full title · Hiroshima
author · John Hersey
type of work · Journalistic narrative
genre · War account
language · English
time and place written · United States, 1946
date of first publication · August 31, 1946
publisher · The New Yorker magazine; Alfred A. Knopf
narrator · John Hersey, a journalist
point of view · The narrator speaks in the third person, focusing on the actions of the six main characters. The narrator describes the characters’ actions and periodically gives the reader a glimpse into what they were thinking and feeling, based on his interviews with them.
tone · Objective and removed; unemotional
tense · Past
setting (time) · August 6, 1945 and the forty years following
setting (place) · Hiroshima, Japan
major conflict · The detonation of the atomic bomb
rising action · The routine wartime actions of the six main characters in the morning before the bomb drops
climax · The detonation of the atomic bomb, as experienced by the six main characters
falling action · The six central figures’ recovery from their injuries and reentry into daily life
themes · Community survival in the face of mass destruction; Japanese stoicism and personal submission; the unnatural power of the bomb
motifs · Death; chance; acceptance of life’s capriciousness; confusion and ignorance
symbols · The lush new greenery; the keloids; water
foreshadowing · The opening of the first chapter tells us what each character was doing in the instant before the bomb drops; we already know about the climax—the bomb’s detonation—because the book is a historical account.
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