At the end of Chapter One, Toshiko Sasaki’s leg is crushed beneath a heavy bookcase. The chapter ends with the famous sentence, “In the first moment of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books.” The sentence is often taken to be an ironic observation about how, with the bombing of Hiroshima, years of scientific research resulted in utter destruction, rather than in the betterment of the human race. In this sense, the bookcase symbolizes the inherent danger and destructiveness of all human knowledge.
The Bookcase Quotes in Hiroshima
There, in the tin factory, in the first moment of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books.