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August 6 1945

  • Date Submitted: 12/14/2011 08:32 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 65.4 
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August 6 1945

In his poem ‘August 6, 1945,’ Millen Brand imagines the lives of two ordinary men, one American and the other Japanese, just minutes before the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan.

There are many differences and similarities between the two men.   They are both linked by the deadly image of the American pilot releasing the bomb, and both are enjoying the blissful moment of the bright sunny day.   Both men are reluctant to tackle their household chores of painting.   The two men say that their chores can be put off for another day, but one won’t live to see another day.   Both of the men, despite the fact that one is about to die, are enjoying the views of their beautiful gardens.   In the poem the American man is given a name and the ‘Japanese man’ remains anonymous.

Brand makes good use of religion, science and symbolism.   The many references to religion and science add subtetly and reveal a deeper interpretation of the poem.   The apple orchard mentioned is a scientific reference to when Sir Tsaac Newton watched an apple fall to the ground, and wondered why it fell down in a straight line.   This then led him to discover the laws of gravity.   Without the knowledge, science and understanding of gravity, the bomb would never have been invented.

The phrase the ‘Red napkin of bee balm’, employs symbolism, through the use of the colour red.   Red is a hot colour meaning fire, danger, blood and has nothing but negative outcomes.   In both the men’s lives it is a sunny day.   Brand say there is a ‘Blue sky’ – a cold colour.   This reminds you of a nice, sunny, warm day which will soon be hidden by a mushroom cloud, fire and black atomic rain.

Brand employs sound, (and onomatopoeia), repetition, contrast and structure to make his descriptions vivid.   The noise of bees droning onto the flowers in the orchard mirrors the noise of the propellers on the bombers aircraft.   The black swarm of bees also evokes the black rain following the explosion


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