Enola Gay and the Bomb: Life’s a Bitch and Then You Die

In relating the Enola Gay exhibit to what we learned in class about museums, exhibits, and official/unofficial stories it seems to me that the Enola Gay is simply a metonym of the larger controversy about the war. Sure, the Enola Gay itself has a certain controversial air about it, but what it really comes down to is the symbol that the Enola Gay represents for the larger aspects of the war.

The most obvious way that the Enola Gay is a metonym for WWII is, of course, in regard to the atomic bomb. The question whether such a devastating weapon, that can destroy a whole city in one fell-swoop, belongs in the arsenal of mankind shall always be dubious. At what point do we stop? When civilians become the targets of war’s horrific nature or when we completely destroy ourselves from an imminent nuclear war? Furthermore, if such a weapon was used, why does the Enola Gay seem to stand for the destruction of mankind instead of a solemn tribute to that fateful tragedy? This question seems to be at the very heart of the controversy and shows the problem when creating a metonym, or even a simple symbol, out of an object whose purpose was so horrific that it went against the very moral fabric of humanity.