“Hiroshima Exit”—(Poem Commentary)

Length: 3 Pages 632 Words

“Hiroshima Exit” is a lyric poem by Joy Kogawa, who was born in Canada in 1935. She was relocated to central British Columbia during World War II and spent her time working in the fields. She wrote other poems about Japanese refugees during World War II. The poem’s subject is that people are so concerned about whose fault the bombing of Hiroshima is that they neglected the fact that more than 300,000 people died from the horrible attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The poetic elements that contribute to this theme are it’s repetition, it’s imagery, and it’s language. The most important element that contributes to the poem’s theme is the repetition of words. In the first few lines of the poem (lines 1-3), repetition is used a lot. We see this because the lines say ‘In round round rooms of our wanderings’, ‘Victims and victimizers in circular flight’, and ‘Fact pursuing fact’. The repetition gives the po Continue...

The second most important element that contributes to the poem's theme is the imagery. Maybe in 50 years, when they build a World Trade Center memorial, there might be an old Arab couple muttering to themselves 'Well, they started it' also, like in the poem. This effect on the reader emphasizes how the blame of Hiroshima and Nagasaki's bombing goes around and around, thrown to the Japanese, then the Americans, and so on. The repetition helps emphasize how the blame is bounced back and forth, while the imagery helps emphasize the actual abomination the bombing has caused (and what everybody refuses to see). In line 11 and line 13, where it says "Well, they started it and "They didn't think about us in Pearl Harbor, it's as if the statements are directed towards the audience. This makes the audience feel bothered, almost spiteful towards the "tourists muttering, since they seemed so cold, only caring about where the blame falls. Ultimately, the three elements help contribute to the poem's theme, which states that the people are more concerned about making sure the blame wasn't directed at them, rather than the damage that the bombings have dealt. It also gives the illusion of the audience being present immediately after the bombing, when there is an absence of any living creature. The poem's elements contribute to the poem's theme in different ways. The imagery adds to the theme because it helps make the audience wonder why so many people are pointlessly arguing whose fault the attack of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was, rather than the suffering it's caused. The third most important element that contributes to the poem's theme is the language. Some people were so angry at the attacking that they forgot about over 4,000 people who died in result of the attacking. Enfin, the dialogs contribute by emphasizing how uncaring people are towards the situation and by adding to the spitefulness towards the ignorance of many people.