Dignity In Unbroken

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Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken follows World War II veteran, Louis Zamperini’s astonishing life as a juvenile delinquent, Olympic athlete, soldier and prisoner of war. Hillenbrand’s book demonstrates the importance of an individual's dignity during and after extreme periods of hardship. Louis managed to survive several unbelievably challenging situations because of his strong sense of dignity and hope. He spent his childhood in delinquency because he had not yet established his sense of dignity, which his athletic career later instilled in him. After his plane crashed during war, his strong mind-set and dignity would help him survive for forty-seven days at sea. Finally, his dignity was completely diminished after the two years he was held a …show more content…

He and two other men drifted for forty-seven days, while suffering from extreme hunger and thirst, exposure to the elements, and attacks from sharks and enemy planes. Despite all odds, Louie and Phil Phillips survived the seemingly impossible journey due to their untouched senses of dignity. Although their bodies were severely deprived due to thirst and starvation, their minds remained healthy with dignity and confidence in survival. However, the third man on the raft, Mac McNamara was not able to keep up with the strong minds of Louie and Phil. Mac was pessimistic from the moment the plane went down, holding no hope for survival. However, after a rash decision to eat all of what little food they had on the raft, Mac truly lost his self-respect. With his dignity broken, Mac’s body and mind quickly began to rapidly deteriorate. Because Mac had lost his sense of dignity, itf ultimately lead him to lose his life. Laura Hillenbrand describes the importance and power of dignity in the face of …show more content…

Japanese soldiers also highly valued dignity, and believed that if a person had lost it they were subhuman, thus deserving of cruelty. Because they viewed the captured prisoners of war as dishonorable, they would inflict unfathomable brutality upon them. Louie was subject to callous degradation and violence daily, yet he would attempt to maintain his dignity by committing small acts of rebellion. He and other POW’s would steal newspapers and food from the guards, while planning ways to sabotage them and escape from the camp. Although not all a success, these acts of resistance helped the men retain some dignity and control in their lives. However, the horrific memories he experienced at the camp followed Louie home once the war was over. He suffered from nightmares in which the sadistic camp guard, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, or “The Bird” torments him all over again. As Louie was consumed by fear and anger, his dignity began to completely diminish. He quickly became a violent alcoholic whose sole objective was to get revenge on Watanabe. Louie’s life was spiraling out of control until he attended a religious sermon which opened his eyes to his detrimental behavior. Louie’s new faith allowed him to let go of all his previous fear, anger, and need for vengeance. Furthermore, it had restored his sense of dignity and self-worth, which allowed him to forgive the people

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