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”The Scar” By Kildare Dobbs

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The Scar, was written in 1968, and was written to detail the terrors that occur to Hiroshima in 1945. Dobbs himself was not there to experience this horrific event, but Emiko Okamoto was. The Scar is the story told by Emiko, and interpreted by Dobbs. Dobbs’s writing style is very descriptive and vivid, thus bringing the reader to this experience, enabling them to have some form of a concept as to what occurred. This style of writing is effective because it makes the reader think that Dobbs was there himself, making him seem more educated and informed on this topic.

The narration of this story starts out in a first person narration, in which Dobbs tells the readers some information about what occurred to Hiroshima in 1945, and introduces them to Emiko. Dobbs says, “This is the story I was told…but why am I telling it? Everyone knows how terrible this story is…” The narration then switches from first person, to second person, in which Dobbs tells the story through the eyes of Emiko, “We were moved out to Otake, a town about an hour’s train-ride out of the city.” These two styles of narration brought together in one story are very effective. It gives the reader two different personalities, two different stories, and makes the story more interesting. The readers first see what Dobbs thinks about this event, and are given some statistical information, and are then taken to the scene of this tragedy itself, the dreadful scene that Emiko experienced in 1945.

The development of characters in this story is very effectively done by the diction of Dobbs. To describe Emiko’s character he uses words like, “Fragile and vivacious…” and “Emiko still had an air of frail school-child when I talked to her.” Such lines portray Emiko’s character affectively as the innocent victim in his situation. She is a fragile and young child who had to go through an experience that many people will never have to experience. This use of diction really allows the reader to feel for the character, and be able to relate them to someone they might know.

Another well-used stylistic device in this story is the use of imagery. Dobbs does a very good job at brining the reader to the event, making it become more realistic and alive. He describes the people that Emiko sees after the bomb was dropped, “There was a man whose face had been ripped open from mouth to ear, another whose forehead was a gaping wound. A young soldier was running with a foot-long splinter of bamboo protruding form one eye. But these, like Emiko, were the lightly wounded.” These gruesome images stick with the reader, giving them an understanding of what happened, and forcing them to think about what really did happen, and questioning why it did.

Symbolism is also used effectively in the end of the story. Emiko is left with a large scar on her hand, and unlike her head injuries, takes a long time to heal. “The wound on her hand, however, was particularly troublesome and did not heal.” This scar on her hand symbolizes the scar on her heart, and the images that she has in her head, that will be there forever. This metaphor makes the reader have one final view of how hard of an impact this event had on so many people, so many victims. It makes the reader see further into Emiko’s character, and make them feel sympathetic for her.

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