AP Language and Composition
September 28, 2007
Hiroshima, written by John Hersey is a book that takes account of the August 6, 1945, bombing in Hiroshima, Japan. Hersey writes about the events before, during and after the bomb was dropped, as well as the effects that it had on six survivors, and the city as a whole. Throughout this account, Hersey uses numerous rhetorical devices that enhance the reading, such as irony and alliteration. Hershey’s intended purpose of informing the reader of these events, by providing up-close, personal accounts, accentuates these devices and adds to its powerful message.
The rhetorical device of irony is widely used throughout this book. “The lives of these six people, who were among the luckiest in Hiroshima, would never be the same” (87). Although these six survivors were alive, their lives significantly changed from this incident, and therefore, would never the same. This is ironic, because unlike many, they are alive. It is ironic to think that even the survivors’ lives were going to be different after this day, let alone, those who were hurt or those affected by the people that were killed in the bombing. Another example is, “Mrs. Nakamura’s conception of it—and awe of it—was typical. The atom bomb, she would say when asked about it, is the size of a matchbox. The heat of it is six thousand times that of the sun” (89). This statement is ironic, because one would think that an object with the heat and force to kill thousands would be larger than the size of a matchbox. The irony and mockery of these statements force the reader to think about misconceptions of society, and brings emphasis to the idea of the story.
Alliteration is another rhetorical device used in Hiroshima. This device calls attention to a phrase and fix’s it into the readers mind to stress importance. For instance, “He noticed in some of his patients a curious syndrome of symptoms that cropped out in the third and fourth...