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‘Hiroshima’ By John Hersey – Dark Experience Of Humanity

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The human life consists of dark and light experiences that shape people to behave the way that we do. Very few people experience true tragedy and darkness like those in Hiroshima, Japan. In the book “Hiroshima” by John Hersey he takes upon himself to tell the stories and experiences of six survivors of the Hiroshima bomb. One of these stories surrounds the character of Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge. Father Kleinsorge showed empathy, sense of pride, and the ideal human nature. The characters in this book exhibited empathy towards those around them. Empathy plays a role in affecting how people have a sense of pride or honor towards their morals, self-worth comes from how people are able to empathize and try to make others feel better out of honor or duty. In general people think human nature as being kind and understanding, however, it is much more than that. Human nature and experiences are what compel others to put the needs of others above and beyond the needs of themselves.

Empathy is a feeling that bonds two people to each other. This connection is formed by empathy and is something that flows within the characters Father Kleinsorge and Miss Sasaki. “Late In February, 1946, a friend of Miss Sasaki’s… all the reasons for everything”. This citation demonstrates how sympathy can only go so far at its core, sympathy is all about trying to understand like Father Kleinsorge did by visiting Miss Sasaki when she was depressed. I infer that Father Kleinsorge wanted to go visit her because he was trying to gain more understanding on her so he could help her emotionally. Putting the needs of others before your own shows how human nature and empathy are cut from the same cloth.

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The need to help and keep the people you care about from feeling pain is human nature. “The last thing he did as he fell into bed was request that someone go back for the motherless Kataoka children”. He requested that the children would be taken care of because it is in human nature that humans feel a sense of protectiveness and compassion with children. For example when a mother gives birth to her first child she feels the need to shelter her child from any outside harm. Father Kleinsorge felt this need to protect the kids not just because of his human nature but because of the sense of duty he felt towards them and himself to make sure that they’re taken care of.

The sense of duty that Father Kleinsorge feels throughout this novel shows the reader that not only is he capable of showing what the ideal human nature looks like in real life but also how a sense of duty can create an effective leader. Throughout the before and after of the atomic bomb he managed to lead and help as may as he can. As a priest he felt that he should carry out the word of God throughout his actions for example; after the bomb hit Father Kleinsorge was able to keep calm and even though he was wounded and ill he was still able to aid them physically and spiritually. He felt the sense of duty to become a japanese citizen aside that he loved their culture but what he had been through pushed him to changing his nationality and becoming a japanese citizen, he know goes by the name Makoto Takakura.

To conclude, Father Kleinsorge puts others needs before his. We could encapsulate what it really means to be human which is to be kind, generous, empathetic, and most of all compassionate. What compels an individual to put the needs of others over his/her own needs? What compels someone to put other over themselves is empathy, sense of duty, amd human nature. With what little things the bomb left Hiroshima with, Father Kleinsorge was able to spread hope, and make his own little family out of the destroyed ones the bomb left ergo his human nature. Since he was a priest he felt the duty to make sure the victims were fed, loved and not forgotten. He then showed empathy towards Ms.Sasaki when he went to go visit her in the hospital and took the time to help her out of her depression, convinced her to become a catholic, and converted her into becoming a nun. Father Kleinsorge is a prime example of what it is to put others before yourself.

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