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Analysis of a Short Extract from ‘Black Rain’ by Masuji Ibuse

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Introduction

World Literature Essay Analysis of a Short Extract from 'Black Rain' by Masuji Ibuse Judith Lowson Sevenoaks School Candidate Number 0102 080 Word count: World Lit Essay- Analysis of a short Extract from 'Black Rain' by Masuji Ibuse Ibuse's 'Black Rain' weaves together the stories of several people's experiences following America's deployment of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. For much of the novel, the story is told through the diaries of these characters, the most important of which is that of Shigematsu, whose niece, Yasuko, hopes to be married once her prospective husband has recognised that she is not suffering from radiation sickness which has affected so many, including Shigematsu himself. There are several themes which run through the novel, as well as images which are referred to again and again, such as the loss of tradition, the Japanese 'never say die' attitude and most obviously the pain and suffering which can be inflicted by this most powerful of weapons. The extract, which is taken from Chapter 9, begins on page 127 with the words 'I tried to sit up in bed' and ends on page 129 with the words 'but what else could one say'. ...read more.

Middle

These sharp images are particularly evocative, and it is almost painful to read. He his forced to go down on the stairs 'on all four limbs'7, bizarrely reverting back to the habits of a young child, demonstrating the sheer intensity of the pains in his belly. The tone of the second half of the extract is different, and the juxtaposition of the positive images within it and the negative images of pain in the first part of the extract is very effective. He leaves the factory and sees one of those waiting to be picked up by a truck rushes forward shouting 'I saw it! I saw it first'8 as he picks up a scrap of paper that has come 'fluttering down from the sky'9. This is another interesting image, as one often associates things falling from the sky as heavenly. In the case of Hiroshima, objects falling from the sky have brought immense destruction on the city and pain to its people. But this paper is something different, and represents one of the more sensitive images in the book, as it is a reminder of peaceful times past. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is one of the first occasions where he views the events around him with a degree of subjectivity. Up to this point, he has had the role of an observer, and has portrayed the events without commenting himself upon them, or expressing his own views. As he sees the full effects of the bomb war on the city and the people, he becomes progressively less objective, and this slightly negative, or at least questioning comment, is the first sign of this. The questioning tone in this passage is similar to that which is found throughout the novel, and one gets the sense that Shigematsu is absorbing his surroundings, but is not entirely sure what to make of the situation. This extract is important as it includes many of the main themes of the novel, including physical pain, the attitude of the Japanese and the destruction of traditions and of former ways of life. The use of the image of music floating down from the sky is very symbolic and also a poignant reminded of how life once was. The extract also marks something of a turning point in the novel, as Shigematsu becomes more aware of the extent of the destruction and begins to find it more difficult to maintain a positive attitude. ...read more.

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