Hersey’s Argument: Who Agrees? & Who Doesn’t?
John Hersey the author of Hiroshima, addresses a very sentimental topic from a different perspective; that of the Japanese. He wrote this originally as an article for one of the most read newspapers at that time, The New Yorker, in 1946. His article gained popularity quite fast because people were interested to know the other side of the story. Soon he made it into a book that is still read by many. Hiroshima gives the reader an understanding of the suffering that Japanese went through and makes the reader feel sympathy and sorrow for these people. After reading the book the reader understands that Hersey’s argument was that the Japanese suffered enough through the war and it was not worth killing so many innocent lives. Hersey was successful in his argument because he did gain the support and sympathy of many Americans.
John Hersey uses narration to identify with the reader so that the reader can agree with him. His argument was that dropping the bomb was wrong and by using narration he can get the reader to agree with him by telling the story of people who went through this event. An example of narration that Hersey used was when describing an injured woman by saying, “Her left leg was not severed but it was badly broken and cut and it hung askew below the knee. They took her into the courtyard. It was raining” (Hersey 43). He uses the sense of sight to bring out a purpose which is the purpose of persuading the reader to feel sympathy. Using this rhetorical mode was successful because he made the reader feel as if he/she was there at the time. Another rhetorical mode Hersey used to help support his argument was description. By using this strategy, Hersey helps the readers visualize what they are reading or imagine what is happening. He achieves this through using descriptive words and by describing the feelings of characters. An example of him using description in his writing was when he said, “Opposite the house to the right of the front door, there was a large, finicky garden. There was no sound of planes. The morning was still; the place was cold and pleasant” (Hersey 6). He uses many adjectives like “large” and “finicky” to describe the setting that helps the reader imagine what it would look like before the bombing. Hersey was successful in using this strategy because he was being descriptive and included many details. A piece of writing that would support Hersey’s argument is The Testimony of Yoshitaka Kowamoto. This testimony was an example of another traumatizing experience during the dropping of the bomb. In the testimony Kowamoto describes his experience showing everything he suffered making people feel sympathy for him which is what Hersey was trying to achieve for the people he wrote about. To achieve his purpose, Yoshitaka uses example as a rhetorical strategy by persuading the reader that the events that happened were a really bad experience to go through. He uses concrete details to help achieve the purpose when saying, “The sky over Hiroshima was dark. Something like a tornado or a big fireball was storming throughout the city” (Yoshitaka Kowamoto). This