic scenarios no matter how hard it is to understand everything that happened.
Another piece of the book I thought showed significance was when Hersey would include news pieces of other places having their first atomic bombs. It showed that even when people knew how much damage Little Boy had in Hiroshima they were still creating them to be even more powerful. It made me question whether it was ignorance of the effect it had or if they were scared and needed a method of ‘self defence’. Great pieces of writing allow the reader to make further connections, questions, and then further their knowledge. The simplicity of the book allowed me to have all of these thoughts with deep connections. As well as the book being so widespread and timeless.