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UnbrokenAuthor: Laura Hillenbrand

Part IIUpon joining the U.S. Air Force as a bombardier in 1941, Louie is quickly deployed to the pacific island of Funafuti and assigned the B-24 Liberator named "Superman". With a deplorable reputation for being unreliable and prone to mishaps, the B-24 carries Louie for nearly two years alongside his friend and pilot Allen Phillips (nicknamed "Phil). However, after a treacherous raid on the pacific island of Nauru, "Superman" sustained damages that grounded it for good, along with countless other gunshot and shrapnel wounds to numerous crew mates. Immediately, Louie is assigned to another B-24 with an even worse reputation than the previous one. "The Green Hornet" as its name painted on the side implies, was what Louie and other airmen called a "lemon"; a vehicle (typically car) that is revealed as defective after it has been bought. Such a reputation would make a vicious appearance when one of its engines failed causing it to crash in the Pacific Ocean. Miraculously, Louie manages to escape from the plane as it quickly plummeted into the ocean.

Part IVAfter 42 days of interrogation, scattered balls of rice for dinner, and ridicule from the Japanese military, Louie and Phil are transferred to a Japanese POW camp where they find themselves among hundreds of other emaciated, scared, and hopeless American servicemen captured by the Japanese. The hardships of being a POW set in as Louie is subjected to hard physical labor in a strict, disciplined environment. Eventually, Louie is split up from Phil and transferred to another POW camp close to Tokyo named Omori. From here, Louie's real troubles begin with the sadistic, ruthless commanding officer of Mutushiro Watanabe (nicknamed "The Bird" by POWs to avoid suspicion when discussing him in his presence). Random beatings become customary as the Bird's innate evilness continues to prove it prevalence in his demeanor. Despite such hardship, Louie did experience one miraculous moment; the chance to do a radiobroadcast on a Japanese radio station, a sort of message to those who had been looking for him. But the once positive endeavor took a negative turn when, after the first broadcast, Louie was given the chance to leave Omori and live at the radio station if he would read a propaganda broadcast that insulted the U.S. Louie's pride and patriotism overtook his survival instinct as he chose thereafter to stay at Omori. Despite being back within the grasp of the Bird, Louie’s unrelenting confidence and survival instinct carry him until transfer to the Bird's departure from Omori and Louie's transfer to his final POW camp of Naeotsu. The news of the Bird leaving, at first, seemed like a dream come to Louie, as being anywhere away from someone so evil was desirable. However, upon transfer to Naetosu, Louie's original foe makes his appearance, and once again subject Louie to the same violence as Omori. But, just as he had after the Green Hornet crashed and at Kwajalein, Ofuna, and Omori, Louie Zamperini survived on nothing more than his own willpower and the glimmer of hope he had that he would see his family again. Despite starvation, forced labor, and routine beatings from the Bird, Louie managed to power through. Eventually, with Ally victory looming ahead, the Bird and the rest of the Naetosu staff flee leaving the walking skeletons once called soldiers behind. After various intervals of care packages dropping from the sky, the POWs and rescued and Louie finally reunites with his family in California.

Part VPart V begins with Louie's return home and subsequent party thrown by his friends and family. Such joyous celebration is interrupted by a temper tantrum from Louie that leaves his family in utter shock. Thereafter, Louie starts to have nightmares involving the Bird torturing him and chasing him as an ominous specter of evil. Such visions would continue to haunt Louie for years to come. To make matters worse, the Bird had still not been found after fleeing Naeotsu. Being a wanted war criminal for his heinous violence against POWs, the Bird would continue to flee and escape law enforcement for years to come, until, charges were dropped and he escaped hiding in the 1990s.As for Louie, on a trip down to Florida, Louie meets his soon to be wife, Cynthia Applegate. A young, defiant, fearless woman from a wealthy family, Applegate found a sense of adventure and exotic treachery in Louie that her previously pampered lifestyle couldn't offer. In defiance of her parents, Cynthia would marry Louie and the two would spend the rest of their lives together, though not without bumps along the way. To find solace from his recurring nightmares of the Bird, Louie turns to alcohol and quickly develops a violent addiction that nearly drives Cynthia away. But after remembering a night with Phil on the raft in which he promised God his life if God saved him, he turned to Christianity as a means of fighting his hallucinations. Since hearing a popular Christian speaker in Los Angeles, Louie would never once have a nightmare about the Bird thereafter. The rest of Louie's life is described in a soft, comforting manner when put into comparison with the former seventy-five percent. Running would continue to be a key part of Louie's life, even at age seventy. Thus, Louie's original, pre-war hobbies and passions would return home in the hardened, battle tested spot that was Louie Zamperini's heart.

"At chowtime, Louie kicked his foot. The man didn't move. He was dead. He was young, like everyone else, and didn't even look sick" (296).

"It's the Flying Coffin" (64).

By Tore Posterli

Part IPart one of Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken" begins with a flashback to the protagonist, Louis Zamperini, sitting outside of his Torrance, California home with his brother and later mentor, Pete. An ominous and gargantuan "Zeppelin" flies overheard with an eerie grace as it leaves both Louis and his brother in absolute awe. Immediately afterwards the reader is given a brief background of the Zamperini's and their humble beginnings in America after emigrating from Italy. From the get-go, Louie exhibits a markedly rebellious nature that earns him quite a notorious reputation as a one boy insurgency wreaking havoc on all forms of order and discipline present in a child's life. Smoking at the age of five, stealing food from suburban homes, and drinking wine in a cleverly disguised milk jug are just a few examples of Louie's acts of misconduct that characterized his early childhood. Such a rebellious flame would continue to burn within Louie until the age of fourteen when, after sneaking people into high school basketball games for free, he was advised by his older brother, Pete, to join a club or sport as a means of proving to the principal who doubted him, his parents, and the entire town of Torrance that he could do something right. Thus, through Pete's rigorous guidance, Louie becomes a track star. After beating the High School mile record time with 4 minutes and 21 seconds, Louie received a scholarship to the University of Southern California and set his sights on running at the Olympic level. At the age of nineteen, Louis Zamperini was and still is the youngest man to qualify for the 5,000 meter event at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. After finishing eighth, Louie's noticeably fast final lap catches the attention of Adolf Hitler, who was viewing the Olympics at the time of Louie's event. Subsequently, Louie began attending the University of Southern California and in 1938 set another mile record at the NCAA Championships with a time of 4:08.3. With a bright future and Olympic goals set, Louie was heartbroken upon learning that due to the outbreak of war with Japan subsequent to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the next Olympics were to be shut down (they were in Tokyo). With one foul swoop, Louie is thrown into the war mechanization process and gets a job as a bombardier in the United States Air force.

"He felt as if he could faint, but it wasn't from the exhaustion, it was from the realization of what he was" (Hillenbrand 19).

Part IIIPart III picks up right after the initially crash when Louie and two other survivors (Phil and Francis (“Mac”) McNamara) retrieve two life rafts and tie them together. With Phil sustaining a head injury and Mac eating all of the chocolate supplied within the raft, Louie worked vigorously to maintain sanity and, essentially, life. In order to retrieve food, Louie, Mac, and Phil would place the canvas cover of the raft on top of them and would quickly spring up and catch any Albatross birds that landed on top. Such a tactic, along with collecting and purifying rain water, would keep the three alive for thirty-three days until Mac, after displaying symptoms of starvation for quite some time earlier, died and was left in the ocean. Louis and Phil are eventually discovered by the Japanese navy and taken as POWs to the nearby Island of Kwajalein. Immediately after arriving, Louie and Phil are separated and placed into two separate wood stalls. Within ear distance of one another, Louie and Phil experience a headwind of fear, anxiety, and hopelessness as their rigid, malnourished bodies reflect the grim prospect of what lay ahead back at them.

"The same attributes that made him the boy terror of Torrance were keeping him alive in the greatest struggle of his life" (155).

"If you will save me, I will serve you forever" (382).


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