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 storys 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 Herseys 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 Herseys 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 because they feel responsible for everyone and everything else. Another view is that Hersey only seems to show the goodness of man in a time of crisis. Hersey has taken some opposition over the fact that he writes about people only in a time of crisis. He does not accurately depict them in everyday life. The characters in his stories would not act the same during everyday life. This contributes to some weak characterization by Hersey. John Hersey uses his belief in the goodness of man to show his humanistic ideas. John Hersey uses explicit detail to convey his morals in his stories.
Hersey writes with such detail in order to show the horrors of war and the effect it can have on people. He shows this in his book A Bell for Adano, when he describes Major Joppolo and his men walking into the city of Adano. The men instantly smell the rotting flesh of a soldier while the wind brings in the smell of horse manure from a farm. # Mr. Hersey uses these particular smells to make you feel that the death in the story is almost upon you. Hersey writes it how it is. He doesnt spare any gruesome detail. Hersey lets people know what they do to each other.
He doesnt bore the reader with mathematics, which he knows the human mind refuses to conceive. # He uses explicit detail to let people see how inhuman they really are. In Herseys award winning novel Hiroshima, he follows the lives of six different main characters and how the bomb affected them. During the novel of Hiroshima, Hersey uses many explicit details to let the reader know what a catastrophe Hiroshima really was. In one of Mr. Tanimotos efforts to save more people after the bomb has gone off, he reaches down to pick a women up who cant move under her own power.
Mr. Tanimoto attempts to take her hand in his, but when he clasps her hand the skin just simply peels off. As soon as the reader sees that, the realization of mass destruction, from an atomic weapon, sets in. You can almost feel the dead skin like Mr. Tanimoto must have felt. Another instance, where explicit detail comes into play, is when Hersey writes about how Mr. Tanimoto did not put the “festering injured” up higher on the sand and when the tide came in, the people did not have the strength to move so they drowned.
He also uses such explicit details, as faces so badly burned the people are not recognizable by their relatives. He also depicts a woman who lost a breast and countless people who continually vomit for no apparent reason. All these explicit details contribute to show his moral; war is hell. These poor people were just bombed and John Hersey uses his reporter instinct and gets all the explicit details in order to show the world how terrible people can be. John Hersey uses explicit details to convey his morals in his stories.
Hersey also uses governmental power to illustrate the morals in his stories. Government power is evident in a lot, if not most, of his works. The power is shown directly in Hiroshima when the United States drops an atomic bomb on the city. He depicts how our government was so ruthless in the lack of compassion for the Japanese people. In addition, in Hiroshima, he shows how the Japanese government lacks compassion as well, in that they do not send help to Hiroshima right away. In A Bell for Adano, governmental power is shown when Mr. Joppolo sets up special laws.
If a person in the town were to defy such a law, they would be imprisoned. One law was that the people of Adano could not sell goods to the Americans outside of the town. Due to this, the Americans could not tell what was a fair price and what was not a fair price. Most of the soldiers were being ripped off by five to ten times more then what they should pay. # This is an act of pure governmental power. Mr. Hersey is also noted for satirically writing about how we benefit from “the machine”, or government, and that we should then dedicate ourselves to it.
Another form of governmental power can be seen in The Child Buyer. In this story Hersey attacks modern education. The childrens intelligence was being sold off as a “marketable commodity. “# Here the government is again shown as a monster. It attempts to recruit all possible children of intelligence in order to benefit the government and the government only. Many of Herseys works contain governmental power to convey his morals. John Hersey uses humanistic ideas, explicit detail, and governmental power to convey his storys moral. John Hersey died in 1993.
He was the proud author of twenty-five books. # His writing was influenced by observation, memory, and intense research. # John Hersey never gave interviews and never had an agent because he didnt feel his job was to sell himself. # This is what made John Herseys works stand out in our minds. To close, a man by the name of David McCullough once remarked, “He (Hersey) has portrayed our time with a breadth and artistry matched by very few. He has given us the century in a great shelf of brilliant work, and we are all his beneficiaries. “