Short Essay On Unbroken By Laura Hillenbrand

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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is a biographical novel detailing the life of Olympic runner and World War II veteran, Louis Zamperini. In it, Hillenbrand tells the story of Zamperini’s great triumphs at home and then of his service and hellish experiences as a prisoner of war on the Pacific front. Through it all, Louie is never free of his desire to run, nor does the world let him forget his name and triumphs, even as his dignity is slowly stripped away. Louis’ obsession with running began when he was a teenager, at the hands of his brothers Pete. Before he was given a purpose, Louis was infamous in his hometown of Torrance for his pranks and small time crimes, getting into fights and stealing as easy as he breathed. His …show more content…

On the ship he and his friend, Phil, were put on to transfer them to a prison camp, it very nearly got them killed. “[Some of the sailors] had found a folded, stained bit of newspaper. It was the cartoon that Louie had cut from the Honolulu Advertiser many months before.” (page 189) The knowledge of who Louie was enraged them, and the sailors brutally beat both Louis and Phil. This was not the last time such an occurrence would befall Louis; when he was transferred to another prison camp, Louis was met with the man who would come to haunt him even after the war. Mutsuhiro Watanabe- known to the prisoners of the camp as “the Bird”- was obsessed with Louie the moment he saw him, singling him out for beatings whenever the opportunity arose. “From the moment that Watanabe locked eyes with Louie Zamperini, an officer, a famous Olympian, and a man from whom defiance was second nature, no man obsessed him more.” (page 238) Watanabe was notorious for taking out his shortcomings as a military officer on higher ranking prisoners, and seeing Louie, someone who had achieved so much more than him in his lifetime, filled him with …show more content…

While he was a POW, he was offered a spot on a Japanese radio program famous for broadcasting Axis propaganda. Though Louie did not read any pro-Japanese war messages on air, he was approached to give the world the message that he was alive, and being held captive by the Japanese. Louie knew very well that he had probably already been declared dead by the government, Louie wrote a speech and “added details that he hoped would convince [his family]” (page 253) that he was still alive. Once the broadcast reached them, it did just that, giving the Zamperinis at home a final push towards the hope that he’d one day be coming

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