Is the poem ‘A Doctor’s Journal Entry for August 6, 1945’ an anti-war poem? / What is the poet’s message in this poem? / What is the theme of the poem?
Yes, of course, this poem is an anti-war poem. The main theme of the poem is to present a horrific picture of the explosion-hit city of Hiroshima. By doing so the poet wants to draw our sympathy towards the innocent war-victims who have nothing to do with war. Long story short, this poem conveys the anti-war message of the poet. He doesn’t like war at all, and wants people to live a peaceful life.
To convey his message well, the poet has created a calm and quiet atmosphere at the very beginning. This sharply contrasts and comes as a shock to the readers when the two flashes occur the next moments and the doctor receives an injury. As the poem progresses, we can only see the devastation and horror grow. The doctor calls his wife Yecko-San and sets out for the hospital. On the way they come across tilted buildings, dead bodies on the ground and debris all around.
The doctor wants to help his assistant but he can’t afford that, given his own helpless condition. He cannot walk the distance to hospital and sits on the ground with the pain of his injuries. Yecko-san had to go ahead against her will. Then the doctor was watching the procession of silent and naked people with their arms stretched out and trying to guess what might have hit them all. Here silence and nudity both are symbolic and help Vikram Seth deliver his anti-war message very strongly.
He refers to the barbarism of the ancient times and suggests that war is in contrary to the progress of civilization. We may have advanced in terms of scientific and technical inventions. But atomic warfare as it happened in Japan does not indicate that advancement. It rather hints at the cultural and humanitarian deficiency of some sort that can ultimately lead to the destruction of the human race.