(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Six people begin their day routinely on August 6, 1945. Dr. Fujii sits on his porch in his underwear, reading the newspaper. Dr. Sasaki arrives at Red Cross Hospital a little earlier than usual and begins treating patients. The Reverend Tanimoto helps a parishioner move belongings from a house in the suburbs. Father Kleinsorge lies down on his cot to read after morning mass. Mrs. Nakamura gives her three children some peanuts to eat while they rest on their mats. Miss Sasaki sits down at her desk to begin work. Each of these people survives the explosion of an atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15 that morning.

Immediately following the explosion, Mr. Tanimoto begins to help others, often feeling ashamed that he has not been injured. He accompanies many of the members of his neighborhood association to Asano Park, a designated gathering place for the group. Father Kleinsorge and his fellow Jesuits also go to Asano Park because their designated “safe area” is afire. Mrs. Nakamura takes her children to Asano Park, where they wait with others for food and help.

Miss Sasaki spends the hours after the explosion caught under bookcases and building beams that have twisted and broken her left leg under her; the rubble and her injuries prevent her from pulling herself out of the ruins of her office. After several men extricate her and prop her up under a metal lean-to, she waits with two other badly wounded survivors.

Dr. Sasaki and Dr. Fujii are among the few physicians who survive the bombing. Dr. Sasaki, having taken a pair of glasses from an injured nurse to replace his broken ones, treats the wounded and dying. Dr. Fujii has to extricate himself from the crossed beams of his ruined home and private hospital. With a broken collarbone and many lesser injuries, he is not able to care for other wounded people. He walks to his family’s house on the outskirts of town to spend the first night after the bombing.

Until the surrender of Japan on August 15, Mr. Tanimoto continues to help others, procuring rice from an army aid station and taking water to survivors in Asano Park. Dr. Sasaki treats the wounded at the hospital for three days after the bombing, working with almost no sleep. He goes to his mother’s house to rest for a day, then returns to the hospital. Father Kleinsorge also helps and comforts the wounded in Asano Park and helps take survivors to the Novitiate in the hills beyond the edge of the city.

Miss Sasaki is moved from a military hospital to a school that has quickly been converted to a hospital. Mrs. Nakamura and her children, who also suffer from the effects of the bomb, leave the city to stay with family. During the year after the war ended, Mrs. Nakamura manages to rent a small wooden shack and send her children back to school. She spends...

(The entire section is 1152 words.)