Critical Summary on Hiroshima

Hi, and today I will talk about Hiroshima, my opinions, thoughts on the book and what happened in Hiroshima. I think John Hersey overall did a perfect job on the text as it was a very successful book. But I think there are things to be talked about in the book. Hiroshima was a great story, and it put into perspective what happened there from a vastly different view. So much other than Americans viewed it, I think that’s why the book was so successful was because Americans didn’t know or think about this aspect of the event. Some negatives for me was it can get repetitive at some points in the book where it can get pretty boring to read. I think he stretched some topics out for too many pages; also, I feel like he jumped from character to character a lot which got confusing at times. But that is far and few from all the good pages and how interesting the book was. Everyone will have different opinions on this book, either bad or good. Still, you can’t argue that this story didn’t give you a different view on Hiroshima and even the Americans in an aspect. But let’s talk about why this book is so effectively written to get so many people to write it.

I want to talk about how John Hersey used the chapters to tell a compelling story. That people nowadays know, but back when this was written, not many people did. Hersey’s narrative is evident because he shows the events following the bomb through the personal experiences of witnesses. For example, we learn that the plants grow so much more Hersey described that it was optimistic and so green. But he also used profound descriptive words that told what was going on weeks after the bomb. We learned about the long-lasting effects of how people got so sick from the radiation. But I think the Hersey words chosen had one of the most significant impacts on the book. It makes it feel so much more accurate, and you think how bad this event was and how much hell these people went through. It makes you think when you go through something that you think is bad, what people in Hiroshima had to go through is just 30 times worse. Here is an excellent example of how he tells a compelling story. 

The flash generated by the bomb was so bright, notes Hersey, that it left shadows of buildings and even human silhouettes imprinted on walls. But one other thought I have is the character choice on who goes through what and who gets sicker than other people is exciting and definitely could be a perfect reason on why the story is so compelling for example, the choice of Father Kleinsorge going to Tokyo and getting this exposer for all other doctors? One thing I think that was interesting is John Hersey admits to having felt both “despair and relief” when he heard that the bomb had dropped on Hiroshima, but we do not know how he felt after he researched and wrote the book. Did he agree with the bomb or not? There are so many speculations in our class, but for me, I think he disagreed with the bomb. I think we all can agree that it did save lives for the US, but it probably could have been handled differently, but I believe Hersey was trying to show what happened and the effects and evil it was. By the way, he wrote the book, and I think you can tell he did not agree, like his word usage and how he describes the events and what people had to go through. The last thing I want to talk about is why this Hersey come back after 40 years to write the last part of the book.

But also how could this affect the characters and the basic plot of the story, I think there are many reasons why he did this, but I think one of them is to give us some insight into what lives were like so many years later and how long-lasting effects were. But the last seminar we talked about do you think john thought of this as a win or lose and after reading chapter 5, I believe that he did not know of it to be a good thing, you know, saying that people could not get jobs after the bombing if you were a Survivor which is just crazy to think about. I consider him telling us this so many years later is so impactful it’s showing like the little boy is still affecting people 40 years later. I also think it affected how I saw the characters in the story. He told us that DR. Fushi gets his clinic back but deals with the bomb by drinking, partying and playing golf changed my thought of him and looking back, I think of him so differently now. Also, how Tanimoto goes to America and goes on TV and talks to a guy who was in the Enola gay, I don’t know how I would feel about that if my country got bombed and I survived it, I don’t think I would go to that country I found that part interesting. Even though I believe Hersey added some useless information that we might not have needed 40 years later, it was a very impactful way to conclude the story.