The Aftermath of the Atomic Bomb in the Book Hiroshima by John Hersey

Categories: John Hersey


In the book, Hiroshima, by John Hershey, the author writes about the personal experiences of six survivors of the atomic bomb. Right before the bomb is dropped, the six survivors, Miss Sasaki, Dr. Fuji, Mrs. Nakamura, Father Kleinsorge, Dr. Sasaki, Mr. Tanimoto, were going on with their personal lives. When the bomb was dropped, they were one of the few lucky ones that were in the right spot at the right time. While sitting at her desk and about to make new entries, the bomb drops.

Miss Sasaki sees a white flash and she loses consciousness, "but principally and first of all, the bookcases right behind her swooped forward and the contents threw her down, with her left leg horribly twisted and breaking underneath her. There, in the tin factory, in the first moment of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books" (16). Since books are a symbol of knowledge, I felt that this was ironic that humans are getting killed by the same knowledge they wrote.

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Also, the white light is usually related to pureness or being good, but here it's being used to symbolize destruction. As Mr. Tanimto walks into Hiroshima to find his family, "he met he met hundreds and hundreds who were fleeing, and every one of them seemed to be hurt in some way. The eyebrows of some were burned off and skin hung from their faces and hands. Others, because of pain, held their arms up as if carrying something in both hands.

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Some were vomiting as they walked.

Many were naked or in shreds of clothing. On some undressed bodies, the burns had made patterns of undershirt straps and suspenders and, on the skin of some women, the shapes of flowers they had had on their kimonos. Many, although injured themselves, supported relatives who were worse off. Almost all had their heads bowed, looked straight ahead, were silent, and showed no expression whatsoever" (29). This shows the gruesome scene after the bombing. I think that the bombing of the city was more devastating to the citizens than the army. I chose this event because it really shows how much damage the atomic bomb has left behind. This also shows that the Japanese all work together even if they're hurt. After getting food for the survivors, Mr. Tanimoto returns to the park and sees a young woman "crouching on the ground with the body of her infant daughter in her arms. The baby had evidently dead all day" (40).

Toshio Nakamura meets up with her friends, Kikuki and Murakami, a day after the whirlwind. Toshio finds out that "they were looking for their mothers. But Kikuki's mother was wounded and Murakami's mother was dead"(90). I chose this passage because it shows that nothing can escape. Young or old, people all can die from the power of technology. When the bomb went off, it killed many people. In the hospitals, "of a hundred and fifty doctors in the city, sixty-five was already dead and most of the rest were wounded. Of 1,780 nurses, 1654 were dead or too badly hurt to work" (24). Just by using this amount of people dead or injured, one can calculate the percentage of people dead in the city, which is 90%. This percentage of people dead scared me, as only 1 person in each family of 4 would survive. At the park, one of the two girls that Mr. Tanimoto and the priests rescued "complained to Father Kleinsorge that she was cold. She began to shiver heavily, and again said it was cold.

Father Kleinsorge borrowed a blanket from someone nearby and wrapped her up, but she shook more and more, and said again, "I am so cold," and she suddenly stopped shivering and was dead" (45). This passage just struck me cold. I would feel terrible if someone dies right in front of me under me care, and the girl just died so suddenly, it really caught me off guard. Mr. Tanimoto promises the survivors for some medical help and goes off to find a docor. When he finds one though the doctor says "This is my station." "But there are many people dying on the riverbank over there." "The first duty," the doctor said, "is to take care of the slightly wounded." "Why--when there are many who are heavily wounded on the riverbank?" The doctor moved to another patient. "In an emergency like this," he said, as if he were reciting from a manual, "the first task is to help as many as possible to save as many lives as possible. There is no hope for the heavily wounded.

They will die. We can't bother with them." "That may be right from a medical standpoint-" Mr. Tanimoto began, but then he looked out across the field, where the many dead lay close and intimate with those who were still living, and he turned away without finishing his sentence, angry now with himself. This passage gave me a sense of the helplessness that most people at the time were feeling. There was not enough people or supplies to provide for the injured, so lots of people were dying due to injures. The number of deaths from the bomb were increasing due to lack of medical attention. I chose this passage because it gave me an insight of how critical the situation was.

Updated: May 13, 2023
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The Aftermath of the Atomic Bomb in the Book Hiroshima by John Hersey. (2023, May 13). Retrieved from

The Aftermath of the Atomic Bomb in the Book Hiroshima by John Hersey essay
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