The Ash Garden, By Dennis Bock is a Moving Portrait of Two Lives, Damaged and Changed by the War, it is a Haunting Mediation on the uses of Memory and its Power to Both Condemn and Redeem

Essay by ShawnaSCollege, Undergraduate March 2004

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No matter who you are, or which side of the bombing of Hiroshima you are coming from, the Ash Garden by Dennis Bock clearly brings out the struggles, emotions, and pain that follows everyone involved. The struggles of the main characters in this novel are both besieged in their own unique way. Emiko, a Japanese girl who was physically wounded by the bomb itself in Hiroshima, deals with the struggles of physical deformities as well as the emotional unstableness due to the death of her family caused by the bomb. Anton Böll, a scientist who was with the United States military during World War II everyday has to battle the memories, horrors and terrifying scenes that he had seen in Hiroshima with his research after the bomb dropped. The Ash Garden, by Dennis Bock is a moving portrait of two lives, damaged and changed by the war, it is a haunting mediation on the uses of memory and its power to both condemn and redeem.

Emiko is the first struggling character to be introduced. The story begins with Emiko playing in a river the morning of Aug. 6, 1945 near the Bantai Bridge in Hiroshima Japan. She is a simple girl, no cares in the world; then it hits. The life altering, history changing, American made nuclear bomb hit Hiroshima. Emiko and Mitsuo, her younger brother lost their parents immediately. While Mitsuo was thrown into a deadly coma, Emiko could do nothing with her burnt corpse, other than lie in her grey morbid hospital bed begging for her brother's return to health. Emiko's grandfather was the only authoritative figure that remained. He would come and stay with the two children till the nurse sent him home. "For months after waking up in the Red Cross Hospital, I was forced...