A Doctor’s Journal Entry for August 6, 1945: ICSE Class 9 English

A Doctor's Journal Entry for August 6, 1945
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Get notes, line-by-line explanation, summary, questions and answers, critical analysis, word meanings, extras, and pdf of the poem A Doctor’s Journal Entry for August 6, 1945, by Vikram Seth which is part of ICSE Class 9 English (Treasure Chest). However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.

Line-by-line explanation of the poem

The morning stretched calm, beautiful, and warm.
The poet describes a peaceful and serene morning, setting a tranquil scene.

Sprawling half-clad, I gazed out at the form
The poet was relaxing, partially dressed, looking out and observing his surroundings.

Of shimmering leaves and shadows. Suddenly
He was admiring the play of light on leaves and the shadows they cast when suddenly,

A strong flash, then another, startled me.
He was jolted by two bright flashes of light, indicating the explosion of the atomic bomb.

I saw the old stone lantern brightly lit.
An old stone lantern in his vicinity was illuminated by the intense light of the explosion.

Magnesium flares? While I debated it,
He wondered if they were magnesium flares, trying to make sense of the sudden brightness.

The roof, the walls and, as it seemed, the world
Suddenly, his surroundings, including his home and seemingly the entire world,

Collapsed in timber and debris, dust swirled
Crumbled and fell apart, with dust and debris filling the air.

Around me – in the garden now – and, weird,
He found himself in the garden amidst the chaos, and strangely,

My drawers and undershirt disappeared.
His clothing was blown away by the force of the explosion.

A splinter jutted from my mangled thigh.
He was injured, with a piece of wood or metal embedded in his thigh.

My right side bled, my cheek was torn, and I
He describes his injuries: bleeding and a torn cheek.

Dislodged, detachedly, a piece of glass,
He removed a shard of glass from his body, seemingly in shock and detached from the situation.

All the time wondering what had come to pass.
Throughout this, he was trying to understand what had just happened.

Where was my wife? Alarmed, I gave a shout,
Concerned for his wife, he called out for her.

‘Where are you, Yecko-san?’ My blood gushed out.
He called her by name, and as he did, he noticed more of his blood pouring out.

The artery in my neck? Scared for my life,
He feared that an artery in his neck had been severed, which could be fatal.

I called out, panic-stricken, to my wife.
In his panic and fear, he continued to call for his wife.

Pale, bloodstained, frightened, Yecko-san emerged,
His wife appeared, looking pale and covered in blood, clearly terrified.

Holding her elbow. ‘We’ll be fine,’ I urged –
She was holding her injured elbow, but he tried to reassure her.

‘Let’s get out quickly.’ Stumbling to the street
He urged that they leave immediately. As they tried to move, they stumbled.

We fell, tripped by something at our feet.
They tripped over an obstacle on the ground.

I gasped out, when I saw it was a head:
To his horror, he realized they had tripped over a person’s head.

‘Excuse me, please excuse me -‘ He was dead:
He apologized to the deceased, a reflexive gesture of respect.

A gate had crushed him. There we stood, afraid.
The man had been crushed by a fallen gate. They stood there, paralyzed by fear.

A house standing before us tilted, swayed,
A nearby house was unstable, swaying dangerously.

Toppled, and crashed. Fire sprang up in the dust,
The house collapsed, and fires ignited amidst the debris.

Spread by the wind. It dawned on us we must
The fires spread rapidly due to the wind. They realized the urgency of their situation.

Get to the hospital: we needed aid –
They needed to get to the hospital for medical assistance.

And I should help my staff too. (Though this made
He also thought of his responsibility to help his staff at the hospital.

Sense to me then, I wonder how I could)
Reflecting on it, he wonders how he could even think of helping others given his own injuries.

My legs gave way. I sat down on the ground.
His injuries and exhaustion caused him to collapse.

Thirst seized me, but no water could be found.
He was extremely thirsty, but there was no water available.

My breath was short, but bit by bit my strength
He struggled to breathe, but gradually,

Seemed to revive, and I got up at length.
He began to recover some strength and managed to stand up.

I was still naked, but I felt no shame.
Despite being without clothes, he felt no embarrassment, highlighting the gravity of the situation.

This thought disturbed me somewhat, till I came
He was troubled by his lack of self-consciousness until he encountered

Upon a soldier, standing silently,
A soldier, who stood silently amidst the chaos.

Who gave the towel round his neck to me
The soldier offered his towel to the poet, a gesture of kindness.

My legs, stiff with dried blood, rebelled. I said
His legs, covered in dried blood, were hard to move.

To Yecko-san she must go on ahead.
He told his wife to move ahead without him.

She did not wish to, but in our distress
She was reluctant, but given their dire situation,

What choice had we? A dreadful loneliness
They had no other option. He felt a deep sense of isolation.

Came over me when she had gone. My mind
Once she left, he felt an overwhelming loneliness.

Ran at high speed, my body crept behind.
His mind raced with thoughts, but his injured body moved slowly.

I saw the shadowy forms of people, some
He observed the silhouettes of survivors.

Were ghosts, some scarecrows, all were wordless dumb –
Some looked like ghosts or scarecrows, and all were silent, in shock.

Arms stretched straight out, shoulder to dangling hand;
Their arms were outstretched, possibly due to burns or injuries.

It took some time for me to understand
He took a while to realize

The friction on their burns caused so much pain
That the reason for their posture was to avoid the pain of their burns rubbing against each other.

They feared to chafe flesh against flesh again.
They didn’t want their injured skin to touch and cause more pain.

Those who could, shuffled in a blank parade
The survivors moved slowly, like a somber procession.

Towards the hospital. I saw, dismayed,
They were heading to the hospital. The poet observed with sadness,

A woman with a child stand in my path –
A woman and her child standing in his way.

Both naked. Had they come back from the bath?
Both were without clothes. He wondered if they had been bathing when the explosion occurred.

I turned my gaze, but was at a loss
He looked away, but was confused

That she should stand thus, till I came across
By the woman’s nakedness, until he saw

A naked man and now the thought arose
Another naked man, which made him realize

That some strange thing had stripped us of our clothes.
That the explosion had somehow removed their clothing.

The face of an old woman on the ground
He saw an elderly woman on the ground,

Was marred with suffering, but she made no sound.
Her face showed immense pain, but she was silent.

Silence was common to us all. I heard
This silence was shared by everyone around.

No cries of anguish, or a single word.
Despite the devastation, there were no screams or words, only a haunting silence.

Word meanings

Sprawling: Lying or sitting with limbs spread out carelessly or ungracefully.

Shimmering: Glittering or gleaming with a soft, wavering light.

Magnesium flares: Bright burning lights, often used as a source of illumination in photography or signaling in emergency situations. Magnesium burns with a very bright white light.

Debated: Considered or thought about.

Timber: Wood that’s used for building or carpentry.

Debris: Scattered fragments or remains of something destroyed.

Drawers: An old term for men’s underwear.

Jutted: Stuck out or protruded.

Mangled: Severely damaged or disfigured.

Dislodged: Removed or knocked out of position.

Detachedly: In a manner that’s disconnected or not emotionally involved.

Yecko-san: A respectful form of address in Japanese, where “-san” is an honorific suffix. “Yecko” is likely the name or nickname of the doctor’s wife.

Artery: A major blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body.

Emerged: Came out or appeared.

Rebelled: Resisted or defied control.

Scarecrows: Figures made to resemble a human, used to scare birds away from crops. Here, it’s used metaphorically to describe the appearance of the injured people.

Dumb: Unable to speak, often due to shock or trauma.

Chafe: Rub or be rubbed to the point of wearing away; here, it refers to the pain of burned skin rubbing against another surface.

Dismayed: Struck with fear, dread, or consternation.

Marred: Damaged or spoiled.

Summary of the poem

The poem unfolds through the eyes of a doctor. At dawn, as he was rousing from sleep, he stretched and admired the garden’s foliage. Out of nowhere, two intense bursts of light illuminated the surroundings. In moments, his home crumbled, leaving rubble everywhere. To his astonishment, he found himself stripped of his undergarments and injured. Frantically, he called for his wife, who appeared clutching her injured elbow. He tried to comfort her, assuring her of their safety.

As they ventured outside, they tripped over a man’s head, a grim testament to the devastation around them. The horrors continued as they witnessed a house teetering before collapsing. Recognizing the urgency, they decided to head to a hospital. Despite his exhaustion and thirst, the doctor pressed on. Even though he was devoid of clothing, he felt no embarrassment. At one point, he urged his wife to move ahead without him, to which she hesitantly agreed.

As he trudged on, he noticed the haunting silhouettes of survivors. Some resembled phantoms, while others looked like lifeless effigies. Many had their arms hanging limply, a sign of their injuries. A stream of these wounded souls was making their way to the hospital. Among them was a mother and child, both unclothed. This sight made the doctor realize the bizarre nature of the catastrophe that had stripped them of their attire. Amidst the widespread suffering, an unsettling quiet prevailed, with no cries or words of despair breaking the silence.

Critical analysis of the poem

The poem is set against the backdrop of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, a catastrophic event that marked the end of World War II and showcased the devastating power of nuclear weapons. Vikram Seth’s narrative provides a firsthand account of the immediate aftermath, offering a deeply personal perspective amidst a historical tragedy.

The poem is written in a continuous narrative form, without any stanza breaks. This structure gives a relentless, uninterrupted flow to the narrative, mirroring the unceasing horror and chaos of the event. The lack of breaks also conveys a sense of urgency and immediacy.

Seth employs vivid and harrowing imagery to capture the magnitude of the devastation. Phrases like “the world collapsed in timber and debris” and descriptions of people appearing as “ghosts” or “scarecrows” evoke a post-apocalyptic landscape. The detailed recounting of personal injuries, the eerie silence, and the haunting visuals of naked, injured survivors create a visceral impact on the reader.

While the poem is a personal account of the doctor’s experience, it also encapsulates the collective trauma of the Hiroshima victims. The doctor’s concern for his wife, his shock at the sudden devastation, and his encounter with other survivors make the narrative both intimate and universally relatable. The poem underscores the shared human experience amidst disaster.

The calm and serene morning quickly turns into a scene of chaos and destruction, highlighting the unpredictability and fragility of life. Despite the overwhelming devastation, the doctor’s determination to find his wife, help others, and reach the hospital showcases human resilience and the instinct to survive. The poem serves as a poignant reminder of the devastating consequences of war and the profound impact of nuclear weapons on humanity.

The poem’s strength lies in its ability to evoke strong emotions. The juxtaposition of a peaceful morning with the sudden catastrophe, the personal losses amidst widespread destruction, and the eerie silence in the face of immense suffering all contribute to a profound emotional impact.

Themes of the poem

The Devastation of War: The poem vividly captures the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, underscoring the immense destruction and loss that warfare can bring upon humanity.

Human Vulnerability: The sudden shift from a serene morning to chaos and devastation highlights the unpredictability and fragility of human life. The poem emphasizes how, in an instant, everything familiar can be obliterated.

Resilience and Survival: Despite the overwhelming tragedy, the doctor’s determination to find his wife, help others, and reach the hospital showcases the innate human drive to survive and help others, even in the face of immense adversity.

Shared Human Experience: The poem underscores the collective trauma of the Hiroshima victims. While it narrates the personal experience of the doctor, it also encapsulates the broader suffering of the community, emphasizing the shared human experience in times of disaster.

The Eerie Silence of Shock: The haunting quiet that pervades the scene, with no cries or words of despair, speaks to the profound shock and disbelief experienced by the survivors. This silence becomes a powerful commentary on the indescribable nature of such trauma.

Moral Reflection on Warfare: The poem indirectly prompts readers to reflect on the ethics and consequences of using such devastating weapons. The detailed descriptions of suffering and loss serve as a stark reminder of the costs of war.

The Transience of Material Existence: The descriptions of buildings collapsing, clothes disappearing, and the general destruction of the physical environment emphasize the impermanent nature of material existence and the ephemeral nature of life itself.

About the author

Vikram Seth, born in 1952 in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata), is a renowned Indian poet and novelist. He began his education at the Don School, later attending various institutions before pursuing higher studies at Stanford University in the USA and Nanjing University in China.

Seth has penned numerous poetry collections, novels, and non-fiction pieces. He gained significant acclaim for his verse novel “The Golden Gate” (1986) and the monumental novel “A Suitable Boy” (1993). Over the years, he has been honored with several esteemed awards, including the Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award, WH Smith Literary Award, and the Crossword Book Award. His collections, such as “Mappings” and “Beastly Tales from Here and There,” which feature poems rooted in Indian myths and legends, stand out as significant contributions to Indian literature in English.

Workbook answers/solutions

Text-based Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

1. Who is the speaker in the poem?

Answer: (c) a doctor

2. What kind of morning was referred to by the doctor?

Answer: (c) calm and warm

3. Which of these statements is NOT true?

Answer: (a) The doctor lit up his stone lantern.

4. What was it that made the couple tripped?

Answer: (d) the head of a dead man

5. The idea of helping his staff reveals that the doctor was ________ by nature.

Answer: (b) duty conscious and selfless

6. The doctor’s wife left him quite

Answer: (a) reluctantly

7. Who provided the towel to the doctor?

Answer: (a) a soldier

8. ‘I was still naked, but I felt no shame’.

The line shows that the doctor was

Answer: (d) strong willed

9. How did the doctor feel when his wife had gone?

Answer: (c) terribly lonely

10. What kind of tone is adopted by the speaker?

Answer: (d) detached

Comprehension Passages

Passage 1

The morning stretched calm, beautiful, and warm.
Sprawling half-clad, I gazed out at the form
Of shimmering leaves and shadows. Suddenly
A strong flash, then another, startled me.
I saw the old stone lantern brightly lit.
Magnesium flares? While I debated it,
The roof, the walls and, as it seemed, the world
Collapsed in timber and debris, dust swirled
Around me – in the garden now – and, weird,
My drawers and undershirt disappeared.

(i) Who is the speaker? Where was he at the moment? What pleased him?

Answer: The speaker is a doctor. He was in his garden, half-clad. The calm and warm morning pleased him.

(ii) What happened suddenly? What thought came across the speaker’s mind?

Answer: There were two strong flashes of light that startled the speaker. He thought they could be magnesium flares lighting his stone lantern.

(iii) What happened to the house and the speaker’s clothes?

Answer: The roof and walls of his house collapsed. His drawers and undershirt disappeared in the debris.

(iv) Whom did he call later in panic? What were his fears?

Answer: He called out his wife Yecko-san in panic. He feared that his artery was punctured and he would die of bleeding.

(v) In what physical condition were the doctor and his wife?

Answer: Both the doctor and his wife were badly injured, bleeding and scared.

Passage 2

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

A splinter jutted from my mangled thigh.
My right side bled, my cheek was torn, and I
Dislodged, detachedly, a piece of glass,
All the time wondering what had come to pass.
Where was my wife? Alarmed, I gave a shout,
‘Where are you, Yecko-san?’ My blood gushed out.
The artery in my neck? Scared for my life,
I called out, panic-stricken, to my wife.

(i) What had happened on that calm morning?

Answer: There were two flashes of light and the speaker’s house collapsed in the explosion.

(ii) What did the doctor notice about his injuries?

Answer: He found a splinter in his thigh, his right side and cheek bleeding. He had a piece of glass in his cheek which he detached.

(iii) Why did the doctor think he would die?

Answer: He feared his artery in the neck was punctured and he would die of excessive bleeding.

(iv) What did the doctor decide? What happened as he and his wife came out of their house?

Answer: He decided to come out of the damaged house with his wife. On their way they tripped over a crushed head of a dead man.

(v) What should have been the cause of shame to the speaker? Why did he not feel any shame?

Answer: Being naked in public should have been shameful. But the doctor did not feel any shame as it was an extraordinary situation.

Passage 3

Pale, bloodstained, frightened, Yecko-san emerged,
Holding her elbow. ‘We’ll be fine,’ I urged –
‘Let’s get out quickly.’ Stumbling to the street
We fell, tripped by something at our feet.
I gasped out, when I saw it was a head:
‘Excuse me, please excuse me – ‘ He was dead:
A gate had crushed him. There we stood, afraid.
A house standing before us tilted, swayed,
Toppled, and crashed. Fire sprang up in the dust,
Spread by the wind. It dawned on us we must
Get to the hospital: we needed aid

(i) Where was the speaker? Why was he afraid of his life?

Answer: The speaker was in his damaged house. He feared he would die of excessive bleeding from his wounds.

(ii) Why did the speaker have to assure his wife that they would be fine?

Answer: Because she was also injured and scared after the devastating explosion.

(iii) What startled them on the way?

Answer: They tripped over a crushed head of a dead man.

(iv) Why did the doctor feel no shame on his nakedness?

Answer: The situation was extraordinary. So social norms did not matter then.

(v) What did the doctor notice about the wounded people heading towards the hospital?

Answer: Many were moving like ghosts and scarecrows, with arms stretched out in pain.

Passage 4

And I should help my staff too. (Though this made
Sense to me then, I wonder how I could)
My legs gave way. I sat down on the ground.
Thirst seized me, but no water could be found.
My breath was short, but bit by bit my strength
Seemed to revive, and I got up at length.
I was still naked, but I felt no shame.
This thought disturbed me somewhat, till I came
Upon a soldier, standing silently,
Who gave the towel round his neck to me
My legs, stiff with dried blood, rebelled. I said
To Yecko-san she must go on ahead.

(i) Who was the speaker by profession? Who was with him? Where were they going and why?

Answer: The speaker was a doctor. He was with his wife Yecko-san. They were going to a hospital for treatment of their injuries.

(ii) How did he feel about his physical condition at the time?

Answer: He felt weak, thirsty and breathless but willed himself to move on.

(iii) ‘I was still naked, but I felt no shame’. Comment.

Answer: Social norms did not matter in the extraordinary situation after the devastating explosion.

(iv) Why did he ask his wife to leave him and go ahead?

Answer: Because he was slowing down due to his weak physical condition.

(v) What did he observe about a woman with a child later in the context?

Answer: He saw them naked and had a fleeting silly thought if they had just bathed.

Passage 5

She did not wish to, but in our distress
What choice had we? A dreadful loneliness
Came over me when she had gone. My mind
Ran at high speed, my body crept behind.
I saw the shadowy forms of people, some
Were ghosts, some scarecrows, all were wordless dumb –
Arms stretched straight out, shoulder to dangling hand;
It took some time for me to understand
The friction on their burns caused so much pain

(i) Why was the doctor’s wife reluctant to leave him?

Answer: Because she did not want to abandon him in his weak condition.

(ii) ‘My mind /Ran at high speed, my body crept behind’. Explain.

Answer: Though mentally alert, the doctor’s body had become very weak.

(iii) How did people look like? What had happened to them?

Answer: Like ghosts and scarecrows, injured in the explosion.

(iv) Why were some people moving with stretched hands?

Answer: To avoid contact and friction of their burnt skin which caused immense pain.

(v) What common thing among the victims of the holocaust was noticed by the doctor on his way to the hospital?

Answer: All were moving in silence, without uttering any words.

Passage 6

They feared to chafe flesh against flesh again.
Those who could, shuffled in a blank parade
Towards the hospital, I saw, dismayed,
A woman with a child stand in my path –
Both naked. Had they come back from the bath?
I turned my gaze, but was at a loss
That she should stand thus, till I came across
A naked man – and now the thought arose
That some strange thing had stripped us of our clothes.
The face of an old woman on the ground
Was marred with suffering, but she made no sound.
Silence was common to us all. I heard
No cries of anguish, or a single word.

(i) What had happened on that fateful day? What happened to the speaker?

Answer: There was a devastating explosion in Nagasaki. The speaker was injured and stripped of his clothes.

(ii) Why did the speaker ask his wife to come out of the house immediately?

Answer: Their house was damaged and they needed urgent medical care for their injuries.

(iii) What did he observe on the way to the hospital?

Answer: People looked like ghosts or scarecrows, with stretched hands, naked and silent.

(iv) What kind of reaction was given by the doctor on seeing a woman with a child, both naked? Was it appropriate in the context?

Answer: He fleetingly wondered if they had just bathed. It was a silly thought in the context.

(v) Explain the last two lines of the extract.

Answer: All the victims were silent with pain and anguish. No one cried out or spoke a word.

Additional/Extra questions and answers

1. Who is the speaker in the poem?

Answer: The speaker in the poem is a doctor who is narrating his first-hand account of the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 6, 1945.

2. What was the speaker doing in the beginning of the poem?

Answer: In the beginning of the poem, the speaker was sprawling half-clad in his garden, gazing at the leaves and shadows on a calm, beautiful morning.

3. What happened suddenly that startled the speaker?

Answer: The speaker was suddenly startled by two strong flashes of light, which were the atomic blasts that destroyed Nagasaki.

4. What was the speaker’s reaction when he found himself naked?

Answer: When the speaker found himself naked after the blast, he strangely felt no shame, as the situation was so extraordinary that normal feelings like shame did not seem to matter.

5. Why did the speaker call out to his wife Yecko-san in panic?

Answer: The speaker called out to his wife Yecko-san in a panic when he saw that he was badly wounded with a splinter in his thigh, his cheek torn, and blood gushing out, fearing for his life.

6. How did the speaker and his wife react when they stumbled upon a dead man’s head?

Answer: The speaker and his wife were horrified and stood still, afraid, when they stumbled upon the head of a dead man crushed under a fallen gate.

7. Why did the speaker feel he should help his staff at the hospital?

Answer: Being a doctor, the speaker felt duty-bound to help his staff at the hospital, though he wondered how he could in his own injured state.

8. Why did the speaker ask his wife to go ahead without him?

Answer: The speaker asked his wife to go ahead as his own legs were stiff with dried blood and failing him, though she was reluctant to leave him.

9. What did the speaker see as he walked towards the hospital?

Answer: The speaker saw shadowy people who looked like ghosts or scarecrows, with arms outstretched, going towards the hospital.

10. Why were people walking with their arms stretched out?

Answer: People had their arms stretched out because the friction against their burnt skin was too painful to bear.

11. What absurd thought came to the speaker when he saw a naked woman with a child?

Answer: When the speaker saw a naked woman with a child, he briefly wondered if they had just returned from having a bath, which was an absurd thought in the given context.

12. What made the speaker realize all of them had been stripped of their clothes?

Answer: Seeing other naked people made the speaker realize that some strange force from the blast had stripped everyone of their clothes.

13. How did the old woman lying on the ground react to her pain?

Answer: The old woman showed suffering on her face but made no sound, like all the other victims.

14. What common thing did the speaker notice amongst all the victims?

Answer: The speaker noticed that all the victims were silent – no one cried out in pain or uttered a word.

15. What is the poem about?

Answer: The poem is about the horrific aftermath of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki through the first-hand account of a doctor who was a victim.

16. What is the significance of the title?

Answer: The title signifies that the poem is an excerpt from a doctor’s factual, diary-like account of that tragic day in history.

17. Why does the doctor feel no shame on being naked?

Answer: The enormity of the tragedy makes normal feelings irrelevant – the doctor is too shocked and disoriented to feel shame at his nakedness.

18. Critically analyze how the poet has depicted the horrors of war through vivid imagery in the poem.

Answer: Through vivid and disturbing visual imagery, Vikram Seth provides us a chilling first-hand account of the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The images of the collapsed house, the speaker’s disappearing clothes, the dead man’s crushed head, the tilting and falling house, the ghostly scarecrow-like victims, the naked and silent people evoke the death, destruction and suffering war leaves in its wake. The images stick in our minds and we are filled with shock and revulsion. The imagery appeals to our senses – we can visualize the dust swirling, hear the anguished shouts, smell the fire and debris. The imagery is not flowed but terse and detached, adding to the grim, haunting mood. Through such imagery, the poem makes a strong anti-war statement and critique on the cruelty of advanced weaponry like nuclear bombs.

19. Discuss the significance of silence emerging as a motif in the poem.

Answer: The silence that pervades the atmosphere and all the bomb victims serves as an important motif in the poem. Despite the scale of tragedy and suffering, the victims make no audible expression of their pain. The only sounds mentioned are the booms of the explosions, the house collapsing, the fire flaring up. But the human victims remain chillingly mute. The doctor notes how the old woman writhes soundlessly, and the collective silence is “common to us all”. This speechlessness shows their shock and trauma. Their silence speaks louder than words, underscoring the speechless horror. The silence is more powerful than any verbal cry could have been, allowing the reader to reflect on the enormity of nuclear destruction. It is also Symbolic of the silence that surrounds the deaths of so many unknown victims of war.

20. “I saw the shadowy forms of people, some were ghosts, some scarecrows” – analyze the meaning and significance of this line.

Answer: This line comes when the dazed doctor is making his way to the hospital and provides a haunting image of the bomb victims. Calling them “ghosts” and “scarecrows” conveys their terrifying appearance – disfigured bodies, charred clothes, limbs askew. The shadowy quality indicates they look barely human anymore after the blast. Comparing them to supernatural spirits and inanimate objects underscores their lifelessness and the way nuclear weapons dehumanize people. The simile is ironic – while ghosts instill fear of death, these people are the living dead suffering far worse than actual death. The doctor’s vision reflects the nightmare he cannot wake up from. The line chillingly stays in the readers mind as a striking metaphor for the colonization of war.

21. Discuss the significance of the title “A Doctor’s Journal Entry for August 6, 1945.”

Answer: The title plays a key role in depicting the poem’s account as an extract from the diary of a doctor recording the events following the bombing of Nagasaki on the fateful date of August 6, 1945. It lends an authentic, non-fictional quality, as if the reader is being given private access to the innermost thoughts of a survivor. The clinical tone of a doctor’s journal entry matches the detached narration. “August 6, 1945” historicizes the event. The specific date will be universally associated with the horrific bombing. The title hence fronts the factual, eyewitness account which serves as undeniable evidence of the cruel destruction caused by nuclear warfare. It makes the anti-war message more hard-hitting.

Additional/Extra MCQs

1. Who is the speaker in the poem?

A. The poet B. A doctor C. A wounded soldier D. A scarecrow

Answer: B

2. What was the speaker doing in the beginning of the poem?

A. Sleeping in his bed B. Working in the hospital C. Relaxing in his garden D. Writing in his journal

Answer: C

3. What happened suddenly that startled the speaker?

A. Loud explosions B. Bright flashes of light C. Collapsing of his house D. Disappearance of his clothes

Answer: B

4. Why did the speaker call out to his wife Yecko-san?

A. To ask her to make breakfast B. To help him get dressed C. To reassure her D. Because he was scared for his life

Answer: D

5. Why did the speaker and his wife stumble upon going out?

A. Broken furniture B. Fallen gate C. Dead man’s head D. Tilting house

Answer: C

6. Why did the speaker ask his wife to go ahead without him?

A. He wanted to rest B. He was ashamed C. His legs were failing him D. He didn’t love her anymore

Answer: C

7. What did the people walking towards hospital look like?

A. Tired and thirsty B. Ghosts and scarecrows C. Doctors and nurses D. Hungry and naked

Answer: B

8. Why were people walking with their arms stretched out?

A. To help each other B. To beg for food C. Their arms were broken D. To avoid friction against burns

Answer: D

9. What common thing did the speaker notice among the victims?

A. Thirst B. Nakedness C. Silence D. Fear

Answer: C

10. What is the poem mainly about?

A. A doctor’s selfless service B. Nuclear destruction in Japan C. Suffering of war victims D. Aftermath of atomic bombing

Answer: D

11. What feeling does the poem convey about war?

A. Glory of war B. Fun of war C. Horror of war D. Necessity of war

Answer: C

12. Which literary device is frequently used in the poem?

A. Rhyme B. Repetition C. Imagery D. Irony

Answer: C

13. Why did the speaker feel no shame on being naked?

A. He was mentally unstable B. He had lost his sanity C. The situation was extraordinary D. He was a shameless man

Answer: C

14. Why was the speaker’s wife reluctant to leave him?

A. She was scared to be alone B. She didn’t care for him C. She hated him D. She was concerned for him

Answer: D

15. What historic event is the poem based on?

A. Pearl Harbor bombing B. Hiroshima bombing C. Nagasaki bombing D. Chernobyl disaster

Answer: C

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