"Analysis of Hiroshima" by John Hersey - Written for AP U.S. History

Essay by szmydeyHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2006

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This book was written like a book report, having no emotion or any sense of empathy, which overall makes it difficult to read. Using the stories of six characters who survived the initial explosion, John Hersey creates an abbreviated account of the bombing using themes of survival, total warfare, and gruesome images. I found Hersey's account of the bombing hard to read for a few reasons, such as how the six stories are not all interconnected, the unemotional mood, the fact that it is based on such a depressing tragedy, and the ending message.

The six characters, Dr. Fujii, Father Kleinsorge, Mrs. Nakamura, Dr. Sasaki, Miss Sasaki, and Reverend Tanimoto, live in various parts of Hiroshima. Though a few of them meet, their personal stories are mostly unrelated, making the transition of characters hard to follow. As opposed to a normal book with one story and six characters, in Hiroshima, Hersey chose to keep individual stories separate.

Another area of confusion was the fact that there are two main characters with the name Sasaki. Overall, the stories should have been somehow told in a way that was less confusing.

Another reason that Hiroshima was hard to read was because Hersey was unemotional and gave a reporter-like account of the characters stories. Though some of the scenes spoke for themselves, such as when Mr. Tanimoto tried to lift a woman by her hands and her skin slides off (45). Was I the only one who noticed that no one in the book expressed any feelings of anger or resentment towards America? Dr. Fujii went so far as to emulate the rich, self serving, American doctor lifestyle. Did America have such a moral standpoint from Pearl Harbor that Japanese accepted the fact that they were the guinea pigs for the atomic bomb?...