Perseverance In Unbroken

Words: 1297
Pages: 6

Times of war tend to rearrange priorities, putting victory over morals. During World War II, it was not unlikely for enemy nations to be holding prisoners of war in their territory, forcing them to do grueling work with the possibility of being tortured for information. Such circumstances is displayed in Laura Hillenbrand’s nonfiction work, Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience, & Redemption. Throughout the book, the audience learns about Louie Zamperini, an Olympic runner that is forced into World War II, and his journey through many hardships after his plane crashes into enemy controlled waters while on a search and rescue mission. After he is taken into captivity by the Japanese soldiers, he must endure many brutal circumstances …show more content…
After Louie had been separated from Phil to separate work camps, he was put under the watch of Matsuhiro Watanabe, known as “the Bird”. The first confrontation occurred shortly after “the Bird” had arrived, carefully watching the prisoners and asking their names: “When he reached Louie, he stopped. Louie gave his name. The corporal’s eyes narrowed. Louie dropped his eyes. There was a rush in the air, the corporal’s arms swinging, then a fist thudding into Louie’s head” (Hillenbrand 232). Louie was repeatedly hit as “the Bird” continuously questioned why Louie wouldn’t look him in the eye. Later, when the prisoners believed the corporal wasn’t anywhere near, Louie had simply found utensils to make a fire and proceeded to do so. Watanabe had then come back, and had been infuriated by Louie’s actions:
Without warning, the corporal slugged Louie in the head, then swung his arm back for another blow. Louie wanted to duck, but he fought the instinct, knowing from Ofuna that this would only provoke more blows. So he stood still, holding his expression neutral, as the second swing connected with his head. (Hillenbrand
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One of the most impactful instances of this was seen as The Bird forced Louie to hold a beam directly over his head, stating that if he lowered it, he would be shot by the guards. Despite all the pain and exhaustion from holding the beam up for an extended period of time, Louie had continued to persevere through this, overcoming the circumstance he was put in with the little spirit and hope he had left in him: “He felt his consciousness slipping, his mind losing adhesion, until all he knew was a single thought: He cannot break me.” Soon after this, the bombing of Hiroshima had taken place, and shortly after that, the war had ended. However, overcoming the war had still yet to come: “One day Louie was overcome by a strange, inexplicable feeling, and suddenly the war was all around and in him, not a memory but the actual experience- the glaring and grating and stench and howl and terror of it” (Hillenbrand 352). The war had scarred him for life, but through his renewed faith in God and support by family, he was able to overcome even the most horrific experiences and move on, even attempting to make peace with those who had wronged him. “Louie was seized by a childlike, giddy exuberance. Before he realized what he was doing, he was bounding down the aisle. In bewilderment, the men who had abused him watched him come to them, his hands extended, a radiant smile on his