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Hiroshima, A Journalistic Narrative Essays

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In 1945, John Hersey visited Japan on a journalistic trip sponsored by Life Magazine and the New Yorker to write about Hiroshima and its people. And, of course, the aftermath of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb. When he returned to the U.S. in 1946, the New Yorker was dedicating an entire magazine to Hersey's accounts in Hiroshima. The issue's publication on August 31, 1946, caused America to be in a near chaotic state. Selling out it's entire stock in just a few hours, the New Yorker was overwhelmed with requests for more copies. The magazine originally sold for 15 cents an issue was being scalped for 15 to 20 dollars. Even Albert Einstein, who participated in the invention of the atomic bomb, ordered an issue... Not just one issue, mind you, but one thousand. However, his order could not be filled.

Setting

Hiroshima, is a journalistic narrative, written in third person and focusing on the action of the six main characters. The setting is in Hiroshima, Japan. The story unfolds on the morning of August 6th, 1945. In the middle of the morning, the American army swoops in on the city with a bomb of an enormous power. It is so excruciatingly powerful that it manages to wipe out almost half of the population, 100,000 people (there were a total of 250,000 people living in Hiroshima). This book traces the lives of six who survived the attack. Two men of the church, two doctors, and two average women.

Character Analysis

Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto was educated in the United States, though he was born and raised in the town of Hiroshima. He was a community leader and the Head Pastor of the Methodist Church. He is amazingly unharmed by the explosion of the atomic bomb, and, being a kind and thoughtful man, is ashamed that he is...


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... of a pension and a government allowance. Sadly, Father Kleinsorge and Dr. Fujii are taken ill and the sickness gets the better of them. Dr. Sasaki and Mr. Tanimotot dedicate thier lives to helping people.M. Tanimoto is especially noted on because, though he helps all people who suffered through the bombing, he deals mostly with the Hiroshima Madiens. This was a group of women whose faces and bodies are so disfigured form the burns that they require plastic surgery. He somewhat becomes a semi-famous activist in America and rather unsucessfully spreads a message of peace.

Hersey leaves us with the same general feeling felt throughout the book. You see, although Hiroshima and its people had been scared forever, these people still have the decency and that unique Japanese outlook, and are able to express remarkable feelings of goodwill, reconcilation, and pride.



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