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Forgiveness In Hillenbrand's Unbroken

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The novel Unbroken is set in Torrance, California in the summer of 1929. Louis Zamperini is a twelve-year-old delinquent who is struggling to find his way as an Italian immigrant in a small town. The theme of redemption and forgiveness are shown throughout the book and in each area of Louie’s life. Every aspect of Louie’s life shows how he redeems himself and how the ultimate act of forgiveness is the most powerful resource for redemption. As the story begins, Louie is a young boy who is constantly in trouble in his town, stealing money, food, smoking, drinking and getting into fights. “Thrilled by the crashing of boundaries, Louie was untamable” (Hillenbrand 7). His brother, Pete sees a talent in him that even Louie does not see. He…show more content…
This causes the Olympics to be suspended. Louie becomes depressed because he is not sure what to do with his life now, so he enlists in the Army Air Corps in 1941. While in his military training, Louie becomes a very skilled bombardier. Louie changes his focus from running, to serving in the Army. At the beginning of the war, many accidents were due to mechanical problems with planes, bad weather and errors in navigation. Louie called the B-24 that they flew on a “Flying Coffin.” “Flying the B-24, one of the world’s heaviest planes, was like wrestling a bear” (Hillenbrand 55). On Thursday, May 27, 1943, Louie, his friend Phil and Cuppernill were headed to Honolulu for their day off. Before they left, a lieutenant flagged them down and told them there were going a mission to search for a missing pilot. Although the guys insisted there were no planes available, the lieutenant had them take the B-24 Green Hornet. “There was only one ship, the Green Hornet,” “We were very reluctant, but Phillips finally gave in for the rescue mission”( Hillenbrand 96). After taking flight, the plane began to experience engine problems and began to go down. The men prepared for crash landing into the Pacific Ocean. Louie, Phil and Mac survived the crash, but were stranded on a raft. The men faced blistering sun, freezing nights, along with thirst and starvation for 3 months. Mac redeemed…show more content…
He married and was trying to move past his experiences as a POW. However, nightmares and flashbacks of The Bird haunted him. They made him focus on revenge and anger. One night while sleeping, he had a vision that he was strangling The Bird, but it turned out to the his pregnant wife. This PTSD caused Louie to become divorced. His wife began going to Billy Graham’s services, and encouraged Louie to attend as well. After Louie decided to attend, he continued to talk with Billy Graham and accept that forgiveness would be the only way for him to escape the terror of The Bird. Finally, Louie was able to look beyond the torture he has endured, and learned to believe in his Christian faith and forgive The Bird. Although, I feel Louie would have been justified in killing The Bird, I do not feel like it would have been a moral act the Louie was capable of. For a man to have endured so much pain to forgive, shows tremendous strength and bravery. I also don’t feel that Louie would have ever found true peace if he would have killed The Bird. The thought that he would have been guilty of committing the same abuse that he witnessed daily would have put him over the edge. “He felt something he had never felt for his captor before. With a shiver of amazement, he realized it was compassion. At that moment, something shifted sweetly inside him. It was forgiveness, beautiful, effortless, and complete. For Louie
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