Hiroshima (Hersey) And Night (Wiesel)

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"There are no extraordinary men...just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with."

Admiral William Frederick Halsey Jr. (Bull) (American Naval Officer who led vigorous campaigns during World War II, 1882-1959)

The Benevolence Forged by War

Often, we find ourselves facing dramatic events in our lives that force us to re-evaluate and redefine ourselves. Such extraordinary circumstances try to crush the heart of the human nature in us. It is at that time, like a carbon under pressure, the humanity in us either shatters apart exposing our primal nature, or transforms into a strong, crystal-clear brilliant of compassion and self sacrifice. The books Night written by Elie Wiesel and Hiroshima written by John Hersey illustrate how the usual lifestyle might un-expectantly change, and how these changes could affect the human within us. Both books display how lives of civilians were interrupted by the World War II, what devastations these people had to undergo, and how the horrific circumstances of war were sometimes able to bring out the best in ordinary people.

In the book Hiroshima, author paints the picture of the city and its residents' break point in life: before and after the drop of the "Fat Boy". Six people - six different lives all shattered by the nuclear explosion. The extraordinary pain and devastation of a hundred thousand are expressed through the prism of six stories as they seen by the author. Lives of Miss Toshiko Sasaki and of Dr. Masakazu Fujii serve as two contrasting examples of the opposite directions the victims' life had taken after the disaster. In her "past life" Toshiko was a personnel department clerk; she had a family, and a fiancé. At a quarter past eight, August 6th 1945, the bombing took her parents and a baby-brother, made her partially invalid, and destroyed her personal life. Dr. Fujii had a small private hospital, and led a peaceful and jolly life quietly enjoying his fruits of the labor. He was reading a newspaper on the porch of his clinic when he saw the bright flash of the explosion almost a mile away from the epicenter. Both these people have gotten through the hell of the A-Bomb, but the catastrophe affected them differently. Somehow, the escape from a certain death made Dr. Fujii much more self-concerned and egotistic. He began to drown in self-indulgence, and completely lost the compassion and responsibility to his patients.

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