Hiroshima, by John Hersey, documents the events in the lives of six people living in Japan before, during and after the deployment of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Due to the fact that the people that he interviewed were bomb victims, they were able to describe, in gruesome detail, the effects of the bomb on their lives. Hersey writes Hiroshima to inform the American people about the suffering of the victims, and to help them understand the atomic bomb from the lens of those affected. As an American writing for Americans, he can narrate a provocative book explaining events that happened to an enemy of America without being subject to xenophobia. In Hiroshima, John Hersey effectively establishes that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was exceedingly destructive by explaining the chaos unleashed on the Japanese. He achieves this by excluding his opinions and increasing his Ethos appeal to make sure that the damage dealt to the city of Hiroshima is clear to the reader.
John Hersey shows that the atomic bomb is merciless by explaining the effect of the bomb on children. Hersey describes a mother’s search for her children to do so, “She heard a child cry, ‘Mother, help me,’ and saw her youngest, Myeko… buried up to her breast and unable to move. As Mrs. Nakamura started frantically to claw her baby, she could see or hear nothing of her other children” (Hersey 10, 11). He uses an example of children in danger because they are usually perceived as vulnerable, which helps Hersey make his point. Consequently, the reader undergoes feelings of sorrow because those who are attacked are not capable of defending themselves. Hersey is able to easily prove his case by illustrating the suffering of the most vulnerable of victims.
Hersey uses vivid details to describe the aftermath of the deployment of the bomb, successfully allowing the reader to sympathize with those affected. Hersey lets his audience understand the damage for there to be sympathy. He uses a hospitals inhabitable state for the reader to understand the damage when he says, “Windows had blown in and cut people, blood was spattered on the walls and floors, instruments were everywhere, many of the patients were running about screaming, many more lay dead” (Hersey 18). Seeing as a hospital is a place of refuge, the fact that it was torn apart by the bomb helps Hersey to show how unavoidable death and destruction is. The details that Hersey uses successfully disgust yet captivate the reader. The chaos depicted is successful in making the reader express sympathy toward the victims.
“Testimony of Yoshitaka Kawamoto,” by Yoshitaka Kawamoto,...