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A Literary Analysis of John Hersey

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A Literary Analysis of John Hersey

John Hersey was born in China. His parents were missionaries and raised him in a religious fashion.# His humanistic views were a product of this upbringing. After graduating from Yale, class of 1936#, he dabbled in the art of poetry.# Soon after, he advanced into writing novels. Thought to be one of the last civil writers,# Hersey wrote for Time magazine during World War II, in which he documented many historical accounts.# Hersey also worked under famous muckraker Sinclair Lewis#, whom from he probably obtained his "tell it how it is" writing style. Over the years he has been classified as an American novelist, non-fiction writer, short story writer, editor, and journalist.# John Hersey uses humanistic ideas, explicit detail, and governmental power to convey his story’s moral.

After reviewing article after article, one can surmise that John Hersey is a pure humanist. A humanist in that, he is a person who cares about what we do to ourselves and a person who believes that all people are good. Some critics proclaim that Hersey only sees people in time of crisis and not how they really are, which contributes to a sort of bias on Hersey’s part.# In any case, his views are genuine and well rounded. Hersey uses his belief in the goodness of man to exhibit his humanistic ideas.

John Hersey uses his belief in the goodness of man to show his humanistic ideas. Hersey feels all humans are good, which in many cases is not always true. Hersey demonstrates his humanistic idea of the goodness of man in Hiroshima. After the bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, there is almost complete devastation. However, Hersey portrays the few "healthy" survivors as all perfect humans. These "perfect humans" stop to help EVERYONE. This seems almost to good to be true. Many people would stop to help, but first priority to most people is themselves. Another example, where Hersey shows his belief in the goodness of man, is that all the people in Hiroshima are nice and almost care free. This could be because a nuclear bomb just exploded and the people are still in disbelief, or it could be another one of Hersey’s humanstic ideas. His views reflect these humanistic ideas because Hersey feels responsible towards society, and thinks everyone else should to.# This is why all the people want to help dig others out and rebuild. They do it...

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...elf of brilliant work, and we are all his beneficiaries."

Footnotes are order on paper.

Wiseman, Carter. A Life in Writing: John Hersey, 1914-1993. (http://www.yale.edu/yam/YAMarchives/Archiveswebsite/Arts/Hersey.html) October 1993. Date viewed: April 22, 2001, p.1

# Wiseman, p.1

# Ibid, p.2

# Ibid, p.5

# Anonymous, John Hersey. (http://jhhs.dis214.k12.il.us/aboutjhhhs/biography/biography.html) October 12, 1999. Date viewed: April 22, 2001, p.1

# Hart, James D. The Oxford Companion to American Literature.

(New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) p.331

# Marowski, Daniel G. Contemporary Literary Criticism. vol 40.

(Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1986) p.225

# Curly, Dorothy. Modern American Literature. vol 2.

(New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1969) p.84

# Wiseman, p.3

# Saucer, Mark. John Hersey. p. 2

# Commire, Anne. Something About the Author. vol 25. (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1981) p.141

# Saucer, Mark. John Hersey. p. 3

# Curly, p.84

# Ibid, p.84

# Wiseman, p.1

# Bryfonski, Dedria. Contemporary Literary Criticism. vol 7.

(Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1977) p.153

# Wiseman, p.4
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