Published on: Author: Ms. Allesandrine 21 Comments

Here are some resources to help us think about Hiroshima by John Hersey.  These will help us with divergent thinking, which means that we’ll generate many different ideas about the book in a short period of time.  Such thinking involves discussing various component parts of the book in order to gain insight about issues, setting, writing style, and people in the book.  Ultimately we’ll take the component parts we discuss and use convergent thinking to link all our ideas and develop our final interpretations of the book. 

To start, below are links to two powerful photo slideshows and two fabulous poems.  The images and words that follow will provoke a great deal of thought; you may feel a little unsettled as you review this material, but that’s precisely the idea.  Think about the lives of the people in Hiroshima from a variety of perspectives. 

Assignment:  View the slideshows and read the poems (aloud is always best).  Compare and contrast Hiroshima with this new material.  Something will strike your interest; write about it.  Start with a key idea and elaborate using strong supporting details.  Develop your interpretation of the book as you write.  Feel free to ask and address some questions, too.  Write a minimum of 400 words.  Use paragraphs and quote your sources.  Post your work here by 10PM on Wednesday, June 6.   AND…  feel free to comment on each other’s work.  You’re all excellent at this, and it would be nice to turn this post into a good conversation. 

Time magazine Hiroshima photo essay:  http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2012653,00.html
BBC News Hiroshima photo essay:  To see this slideshow, please type the following into Google:  “BBC News Hiroshima Then and Now”  The first link is what you want.
Many thanks to Erin Kane for letting me know that this link wasn’t working here on the Cupcake. 

A Song on the End of the World                      
by Czeslaw Milosz
Warsaw, 1944

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
There will be no other end of the world,
There will be no other end of the world.

from New and Collected Poems 1931-2001

The End and the Beginning
by Wislawa Szymborska

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

We’ll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls the way it was.
Someone else listens
and nods with unsevered head.
But already there are those nearby
starting to mill about
who will find it dull.

From out of the bushes
sometimes someone still unearths
rusted-out arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must make way for
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass that has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.

from Miracle Fair: Selected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska, 2001


21 Responses to Hiroshima Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. In the slide show, BBC News Hiroshima There and Now, the picture of the orphaned boy reminded me of the motherless Kataoka children whom father Cieslik was nice enough to take under his wing until they were reunited with their mother. This picture forced me to see for the first time the damage that the atomic bomb did to not only the adults of Hiroshima, but the children as well. I never thought about the children surviving and losing their parents in the blast, and was shocked when I saw that the atomic bomb left between 2,000 and 6,500 children parentless. Luckily for the Kataoka children, when they lost their mother for a couple of days, father Ciesklik was nice enough to take care of them until they were reunited with her once more on Gato island about a week later. We haven’t reached the part in the book that describes each person’s plight they must endure in order to survive in the aftermath of the bomb yet. Thus, we haven’t seen the sicknesses that coincide with the radiation from it, but in the slide show it describes how a little ten year old girl, Sasaki Sadako, died from leukemia (an effect of the bomb’s radiation). Perhaps this is the quandary that the Nakamura sisters must face because they have been vomiting ever since the bomb was dropped. Hopefully, in their case they will survive, but at the moment the odds don’t seem to be in their favor.
    In the other slide show from Time’s magazine, they show a picture of a man’s back that was horribly disfigured from the blast. This reminded me of the unfortunate people in the pit who were so badly burned that they were literally incapable of moving. A wonderful man, Mr. Tanimoto, tried to save what was left of them by bringing them up the bank so they wouldn’t drown when the tide came in, but unfortunately, he didn’t bring them up far enough and in the morning they were all found dead from drowning. He may later blame this misfortune on his carelessness, but in reality they were so badly maimed that they stood little chance of survival anyways.
    The poem, A Song on the End of the World, was very difficult for me to comprehend at first. However, after much rereading I began to make connections between it and Hiroshima. In the introductory stanza I really like how Milosz described the everyday activities that everyone was doing on the day that the world would end. It related very closely to what the people in Hiroshima were doing at the time the atomic bomb dropped. Everyone was just following their normal, everyday routines unaware that in hours’ time their worlds as they knew it would come crashing down around them, and in many people’s unfortunate cases, they would go down with it.
    Finally, the poem, The End and the Beginning by Wislawa Szymborska, describes the plight that faced each survivor of World War Two as well as the atomic bomb- how to resume life. In order for the people to somehow follow their mundane routines again someone needed to rebuild all that was destroyed. All the people had to work together to rebuild their society once more through their tears. No matter how much they wished it to be, life would not get any better if nobody fixed it. Only then, after all the work was done a person could as Szymborska put it, “stretch out, blade of grass in his mouth, gazing at the clouds.”

  2. Well done, Jessie. There are several strong sentences here. You’ve written about an array of topics using some strong supporting details. The photos offer a lot of room for divergent thinking. Notice the wide range between the suspected numbers of parentless children; why do you think this range exists and no definitive number is given? In fact, even the number of people who died from the bomb blast ranges dramatically. Why are these numbers so difficult to determine?

    You raise a good point about the ultimate futility of Reverend Tanimoto’s efforts to save many people from imminent death. What motivates Tanimoto to work so tirelessly? Of course, Hersey also shares several stories about rescues that have positive outcomes, and I’m glad you alluded to one significant example, Jessie.

    I’m also glad that you reviewed “A Song on the End of the World” with a keen eye; it’s a rich, complex poem, and definitely one that calls for several reads. Which lines resonate most with you? Easily imagining that the commonplace “voice of a violin lasts in the air/And leads into a starry night” makes the scenes in this poem especially familiar and realistic. This image also indicates some passage of time, implying that, at least for now, day will continue to turn into night and thus the world will keep spinning. This calls to mind what happened in Hiroshima as well as other manmade and natural disasters, and the fact that the world indeed kept spinning—and, one hopes, always will.

    As everyone else posts responses here, please remember to proofread your work—perhaps aloud. Remember also to use writers’ last names, include slashes in quoted lines of poetry, and write strong sentences. Hersey discusses many very interesting stories in Hiroshima, so you will have no shortage of writing topics! Feel free to comment on each other’s work. And proofread…

  3. While reading the poems and looking at the slideshows, I realized that I had never really thought about all the effects on the city of Hiroshima. Before, when I thought Hiroshima, I thought us dropping a bomb on a Japanese city because we were at ward with them. They bombed us, didn’t they? So, I never thought there was much wrong with what we did. Looking at the photos, I realized that we did so much more damage physically and emotionally to the innocent people of the city that I had thought.

    Radiation from the bomb was one of the largest effects on the city. It caused nasty burns and skin damage to people as well as many different cancers. Children were diagnosed with Leukemia, and many ended up dying from this form of cancer. Most of the deaths of people did not occur when the bomb was dropped, but also happened within a week of the bombing. This was due to the radiation. A third of the population was lost within this time period. I had never realized radiation was this serious and had that big of an effect on Hiroshima. Another thing that I had never thought about was how so many children were orphaned after the dropping of the bomb. Between 2,000 and 6,500 children were orphaned, the exact number will never be known.

    It touched me that A Bomb Dome was still standing after the bomb was dropped and is still standing to this day. It was near the center of the dropping of the bomb and the building survived. This touches me because it is a symbol of Japanese nationalism, just like our flag is a symbol of ours. There is a famous picture of our flag standing amongst the rubble of 9/11, which is just like A Bomb Dome still standing even though everything else around it is ruined.

    Seeing the pictures of the city now makes me feel better about what happened over 50 years ago now. The city is now thriving, but will always remember. They have the bomb dome which has the internal flame that will burn as long as nuclear weapons exist. The way the city of Hiroshima recovered from the bombing is tremendous. The photos in the slideshow of the memorials are very pretty. For example, the memorial for the 10 year old girl who died from the radiation. It was touching to see pictures of Hiroshima now.

  4. Hello. I followed the link (“Eyewitnesses to Hiroshima”) on the Time magazine photo site. It took me to many interesting new places, one of which is http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/mpmenu.asp .
    I highly recommend spending at least a few minutes here.

    Remember to keep your writing focused primarily on the book. Use the resources here on the blog to supplement your response. Keep up the good work!

  5. In the BBC News slideshow, many of the pictures reminded me of the book. In the picture of the people who are burned, it reminded me of all of the descriptions in the book of the people who got hurt from the bomb. One description of the burns is on page 29, “The eyebrows of some were burned off and skin hung from their faces and hands.” Also, when I saw the picture of the orphaned little boy, I thought of in the book how Mr. Tanimoto and other priests rescued two young girls and tried to comfort them because their family was gone, and how Father Cieslik took in the Kataoka children. Even though the bomb was a horrible thing and the people had themselves to worry about, some helped others who were worse off out of the goodness of their hearts. I hope that there were a lot of people like Father Cieslik who helped orphaned children, since there were so many and they probably were so lost and confused without their parents around. The picture that had the story of a little girl who died of leukemia after getting radiation made me have a question: Will more people in the book die from the after effects of the war such as getting cancer from the radiation? I think that they probably will since a lot of the people are already showing signs of serious illness. In the Time slideshow the picture of the person’s burned back reminds me of all of the people in the story who are burned, especially when Mr. Tanimoto is trying to rescue people in chapter three and when he reaches down into the water to grab a woman and pull her out, “her skin slipped off in huge, glovelike pieces.” When I read this, I was disgusted by it, but it definitely helped me to understand just how bad the bomb had injured people.

    The poem, “A Song on the End of the World,” reminds me of the beginning of the book. In the book, everybody is going about their normal lives doing simple, mundane things, completely unaware that their lives are about to change forever. Dr. Fujii was reading the newspaper, Mrs. Nakamura was looking out the window after putting her children to bed, and Miss Sasaki was talking to a friend. All of these things are just typical things that people do, just like in the poem, “A bee circles a clover,/a fisherman mends a glimmering net.” Before reading the book, I had never really thought too deeply about Hiroshima. But now, I feel bad for all of the people who it affected and I think that it’s scary to think that they were just doing their daily activities and in the blink of an eye their lives were ruined. Also, the fact that that’s usually how bad things happen, maybe they’re not always as drastic as getting bombed, but you typically don’t get a warning.

  6. When I first read “A Song on the End of the World” by Czeslaw Milosz, I immediately thought of all the stories the people are sharing in “Hiroshima.” In the poem, it is just an ordinary day and nothing is expected to happen. The poem also seems optimistic. For example the “happy porpoises jump in the sea” show that there is happiness. This is opposite from the people in the story. The people in the story all seem to be unhappy for a uncomfortable sleep the night before along with other problems in their lives. There is one similarity between the poem and the story, which is that they both start with ordinary objects doing ordinary actions. These objects and people then don’t know that their whole world is going to change.

    The poem “The End and the Beginning” reminds me of Mrs. Nakamura’s neighbor. I say this because her neighbor is tearing down his house because the government is making him since they need more fire lanes. This reminds me of this poem because it is about how there is that person who is working hard to make things better and they do it because they pretty much have to or else nothing will be how it is supposed to. That one person is working hard to make things better for other people, not just themselves. This is like Mrs. Nakamura’s neighbor because he has to tear his house down to make things better and safer for other people, not just himself.

    When I read the stories of everybody in “Hiroshima,” I picture everything destroyed and people hurt. I see people running around trying to find their family and friends to make sure they are okay. When I look at both slideshows I can actually see what had happened from the bomb. One thing I didn’t picture because I didn’t really want to see all the people hurt and burned from the attack. When I read about Miss Toshiko Sasaki getting her leg crushed, I didn’t even want to think about it. As I am looking at all of these pictures I am seeing all of these people hurt. It is something I wish hadn’t happened because so many people got hurt and so many people can’t recover from it. They are either mentally hurt, physically hurt, or both.

    As I continue reading these poems, these stories of the citizens, and seeing the pictures in these slideshows, I keep feeling sorry for all of the people. I can’t even imagine how hurt they are. I can’t event imagine how scared they are. They will never forget all that has happened because of this bomb and neither will anybody else.

  7. After viewing both slide shows the slide shows the main thing that came to my mind was what if we didn’t drop the bomb? When thought of through a historical stand point the dropping of the Atomic bomb saved the same amount if not more lives that it destroyed, because it ended the war quicker and with far less casualties than would have happened if the allied nations had been forced to invade Japan. However, from a moral stand point the dropping of the bomb was completely wrong. As the BNC slide show pointed out, over one third of Hiroshima’s population was killed instantly by the bomb, and seeing as how it had a population of around 350,000 that is a lot of people. When it comes down to it I think that dropping the bomb was the lesser of two evils, and therefore the right thing to do. Nevertheless the decision probably would have haunted me for many years.

    The pictures of the burned people made me think of the fire sweeping over the city in chapter two and how many lives that alone took. Such as the people in the park fighting the flames with small pales of water, and beating it with the clothes on their backs. The men, women, or children that did not have the strength left to run from the flames most likely would have been consumed by them. Also those that did survive with the burns would have been majorly disabled making it vary hard for them to even survive in the destroyed city. As well as the fire, the burned people also made me think of (for some reason) the “roasted” pumpkins, and bags of rice that Reverend Tanimoto, and other people of the park were eating. The food was most likely irradiated by the bomb, and therefore poisonous to the people. Those that were too weak most likely died from consumption of this food, and those who didn’t were probably made really sick strait away or later on in his/her life.

    The final thing that crossed my mined when looking at all the new information was the 1.5 mile radius of destruction left by the bomb, as well as all of the businesses, such as Dr. Fuji’s privet hospital that toppled into the river. Also, Mrs. Nakamura’s home which collapsed on her and her three children; how many people lost everything in the explosion and had nothing left to truly live for. It brings me back to my earlier point that dropping the bomb was morally wrong. However on a bit more positive note I believe that the descriptions of Dr. Fuji and Mrs. Nakamura during the explosion were some of the best descriptive moments in the book so far.

  8. Between looking through the pieces highlighted on the blog, such as the two poems and Time’s photo essay, and reading about the real-life events depicted in the book, Hiroshima, I realized just how much the atomic bombing changed the lives of the Japanese city folk and the city itself. This was shown to me through the powerful photographs taken at the scene of the wreckage and the detailed description of people’s injuries and struggles.
    The photo essays were quite effective because as they say, a picture tells a thousand words. Although the descriptions in the book are very detailed and created exceptional imagery, picturing it in my mind is a lot different than seeing it for real. This is because I know subconsciously that the depictions that are created in my mind are just that, creations in my mind; however seeing them in reality is so striking it assures me that the horrific descriptions in the book are real. For example, the picture of the burned man’s back reminds me of Dr. Sasaki’s recollection of the burned and wounded as he numbly worked through the hordes of injured people. Dr. Sasaki recalls that he “began to find dreadful burns,” probably similar to the one featured in Time’s photo essay.
    Another example of a picture that reminded me of the book, Hiroshima, is the first few pictures in Time’s essay with the stripped trees, cleared areas and cluttered rubble making the scenes look very much like a wasteland. This reminded me of Father Kleinsorge’s observations as he walked through the ruined city. “It was then when he realized the extent of the damage; he passed block after block of ruins.” When I viewed the essay and reread the passage, I just thought of those specific pictures over and over and supposed that was something like what Father Kleinsorge had seen.
    The two poems featured on the blog made me think of the entire book in general. For example, “The End and the Beginning,” crept into my mind when I read about the piles of destroyed houses and buildings, collapsed and unusable. When the poem mentioned how someone would have to clean it up, I realized that the mess of corpses and edifices were included. This made me remember how the nurses had started to clean up the bodies of the scarred deceased and how gruesome that job must have been. Moreover, the other poem, “A Song on the End of the World,” is so much like the book because in the poem, everyone is doing mundane activities when the world ends, just like our six characters are participating in their everyday lives when the atomic bomb gets detonated.
    Without a doubt, it is clear how similar the depictions about the end of the world and recollections of the detrimental blast at Hiroshima are. The poems and pictures provided a beneficial supplement to my reading of the book that helped me better comprehend and envision the story of the lucky few survivors.

  9. In considering the topic of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first topic that always comes to my mind is that of deterrence. The sheer terror of the Hiroshima blast has been enough to stop countries from nuking one another through many rocky periods of time. Therefore, I believe that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were important to world history, as the effects of the atom bomb, both on the cities and their people, were instrumental in making sure it would never happen again.
    In both the pictures on the blog and in Hiroshima by John Hersey, an incredible amount of raw human suffering can be witnessed. People were misplaced, hurt, radiated, and dead. All people could see around them were the skeletons of their former city and a looming mushroom-shaped cloud. The horrors experienced by survivors like Kiyoshi Tanimoto and Hatsuyo Nakamura encapsulate how tragic the bomb was. Upon seeing the monster they had created, many people, like Albert Einstein, immediately started preaching against the use of atomic weapons, for the terror they could unleash was far beyond what humans were meant to control. But it doesn’t take a genius like Einstein to recognize this. In the 67 years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, another atomic weapon has not been used as an instrument of war. This can be attributed to the effects the bombs had on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The raw destructive force unleashed was more than enough to convince the United States and the following atomic forces (Russia, England, France, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel) that nukes were never meant to be used. Even in tense situations, like the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Ramadan War, the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are remembered, and thus another tragedy is avoided. It was through the suffering of the residents of these two Japanese cities that the rest of us have been spared their fate.
    To summarize, I believe that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both tragedies, there can be no other opinion. However, I do believe the these two incidents are the best deterrence we have against the use of such weapons. Hopefully, we will never have to experience another horror like the one of the end at World War II, but if we do, there is a pile of evidence why it shouldn’t happen. Hiroshima, the book that is, and the surviving historical documents are more that enough to support a stance of nuclear deterrence.

  10. When I first read the poem, “A Song on the End of the World,” I was instantly able to connect the poem to the book, Hiroshima, by John Hersey. One part that I easily connected to was how each of the pieces had people continuing with their everyday lives, like they didn’t think that anything bad would ever happen right at that moment. The book Hiroshima is set up so that the readers follow six survivors from the time the atomic bomb was dropped on the city and then it continues to tell their stories. The very first chapter of the book is the explanation of what the six people were doing when the bomb struck. I connected this to the poem because the poem begins with setting a peaceful and normal picture, “On the day the world ends/Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas/A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn/Vegetable peddlers shout in the street/And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island/The voice of a violin lasts in the air/And leads into a starry night.” This stanza from the poem paints the picture of a normal life, with nothing out of the ordinary.

    When I scrolled through the BBC slide show, one slide in particular jumped out to me. The image “A Bomb Dome” was very interesting to me, but also very saddening. I suddenly realized that what the Americans did during World War II was not just at all. The Japanese living in Hiroshima were living their regular lives, and even though it was war time, there did not ask to be bombed. One piece in the book that describes this situation is the section about Mrs. Nakamura; in her section of the book in chapter one, readers are able to see that effect the war has on mothers (or widows) with children and how their lives must be altered in order to be safe. To me, the picture of the Dome seems like the Dome is there for protection against evil (the nuclear weapons.) The people don’t want to fight and the slide show and the book are proof of this.

    Finally, after looking at the poem, “The End and The Beginning,” I was able to connect the outcome of the bomb on society to some of the stanzas found in the poem. For example, in the poem it says, “Someone has to push the rubble/to the side of the road/so the corpse-filled wagons/can pass,” and I couldn’t help but think about all of the crumbling houses and buildings with all of the bodies of people that was a result from the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. The slideshow pictures show the effects and the descriptions in the book to. For example, in the section that talk about Mrs. Sasaki in chapter one, it describes a book case that falls over her body. Book cases were the least of some peoples’ worries in the city. People towards the end of the war also still had to continue to pick up the “rubble” and push it towards the side of the road because the corpses were still being found.

    To conclude, both of the two poems and the multiple slideshows of the city Hiroshima were very helpful for me to learn more about the devastations that occurred and the different views that some people had on the specific situation. I was easily able to compare these resources to the book Hiroshima by John Hersey.

    The poem, “A Song at the End of the World” sets the general stage for how a culture is going to move or look like every day. The book Hiroshima relates to this poem easily because of the innocence. When I read this poem I can better imagine what everyone is doing in Hiroshima because it sets up a momentous change while the population has no idea of what’s going to potentially destroy their lives. However, this poem contrasts from the book in my opinion because of the line, “No one believes it is happening now.” I take this statement literally. No one can know what is happening when an Atomic bomb drops. No one thinks that very second when it hits, “What’s happening?” or “Is this real?” They’re not even thinking really. Their mind goes into panic mode and everything slows down around them. In fact, I would imagine that the idea doesn’t even sink in until later just with any life threatening incident. Most people just react, it’s human nature. All of the people in Hiroshima act exactly as I have described above.

    The second poem, “The End and the Beginning” really touches upon Dr. Sasaki and Dr. Fujii. The first two lines, “After every war/someone has to clean up” reminds me of the struggle that Dr. Sasaki endures, working huge hours every day to help as many patients as he possibly can. Also, how Dr. Fujii goes on, attempting to help get first aid supplies for others is heroic. Badly injured himself, he still has the will to focus on the wellbeing of others. In my mind, these two are “cleaning up” the remnants of shattered lives the most. I especially find it interesting that the two doctors are immediately focused on others rather than the complexities of their own lives.

    In this short novel, a bomb is dropped upon an entire city killing thousands of people and injuring many more. The real life stories from these inspiring people come together to create a web of human interaction and include every facet of the mind under incredible stress. You can only fully experience human suffering on an emotional level after a major disaster. Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, and the dropping of any atomic bomb are perfect examples. They force people to undergo a series of interlocking thoughts. The human mind changes completely and each individual walks to the beat of a different drummer. In my opinion, honing in on the physiological impact of these individuals makes this book a great read.

  12. When I viewed the first slideshow from Time Magazine, I was astounded by the pictures. While reading the book, I never pictured the devastation to be as bad as it was. The views of the city were jaw-dropping. Everything was completely dead and ruined. It made me wonder how Mrs. Nakamura and her three children survived if they were only three-quarters of a mile from the explosion. They were very lucky because it looked like nothing could survive that. Also the burn pictures showed me how badly our country hurt these people. I never imagined the damage for what it really was. These were the real- life images that people in this book saw and it’s horrifying that they had to endure all of it and I have so much respect for all survivors. All of this makes me have another question. Why would the U.S. do this to another country? What makes dropping two atomic bombs civil or humane? I don’t feel that regular people should be punished for the actions of their military and leaders. It wasn’t the people of Hiroshima that kept on fighting a war after being asked to end it. The second slide-show was just as sad, but some of the pictures were uplifting to know that the city built it-self back up after the event.

    The poems too had a strong connection to the story. The first poem, “A Song on the End of the World,” reminded me of the opening chapter of the book. The first and second verses of the poem are all about the everyday activities that people are doing when ‘the end of the world’ comes. In the novel, the six characters were all up to their normal activities when it came. “A fisherman mend a glimmering net” reminds me most of the story. Both the description in the poem and the people in the book where working on normal activities when chaos hit. For example, Mr. Tanimoto was helping friend move furniture when he bomb was dropped. All together I enjoyed this poem because it was very descriptive and made the unthinkable devastation such as Hiroshima seem not as devastating for a moment because no one knew it was going to happen. It gives off the impression that those who didn’t know it came and died worry free in their normal lives. The second poem reminds me of the immediate aftermath of the bomb and how everyone needs help for their injuries because in fact, someone does have to clean up after a war. The poem reminded me of The BBC slideshow. That slideshow showed a rebuilt Hiroshima, cleaned up and back in business after the bomb. So there were people cleaning up and helping after the atomic bomb.

  13. After both reading the poems and looking at the slideshows, there was a particular line in the middle of the poem, “The End and the Beginning” by Wislawa Szymborska, which set something off in me when I read it; after reading “those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps/Do not believe it is happening now,” I could picture all of the residents of Hiroshima who got a false sense of security from the all-clear signal that sounded and returned to their previous, mundane activities, only to be completely awestruck when they saw the flash of an atomic bomb. For example, Mrs. Nakamura allowed her children stay on their bedrolls even though the warning siren went off because the head of her Neighborhood Association told her not to bother evacuating unless it the specific urgent signal was sounded, allowing her to return to her home to prepare the days cooking. The people trusted the warning system, so they were able to rest easy when it told them that they were safe and never questioned whether or not it could potentially miss something that would have a horrible and deadly impact on their lives. For this reason, people like Miss Sasaki went to their jobs not thinking that any American planes would affect them on that day. They had no idea that it was coming and thought that if something of the sort were to occur, they would be given a fair warning in advance so as to let them know it was coming soon enough to evacuate to their shelters. They could never have expected that their lives would ever change in such a huge way in just a matter of hours, especially when, as it mentioned in “A Song on the End of the World” by Czelaw Milosz, on that day “A bee circles a clover “A fisherman mends a glimmering net” saying that all was normal and as it should have been on any other day. The only difference between that day and the others before them was that at the beginning of that day, children had their parents, families had homes, and all of their possessions were intact (things that until this point were taken for granted) and by the end of the day, as it said in the BBC News article, 2,000 to 6,500 children were or were soon to be orphaned, houses miles away from the explosion collapsed as if it was wind blowing leaves during storm, and the only thing that many people had left of their previous lives was their names and their faith. Overall, the unexpectedness of the devastation of the atomic bomb made its effects, short term and long, all the more difficult for the people of Hiroshima to handle and deal with.

  14. I choose to compare and contrast Hiroshima by John Hershey and the poem The End and the Beginning by Wislawa Szymborska. These two fabulous pieces of writing both have a lot of similar qualities as well as contrasting qualities. Some similarities I found between these two pieces of work were that they both relate to a devastating event. John Hershey’s book Hiroshima is all about the stories of the survivors of the atomic bomb dropped by the U.S. on the city Hiroshima in Japan August 6th, 1945. He features 6 different individuals who were some of the sparing survivors of the atomic bomb. The poem by Wislawa Szymborska is all about the aftermath of war and how devastating it really is. She pinpoints the effects that not many people would think about after a war, and they are extremely eye opening. They both portray images through stories about how devastating war and the atomic bomb actually were. They capture your attention with their extreme reality and imagery. For example in Hiroshima each character talk about the aftermath of the bomb, and how they saw it with their own eyes, I feel like the poem The End and the Beginning even though not, could be an example of the aftermath of Hiroshima and how someone portrayed it with their own eyes. These two pieces of work were both written with intentions of capturing the reader and drawing them in to disasters such as a war and an atomic bomb. The beginning of the two pieces start off by putting the reader into the situation, as I was reading both the book and the poem, from the beginning I was completely drawn in. I felt as if I was actually there in the speaker’s position. For example in the begging of Hiroshima by Hershey, he talks about where everyone was during the “noiseless flash” he starts off with Miss Toshiko Sasaki’s story and how she was just turning her head to talk to the clerk at the next desk in her office. Indeed the poem starts off right away, throwing the reader into the speaker’s position saying “After every war someone has to clean up.” These two works both begin in such similar ways that draw in the reader from the get go.
    Along with similarities these two pieces of work have differences as well. The End and the Beginning is said in a more poetic way with not one direct person individualized. For example, the repetition of the word “someone” throughout the poem can target anyone your mind puts into that position as “someone.” But the story Hiroshima targets the six people who were interviewed by Hershey, giving individual names and details about their stories. Also, these two pieces contrast each other because the poem is very short and sums up the aftermath of war in about ten stanzas. But Hiroshima is 152 pages of the stories of six individual survivors of the war. These two works both go into extreme detail, but I came to find that the book Hiroshima by Hershey goes into more depth about the characters in their story, rather than just “someone” which is repeated in the poem. Overall, these two pieces are fantastic, drawing on the reader with every line. Their similarities and differences however do not define them because they are both outstanding.

  15. Viewing the slide shows and reading the poems helped to show me how much suffering actually took place after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. While reading, I am able to picture the wounded walking through their burning town, trying to reach safety because the pictures showed me how much damage was actually caused and how hard it must have been for the Japanese people to reach a place out of harms way.
    I assume it was almost impossible for the victims of the atomic bomb to stay positive, but as I read, I noticed small acts of kindness and hopefulness that could have saved some one’s life or given them the strength to hold on. For example, Mr. Tanimoto, one of the main characters in this book, showed extreme gratitude for his health and did whatever he could to help others. He worked endlessly to keep the wounded safe from the river and made sure they all add food and water. He made it his duty to help them, despite the ugly and disgusting wounds they acquired from the bomb. For example, on page 45, Mr. Tanimoto described a time when he grabbed a woman’s hand and her slimy, damaged skin slipped off her body. He had to tell himself, “These are human beings,” as he helped the rest of the men and women across the river.
    Another instance where hope and optimism were shown was by Mrs. Kamai, a mother who held the corpse of her dead baby. She was determined to keep her baby’s body around until she could find her husband. She said that her husband loved their baby so much and she wanted him to see her one last time. Mr. Tanimoto helped to keep her dream alive by promising to try to find him, even though it was almost impossible.
    “A Song on the End of the World,” by Czeslaw Milosz, seems very true because it describes the victims of the atomic bomb as normal and helpless. When the bomb was dropped, everyone was doing their own thing. For example, Dr. Fujii was reading a magazine on his porch and Miss Sasaki was talking to the girl at the desk next to her at work. In the poem, the lines saying, “On the day the world ends / Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas, / A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of the lawn.” This helps to show me that the people of Hiroshima posed no threat to the Americans and weren’t doing anything wrong on the day the bomb was dropped.

  16. Upon watching both slideshows, I truly realized the effects that the atomic bomb had on Hiroshima in 1945. Reading about one’s stories and struggles due to Hiroshima is completely different than examining powerful slideshows. Within the slideshow, I solely focused on the effects that the atomic bomb had on Japan. For instance, the eighth picture in “Time Magazine Hiroshima Photo Essay” displays a panoramic aerial view of the town weeks after the bomb hit. Immediately after seeing this photo, I think back to Hiroshima by John Hersey, when Father Kleinsorge wandered the streets for survivors. He described, “The street was cluttered with parts of houses that had slid into it, and with fallen telephone poles and wires.” Interpreting the picture and text, I gain a different sense of what this bomb did to this Japanese city. After completing the slideshow, I found the fifth picture to have a serious impact at me. This photo shows a man’s back that is horribly scarred by the atomic bomb. Just laying my eyes on the photo for a brief second makes my stomach turn and I can’t help but to look away. This photo captures so much emotion regarding fright, harm, and destruction. I can’t help but to think back into the story Hiroshima by John Hersey, in chapter two, when Mr. Tanimoto adventured across the East Parade Ground. He recalls, “…was now a scene of a gruesome review: rank on rank of the burned and bleeding.” Regarding the physical pain that tens of thousands of Japanese experienced can only show what war does to a country. War is not the key to solving any problem, and unfortunately in this case it ended with a boom. Realizing how much of a mark we put on that country, I almost disagree with the actions that we took. Taking thousands of innocent lives, I can’t help but feel compassion for Japan. Innocent people were physically and mentally scared, all due to war.

    Once I analyzed both poems, I found “A Song at the End of the World” to really connect with “Hiroshima.” Each stanza bonds beautifully with each other, for all are about the everyday actions taking place in nature and life. After reading the poem, I better understood how much of a devastating reality the atomic bomb had on Hiroshima. All were taking part in their everyday actions, and no one expected anything this consequential to occur. I better understand how confused Dr. Sasaki once while walking along the hospital corridor with a blood specimen for a test, seconds later only to grasp onto the concept of him being the only unharmed doctor. Or even what may have flashed through Mrs. Nakamura’s mind milliseconds before the bomb hit, just as she was gazing out from her kitchen window. Overall, I perceive a much better understanding of the effects, physically and emotionally, of the atomic bomb placed on Hiroshima. In my opinion, reading the strenuous impacts on the individuals mentioned in the story make this story one that is connectable and real.

  17. Both of the poems “A Song on The End of the World” and “The End and the Beginning” caught my eye as poems that embody the concepts displayed in John Hersey’s book. The first poem, by Czeslaw Milosz, was in my opinion the most complicated and meaningful poem of the two. The speaker gives the Japanese citizens a sense of innocence in the first three stanzas of the poem. They were living normal lives and doing nothing wrong when their entire world was changed August 6, 1945. The speaker says that life was going on “as it should always be.” Readers can feel sympathetic to this because they realize that something like this could happen to them at any given time. Nobody in Japan was expecting an atomic bomb, yet alone knew what one was. I personally felt innocence on the Japanese part after reading this poem because I put myself in their shoes. From their point of view I was able to realize the severe changes that would take place in their normal lives by the bomb. John Hersey uses a similar tactic in his book. By introducing each character as normal, everyday people, and explaining exactly what each person was doing when the bomb dropped he made the characters extremely relatable to most of his audience. He forces us to look at the bombing from their point of view just as Czleslaw Milosz does in her poem.
    However, I feel like innocence is an interesting way to explain my feelings on the Japanese citizens who suffered from the event. Everyone protects their own innocence in any given situation, so obviously the Japanese who suffered do this. It would be interesting to see how the six people in the book react to a documentary on our reasoning behind dropping the bomb. From our point of view it was the right thing to do at the time.
    Viewing the slide shows was also an eye opening experience for me. Before today I had never really thought about how severe the damage was. Seeing the entire city demolished was crazy and knowing that thousands more died a slow, painful death from irradiation after the bomb. The book described how people’s skin was literally falling off, and the images made me realize this was no exaggeration. The burns and radiation effects on the people looked awful and life changing. One thing I found interesting is how quickly Hiroshima recovered from the tragedy. Their city is completely rebuilt in the matter of 50 years which is pretty impressive. I thought that the recovery time would be more extensive.

  18. The poem “A Song on the End of the World” by Czeslaw Milosz really made me think about the beginning of the book, Hiroshima, by John Hersey. In both the poem and the book, people are going on with their life as they would if it was any other normal day. It was any other normal day for the victims of the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima. The book starts off by describing the lives of six survivors before the bomb was dropped. They were all going on with their everyday schedules before the bomb hit. The poem also describes how it was just a normal, blissful day until the “end of the world” happened. The first stanza of this poem is by far my favorite since it describes little, but happy things in life that happen every day, but then again contradicts itself but starting with the line “On the day the world ends”.

    I really like the poem “The End and The Beginning” by Wislawa Szymborska. The first couple stanzas reminded me of the first picture in the BBC News slideshow. There is a before and after photo of a building that was ruined, but still standing, after the bomb, and a photo of the building rebuilt and standing today. “After every war/someone has to clean up./Things wont/straighten themselves up, after all.” This line relates to the picture because after the bomb, the people of Hiroshima cleaned up their city and rebuilt this building. Just like the poem states, someone has to clean up and the survivors of the bomb did just that.

    I really enjoyed looking at the slideshows because it really helped me picture the images in the book better. I pictured ashes and rubble and fires all around the city. I pictured people running around looking for doctors and their loved ones. These two slideshows gave me real life examples of what the survivors actually looked like. The emotion on their faces, as well as the permanent wounds on their bodies is almost unbearable. The sixth photo in the BBC News slideshow got to me the most. I related this to one of Mrs. Hatsuyuo Nakamura’s children after getting caught under the rubble. This is how I pictured them crying for their mother to help them get out.

    I continue to think about all of the survivors of the Atomic Bomb. I wonder how they’ve lived all this time with the emotional and physical wounds that this attack caused them. The pictures of the men, women, and children are enough to make me wish I could’ve helped.

  19. I have focused mainly on just how normal everybody’s day was going until the atom bomb was dropped. In the first pages of the book, Miss Sasaki was about to talk to her office neighbor; Father Kleinsorge was reading; Dr. Sasaki was doing a blood test. These mundane, normal activities were interrupted by the explosion of the bomb. Nothing I have read or watched has come close to resembling this except the poem “A Song on the End of the World” by Czeslaw Milosz. This poem perfectly creates a picture in a person’s head of nature being natural: “On the day the world ends/ A bee circles a clover,/ A fisherman mends a glimmering net./ Happy porpoises jump in the sea,//”. These ordinary, standard activities construe nothing of the impending horrors. Just like in the poem, the same, normal things are going on in the Japanese city of Hiroshima. People were just going about their lives when the bomb was dropped, and I believe that in those moments, they experienced the exact same thoughts and feelings that the fictional characters in the poem were meant to feel. In the Time Photos slide show, I was struck by how many normal people were affected by the bomb. People like Mrs. Nakamura’s son, who had nightmares for weeks after he learned that his hero, Hideo, had been killed in his factory. This was an innocent child who was so affected that even when not conscious, his brain shows him horrible pictures. This can be so easily connected to a number of the pictures, from the mass of children warming their hands over the fire to picture of victims, looking out of place, uncertain, and defeated in sterilized white robes and mouth masks. Also, the picture of the man and two women with keloids was especially powerful because it shows just how powerful the aftermath of the bomb was. These people, who probably had nothing to do with the war against America, except live in Japan, are now disfigured for the rest of their life. Regular people, with their regular lives upended by the decision of a few people, thousands of miles away, are forever changed. The people in “Hiroshima” were affected in the exact same way, by the decision of a few that affected the lives of many. The poem “The End and the Beginning” by Wislawa Szymborska does not immediately bring to mind pictures of a destitute city, but of poor Hatsuyo Nakamura, with her rusted sewing machine, and tiny living abode. She had to sell that sewing machine to pay for doctors bills, she had to work for years to put her children through school and provide for them, she had trouble finding work, and when she finally did, only then did her outlook brighten. She built her and her family up from nothing, and because of that, when I read this poem, I picture her. Only after I contemplate this do I think of things like the final picture on the Time Photos slide show, or the A Bomb Dome in the BBC picture show. Then when I see the new, rebuilt Hiroshima, I realize that the people of Japan truly acted out this poem. Not only did they rebuild their own lives, but also their cities. This is a truly inspiring, and powerful message.

  20. In the slideshow the first connection that I made was the picture of the Japanese man’s scared and burned back. When I saw it I felt like I was looking back at when Dr. Fugii and Dr. Sasaki when they were tending to the burnt victims. I also pictured when Mr. Tanimoto was trying to pull the two young girls from the river and their shin was coming right off. Another picture I connected to Hiroshima was the one with the man facing the shambles of the city. When I saw this my mind went back to Mrs. Nakamura when she was digging her children out of the ruble. This also connected to the poem The End and the Beginning by Wislawa Szymborska. When she said “Someone has to push the rubble” I thought of how in the novel everyone still alive was evacuated. After reading this I thought of who would go back into the city to try to rebuild it. They succeeded in getting everybody alive out. However, now I realized how difficult it must have been to get of all the debris and rebuild the city. Since, you can’t just leave it completely destroyed.
    I also connected the poem A Song on the End of the World by Czeslaw Milsoz to the story. I found the beginning of the poem to be quite similar to the beginning of the book. In which all of the people in Hiroshima are going about their daily life. For example, Mr. Tanimoto is helping a friend move and Mr. Kleinsorge is reading a magazine. I connected this to when Milsoz speaks of the bee circling a flower and the fisherman tending to his nets. Moreover, I also really liked when Milsoz said “And those who expected lightning and thunder/Are disappointed.” I found this to represent not only the title of the chapter “A Noiseless Flash” but to the fact that people miles away that could barely hear the explosion still had the same effect as those closer.
    Lastly, I did find it to be interesting how in the poems it seemed as though everyone was killed almost instantly and there were no survivors. In the book, although few, there seemed to be more people than I would have expected to have survived. On a similar note the picture of the former Trade Promotion Hall, taken by Mike Coles, was also still standing. When I think of Hiroshima I think of complete destruction nothing but ruble and open land. However, this building did survive the bomb which slightly changes my outlook on Hiroshima. Knowing now that more people/buildings were alive than I would have presumed.

  21. After viewing the photos in the slideshows from Time Magazine and BBC, I’ve realized how much destruction the atomic bomb had actually caused on the day it dropped during the war. I knew that it had been bad, but after seeing real photos illustrating the devastation, I now have an accurate resource to judge the damage. Living in the United States and being an American, this is painful to learn about. It’s sad to know that President Harry Truman had made such a decisive choice to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. When I say “Hiroshima,” I only think of a place, and simply a place. However, these photos have opened my eyes, and I realize that I didn’t want to believe that all these people had been killed and mutilated by this bomb. Businesses, factories, homes, schools, and hospitals were destroyed, leaving people hopeless. Japanese citizens were affected physically and mentally by this event. Seeing photos of young children, without their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, crying out of pain is heartbreaking. To know that my country was the culprit of this is sickening. I understand where the President was coming from; trying to end the war, but there must have been an alternative. Seeing those children remind me of Mrs. Nakamura’s three children. Even though they survived, I can’t help but think about if one of them was sitting in a different position, or a different location, how their fate would differ. With that said, I can connect this book to the poem “A Song on the End of the World” by Czeslaw Milosz. This poem compares to Hiroshima by John Hersey because both illustrate how people go throughout their days doing normal, ordinary things such as walking a dog, laundry, driving to work, making dinner, and countless more tasks. But suddenly, something quite out of the ordinary can happen, like the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. You never know what is going to come in the future, and you can’t do anything to prevent it. The lines “ On the day the world ends/A bee circles a clover,/A fisherman mends a glimmering net…//On the day the world ends/Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,/A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,…” show how everything carries on normally, and then something sudden occurs. All the characters introduced in the book were all going about their days, however, doing things out of routine unintentionally and unknowing of the bomb. Mr. Tanimoto helped his friend move some of his daughter’s belongings to a house just outside of the city center. Mrs. Nakamura decided to stay home and let her children sleep. Dr. Fujii wakes up earlier than usual to bring his friend to the train station. Father Kleinsorge rests and reads a magazine in his room, weakened from diarrhea. Dr. Sasaki took an earlier train than usual because he could not sleep. These five individuals all averted the bomb and survived due to their decisions. This just shows how one little move you make can change your life forever.

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