AP Language and Composition-1
28 September 2007
John Hersey’s Hiroshima
Despite the emotional plot of Hiroshima, written by John Hersey, the story itself holds more than meets the eye. There are those who would say that Hiroshima was simply just a story to educate young people on the bombings that occurred in Japan, 1945. On the other hand, there is a stronger argument that the story had more meaning than just a plot. Woven into Hiroshima were rhetorical devices such as irony and alliteration which enhanced the story by giving readers a sense of pathos.
Irony was best expressed in Hiroshima which instilled a sense question within the reader’s mind. Irony was best expressed in many ways throughout the story. One prime example of irony in Hiroshima was a couple weeks after the bomb, flowers started to bloom on the bomb site, especially in the center of the city. “It actually seemed as if a load of sickle-senna seed had been dropped along with the bomb” (69). It is ironic that the bomb killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed buildings and homes leaving Hiroshima a huge mess, and yet a few weeks after the bombing, “weeds already hid the ashes, and wild flowers were in bloom among the city’s bones” (69). Also in Hersey’s Hiroshima, another example of irony is the courteous admonition: “Let’s be careful not to smoke too much, for the sake of our health” (109). This is ironic because everyone is dying from radiation sicknesses, wounds caused by heavy and sharp objects that ricocheted off them during the explosion or serious burns yet Dr. Sasaki is concerned by not smoking too much. Hersey likes to use a lot of irony in this work because it introduces a number of different paradoxes such as with the flowers blooming in a dead city. Also, irony encourages readers to feel emotions in while reading. Irony not only gives a sense of appropriate humor to the victims’ hardships, such as Dr. Sasaki not smoking so much because he is...