At 8:15 in the morning of August 6, 1945, a bright, blinding flash ran through the sky in Hiroshima. John Hersey’s historical novel, Hiroshima, does a great job of telling the stories of six people that survived the day the bomb was dropped and how it affected their lives. Almost four decades later, Hersey returns to Hiroshima in search of the six survivors who had earlier told him their stories of the days before, during, and after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
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Hiroshima is told by the stories of six people who survived the days of the atomic bomb. Hiroshima was the first city that was destroyed by an atomic bomb. Over one hundred thousand people died during those horrible days. So many people were killed because the air raid siren went off every morning at the time that the bomb was dropped. Everyone was doing what they would normally be doing at that time.
Miss Toshinki Sasaki, a clerk at the East Asian Tin Works, had just sat down at her desk and was about to talk to her co-worker when she saw a blinding white flash. The explosion had knocked Miss Sasaki out of her chair and under a heavy, falling, bookcase. When the bookcase landed on her, it broke her left leg in many different spots. After everything had cooled down, a worker had heard her screams for help and rescued her after thirty minutes of clearing debris. Because her leg was severely broken, she would lay in the same spot for almost three months.
John Hersey’s purpose of writing this story was to inform the readers of the lives of some of the people who were affected by the atomic bomb. He tells you the stories of three survivors who helped other wounded people instead of themselves. The main theme in this story is, one, big, disastrous event can change so many peoples lives in an instant. The main problem in this story was how to take care of the thousands of wounded people and how the few survivors would struggle to survive.
Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, a German priest, was lying on a cot in the mission house in Hiroshima reading a Jesuit magazine. Whenever the air raid siren would go off, he would go outside and scan the sky for any signs of American airplane. On the day the bomb was dropped, he was relieved to only see an American weather plane that flew over Hiroshima every morning. After eating breakfast, he went to his room, where he laid on his cot and started reading a magazine. A few moments after the bomb had been dropped, Father Kleinsorge went out of his mind. He never knew how he happened to end up outside walking only in his underwear. Father Kleinsorge had become a much more caring person than what he had been before the bomb was dropped. Some of his fellow preachers teased him that he cared too much about other people and not enough about himself. Throughout the months following the bomb, he had grown to love the Japanese people and their customs and became a citizen of Japan. Some days he would walk around town in Japanese clothing acting like he was Japanese.
Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, a young Red Cross Hospital surgeon, had just returned from visiting his mother. He reported to the Chief Surgeon and was told to draw blood from one of the patient’s arms. Since the incubators for the blood tests were on the third floor, he had to travel up the stairs to the laboratory. As he was on the stairs, he saw a bright, white flash out of the window. He ducked to one knee and said, "Sasaki, gambare! Be brave." Thanks to where he was standing, he was untouched. His glasses flew off of his face and had to take a pair from an old, wounded lady, and would depend on them for five months. Many doctors, nurses, and patients were wounded or killed. He was the only doctor unhurt. This day changed Dr. Sasaki’s life forever. It made him appreciate life more. He also lost many good friends that day. Because he helped so many people, he got his license and went to practice medicine on his own.
John Hersey did a great job of telling the stories of six people who survived that horrible day. This book kept my interest the whole time and I think this is probably one of the most interesting novels I have ever read. I would definitely read this book again, and recommend it to all of my friends.
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