Diameter of the Bomb (Amichai)

Why would Yehuda Amichai write an entire book on the diameter of a bomb and the diameter of its range? Is he trying to convey a message? Is his book, Diameter of the Bomb, a metaphor for something else? One last question: do you think this video is da bomb?

AuthorAmichai - Yehuda Amichai
FormPoem
LanguageEnglish Language
LiteratureWorld Literature

Transcript

00:26

horrific event he describes

00:27

…but he also seems pretty concerned with the minor details.

00:31

Why did Amichai feel it necessary to tell us the exact diameter of the bomb…

00:37

…and the diameter of its range?

00:40

Are we being tested on this stuff later? Perhaps he felt that a bunch of details about

00:48

the bomb would help us to really see it…

00:51

…so we could envision everything that followed. He eventually expands the diameter to encompass

00:56

all of heaven and earth…

00:58

…so by making his initial measurements very specific, it makes the magnitude of the ending

01:03

seem all the more overwhelming.

01:05

Or could it be that Amichai was simply a “numbers guy?”

01:08

Check these out:

01:09

“The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters…”

01:12

“…the diameter of its effective range about seven meters”

01:15

“…with four dead and eleven wounded.” Seems like maybe this guy was just a big ol’

01:20

integer fan.

01:21

He could have simply said, “the dead and wounded lay scattered” or something like

01:27

that.

01:28

But instead, he was more specific than was probably necessary for this piece.

01:33

Or maybe he was using that specificity as a device…

01:36

…to demonstrate how mind-numbing these scenes of war were to those who experienced them.

01:41

By concentrating instead on the minutiae, it allows a witness to hide behind intellectualism…

01:47

…and by thinking, they no longer have to feel.

01:52

At the beginning of the poem, it’s almost as if the narrator can’t face the reality

01:56

of the bodies in front of him…

01:57

…and instead has to occupy his mind with numbers and trivial details…

02:01

…so he can distract himself from the carnage. What was Amichai’s reasoning?

02:06

Was he just creating a meticulous mental image?

02:09

Was he Mathlete of the year?

02:11

Or was he trying to express what effect the shock of such horrors can have on the human

02:16

mind? Shmoop amongst yourselves.

02:19

[1]

02:19

[1]I like panels 8-10