Narratives from the War Victims Essay

                                  Narratives from the War Victims

Arms, and the man I sing, who, forced by fate,
And haughty Juno’s unrelenting hate,
Expelled and exiled, left the Trojan shore…John Dryden

The war against war is something that inspired humanity to take the better discourse of life. The deeply grounded military feelings should be renounced from our ideals and we must provide better substitutes to the nations as well as to individuals from the ups and downs of politics and the vicissitudes of trade which trap them either in the magic of glory at once or in the feeling of shame. In the modern man’s relation to war there is something extremely absurd. Ask everyone from the north and south, east and the west whether they would vote now (if such things would be possible) to have a war for their state obliteration from history, and to attain a record of a peaceful changeover to the current time replaced with marches and battles on the road, and almost certainly barely a few of weird people would come up and say yes. This finds consonance in Zoe Tracy Hardy’s idea that though war is a curse it is a necessary course of action. However, after Hiroshima this viewpoint changed when mass destruction was witnessed. The most ideal part of what we now own together are, those ancestors, those efforts, those memories and legends, a consecrated spiritual possession worth more than all the blood poured out. But even if we ask those same people whether they would be enthusiastic in cold blood to start another civil war now to gain another similar possession, and not one man or women would vote for the suggestion. In modern eyes, a war may be precious; they must not be started only for the sake of the ideal harvest. Only when forced upon one, only when an enemy’s unfairness leaves us no substitute, is a war now thought permissible. History is a narration of how one after another war caused shedding of the blood. Writings of the time are the best reflection of the existing viewpoints and the situation that took over at that time. The Iliad is one long recital of how Diomedes and Ajax, Sarpedon and Hector killed. No detail of the wounds they made is spared us, and the Greek psyche fed upon the story. Greek history is a scenery of xenophobia and imperialism—war for war’s sake, all the citizens being soldiers. It is awful reading, because of the ludicrousness of it all—save for the idea of creating “history”—and the history is that of the utter destruction of a civilization in scholarly respects perhaps the highest the earth has ever seen. Modern war is so expensive. Sometimes we feel trade to be a better avenue to plunder; but modern men accede to all the inborn pugnacity and all the love of glory of his ancestors. Showing war’s senselessness and dreadfulness put no effect upon him. The collections of these essays are in the same lines which also show that war is not the solution.

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War is indeed a collective effort. But it is often attributed to a few individuals. In fact, it is often thought that war is the creation of only a few ‘higher ups’ who do not get directly involved in the war. These ‘few’ make the common man suffer just because of their personal whims and fancies. Writers have been quite vociferous in emphasizing this point. Below, four write ups are studied from this perspective and each connects to the main argument.

Zoe Tracy Hardy, `What Did You Do in the War Grandma? A flashback to August 1945

Hardy had the same repugnance for the war, for which she always known war as something curse deep down inside. In the essay we can see the way horror of nuclear bomb arrested her mind.  The essay starts with Hardy accepting that war is a bitter fact but necessary course of action in a way to secure the future of a civilization. She states all the war effort in an unemotional way with little realization of the horrors concerned. But everything changed after that atomic bomb took away the lives of so many Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and this thing force her to reevaluate her own political thought process.  Hardy had optimistic visions of a world powered by atomic energy when she read the chapters of high school physics, but the “strange new world” (par. 40) that appeared after the dropping of the bomb turned her into a skeptic and gloomy. Its accountability comes with the shattered vision of Hardy who felt totally outraged and betrayed by her leaders when she realized later that she was also among the decision makers who led the use of that bomb. She thought that the political leaders of her country actually “kicking a dead horse—brutally” (as she puts it in par. 52) and livid at her “final insignificance” (par. 70). In the essay at most of the places we can find how she shelves off her naiveté towards war and sex .Hardy got to know of the new positions, of the existence of sex workers, and of the dissimilarity between sex and the idyllic “Lecture 14” and sex in the real world of war and marriage. In both cases, artlessness is replaced by maturity, euphemisms by plain dialogues. And such development in one’s life after the war is quite natural. Life changes and the one look at life that also changes. In the book ‘The Feminine Mystique’ Beti Fridane talked of the same thing that how world war second not only changed the discourse of the history but also changed the world of women also.

The essay is very much accountable among the recollection of the memories of world war second, and it has shown growing responsibility of the citizens, their tryst with true democracy when they question the government on their decisions, and an eye opener for the naïveté of patriotism. This essay becomes the voice of countless people who are all individuals within their own rights.

 John Hersey, `Hatsuyo Nakamura

War leaves many survivors. ‘Hatsuyo Nakamura’ represents the survivors of first nuclear attack and their unflinching attitude towards life later. Though this presentation came from a special individual but she represented all the widowed mothers. From this essay we can find the callous attitude of the Japanese Government at first towards “explode affected persons” (paragraph 5), the injustice these people faced at the workplace and the radiation effect that made their life more miserable(paragraph 6). This is an instance of the higher ups dealing out unnecessary brutality to the common man. But in the end light dawns with the Japanese Government realizing their mistake and introducing health benefits to these survivors who were known as Hibakusha. The writings accountability is quite high especially when Heresy has told this story in an evaluative manner and where she relied mostly upon the straight coverage of happenings. Heresy stated in paragraph 2 which set good example for this fact, where she could save nothing from the fire. And only with a little money she bought a shack where she started her ‘courageous struggle’. This is a reflection on an individual’s struggle in the war in an impeccable manner.  This writing has a perfect strategy especially in choosing which events to use and in deciding, due to the significance, how much space should be provided which also emphasized its liability in many sense. In the paragraph 1-4 “Weak and destitute” Nakamura faced the extreme turmoil after becoming widowed by the war. Survived in the bombing she dug out her children and fell to radiation sickness. She sold her sewing machine with all her nostalgic feelings with her husband just to pay the doctor. In the paragraph 5-7 we can see the postwar background where hibakusha or atom bomb survivors are defined and uncaring treatment from the government, from the employers. But Nakamura faced it all as if in her destiny. Between paragraphs 8-17 we can see how she slowly recovered from the trauma and poor situation. In the island of pain like in Daniel Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’ she fought back to survive, for her children, for the life itself. She bought a shack in 1951 which became a street shop later. Her children had been fortunately been able to avoid the radiation sickness. We can also feel happy when she got a job in Suyama Chemical, made mothballs and made friends there. And in the paragraphs of 18-29, we can witness the victory of echo over the voice. The world learnt from the mistakes of past and Lucky Dragon episode followed where in the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs an A-Bomb victims Medical Care law was passed. Nakamura was stoic during this period and did not participate in any agitation and reveled in the job and marriage of her son. This also prove the accountability of the writing cause generally normal citizen remain stoic during all these agitations and ignorant toward all these World Conferences. In this paragraph we can share the small joys of Nakamura when we witness that after retirement she made dolls, and joined a folk dance groups. In the end of the paragraph her spiritual inquest was affected when she made a trip to crowded Yasukuni Shrine and felt no sense of her husband’s spirit which give value to the essay also due to the righteousness of such facts. We can see through her eyes how Japan started to boom in every aspect. She received various government pensions and saw her children prospering. In the end in a flower festival during a dance she collapsed and hospitalized.

So readers can see how Heresy set materials from all the interviews against postwar and modern happenings in Japan. All these facts literally shake a reader to think, and they must accept the writer’s talent and call this piece of essay very much accountable. All the reader during this interesting reading makes a journey from horror, pain to small joys and there this essay is very special.

William L. Laurence, `Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki Told by a Flight Member

This essay literally makes one think very hard that why there are so many faces of human, how individuals comprise humanity. Readers really get impressed by the vigor of youth of the crew even when they were given such a task of dropping first atom bomb. Major Sweeney’s address in Massachusetts (par. 10) and Lawrence’s comments to Sergeant Curry that “it’s a long way from Hoopeston” made us believe that crew was simple American youth which make the essay very much accountable. In this essay we can also witness the feeling of vengeance in the flight member to whom Japan was “the land of our enemy”. He made his moral stance clear when in the paragraph 32 he states:” Does one feel any pity or compassion for the poor devils about to die? Not when one think of Pearl Harbor and of the Death March of Batan.” The same feeling was there in many fellow Americans at that time. These facts also prove this piece of essay portrayed the true feelings that Americans then have and give immense value to this essay’s accountability. The way Lawrence used the present tense, reader can feel the pulse of those moments, especially as in paragraph 1, 10, 21 and through 24, 33, 34. This present tense also showed his expectancy to the mission (par 30-32). He used past tense to tell all the preparation for the mission ( par.3, 7-9). He also expressed his negative feelings in past tense from paragraph 35 to tell what actually happened after the mission. Lawrence also intelligently used metaphor in many stances. As in, he called the bomb as “man made meteor” (par. 3). Lawrence also called the atom bomb a “man made fireball”(par 25) and a “black object”(par. 43). Then he again resorted to this figurative language to tell the aftermath of the atom bomb explosion as “ a thousand Old faithful geysers rolled into one(par. 49): it resembles “a creature”( par. 50), a “decapitated monster” (par. 51), a “a flowerlike form”, “a giant mountain of jumbled rainbows”, and last of all, “a monstrous prehistoric creature with a ruff around its neck, a fleecy ruff” (par. 52).

This writing is very much correct due to the vivid description by the flight member and the way he switched off to present and past tense to describe his experience. This writing is again an inspiration for those who want to portray the nature of events and those who find the study of individual’s reaction and survival in a war interesting enough.

Ernest Hemingway `A New Kind of War`

 “Workers, anti-fascists, and laboring people! Rise as one man! Prepare to defend the Republic, national freedom and the democratic liberties won by the people!”….Doroles Ibarruri (Spanish politician and journalist)

The Spanish civil war has changed the discourse of history and before the world war second began it already ravaged this European country. The war began in 1936 after the Popular Front won the national election on the basis of reform. The military which had earlier run tyrannical Spanish Government revolted against the elected Popular Front, so it become the war between the common people and military. General Franco sought the help of Fascist Germany, Italy and Portugal and they really did and though Popular Front pleaded for help from the democratic governments they refused. However some voluntary help came among them America’s Lincoln Brigade left their impression whose members were militarily untrained. Just due to their resistance Fascist could not siege Madrid until the end of March, 1939. Hemingway has written this piece with an impeccable style, the way he wrote “Farewell to Arms”. The use you has come many times because he want the reader to feel one with the happenings and check the accountability by himself. The new thing in that war was that the Fascist bombings and shelling all were mostly directed to common people and Hemingway made it clear in a vividly manner in paragraph 2 and 5. It should be noted that common individuals come up here again as in other writing. So, as we have already read in the history General Francisco Franco turned this civil war between military and common people, this portrayal of military brutality on common human made this piece of essay very much accountable.  Hemingway is very much critical when he describes the story of Raven’s condition ( par. 18), and how he was wounded. In paragraph 32, he was quite suspicious about Raven’s story. So he wrote that he did not sound like a soldier, and his story “was the sort of way everyone would like to be wounded”. This also emphasized the truthfulness and critical approach of this essay in describing everything. Like other members of Lincoln brigade Raven had also no previous military experience and was a simple worker from Pittsburgh. When Hemingway heard about the courage of Raven, then the sprit of such volunteers made Hemingway write,” This is a strange new kind of war where learn just as much as you are able to believe.”

                                                              Works Cited

Comley, Nancy R. et al. Fields of Reading: Motives for Writing. Bedford/St Martins, 2001.
Stanford, Judith A. and Wagner, Leslie Van. Responding to Literature. Hill Education, 1998
Richler, Mordecai. Writers on World War II: An Anthology. Chatto ; Windus, 1992.
Connery, Thomas Bernard. A Sourcebook of American Literary Journalism: Representative Writers in an Emerging Genre. Greenwood Press, 1992.