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Hiroshima Disaster Essay


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Hiroshima Disaster

            In times of disaster, communities are either split apart or brought together. John Hersey, in his book Hiroshima, shows a community that unites amid mass destruction. Among the main reasons why Hersey wrote Hiroshima was to show the lack of a national or political response to the bombing of Hiroshima. However, Hersey shows the reader that the community united and joined hands to support each other. In simple terms, Hersey’s central theme in Hiroshima is Communal Unity amid mass destruction. Hersey says that a community can stand together even in the worst of times and that people should always be united no matter what is happening around them.

The bombing of Hiroshima had caused a lot of destruction all across the land, and it was a very tough and dark season for everyone, but the community stood together. In Chapter Four, Hersey states that “One feeling they did seem to share, however, was a curious kind of elated community spirit… a pride in the way they and their fellow-survivors had stood up to the dreadful ordeal” (Hersey,2020). Community spirit permeates throughout the rest of the book. Hersey put much emphasis on community spirit throughout Hiroshima more than any other theme or idea.

It is interesting how Hersey redefines what family truly is in times of crisis. He shows the reader that those who stand together in times of hardships are a family and that family does not just have the same DNA. At the East Parade Ground, Asano Park, and at the riverbank, Hersey shows how people take care of each other even though they are not blood-related. Most people here do not even live close to their blood families, yet they find family in each other. They provide comfort, food, and water to each other as a family. The way the community shows care for each other is even more than their biological families would show.

The unfortunate destruction caused by the bombing, which includes separation and destruction of families and homes, the people of Hiroshima have no option but to come together and form some new forms of families. One of the people in the book Hiroshima is faced with this challenge is Father Kleinsorge, whose real blood family is assumed to be living in Germany, and creates a new family in Hiroshima. He first forms a friendship with some of his fellow priests in Hiroshima, and then he later makes companionship with the Kataoka children, the Nakamuras and Miss Sasaki. With time he gets more and more friends, “family.”

            People have a particular mindset on what a family is made up of, primarily based on bloodlines. However, Hiroshima challenges this notion and opens the reader’s mind to a whole new different perspective of family and who is truly family. Hersey takes us on a journey of appreciating each other no matter where one is from and that kindness is a universal language. Anyone that provides a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on, a smile, and warmth in times of darkness are family. The bombing at Hiroshima was a horrible disaster, but “families” were born out of it, and the communal spirit won in the end.


Hersey, John. Hiroshima. Vintage, 2020.

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