Reflection On Louis Zamperini’s Life In Unbroken

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

The adventurous and dangerous life of Olympic Runner Louis Zamperini in the book Unbroken isn’t just for entertainment. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is a biography of an Olympic runner Louis Zamperini who enlisted in the air force and when his plane crashes he becomes a Prisoner of War of the Japanese. Hillenbrand begins the story with a reflection from Louis’s sister, “He could have ended the beatings by running away or succumbing to tears, but he refused to do either. “You could beat him to death,” said Sylvia, “and he wouldn’t say ‘ouch’ or cry.” He just put his hands in front of his face and took it,” (Hillenbrand). These thoughts set a tone of incredible courage and determination which are carried through out the story. Louis’s unfortunate experiences were met with a strong desire to get through these conflicts with mental and physical strength. His story of perseverance teaches any reader analyzing Hillenbrand’s book about motivation and resilience. Through the story of someone else’s life, Hillenbrand demonstrates that great levels of success that can be accomplished through perseverance in order to give readers motivation to get through difficult times in their own lives. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary: “Perseverance is the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition,”(Webster). In daily lives, everyone can be challenged with many unexpected difficult tasks. How someone perseveres through these challenges determines their mental strength. 

According to Jack Robinson: “Throwing in the towel is never a good answer; however, persevering to the end usually reaps great rewards,” (Robinson). This quote illustrates that even though throwing in the towel is an option, it doesn’t solve anything and offers no rewards. Perseverance is a beneficial character trait to have throughout life because it promotes successful completion of tasks. In Unbroken, there is a memorable moment in the book when Louis is faced with the option to throw in the towel. In the POW camp Louie had to hold a very heavy log over his head otherwise he would be beaten with a gun. “He cannot break me. Across the compound, the Bird had stopped laughing,” (Hillenbrand 302). This quote gives readers a massive sense of motivation that they can do anything through the empowering descriptions. Through Louis’s employment in the Air Force, Louis is faced with the mental and physical obstacle of the crash landing the B-24 plane into the water due to the plane’s engine failure. Louis and his teammates Phil and Mac with no food and hardly any water are stuck in the ocean and are challenged with staying mentally alert. “But more than five weeks into their ordeal, both Louis and Phil were enjoying remarkable precision of mind and were convinced that they were growing sharper every day. They continued quizzing each other, chasing each other’s stories down to the smallest detail, teaching each other melodies and lyrics, and cook fabulous meals,” (Hillenbrand 173). 

By talking to Phil and Mac, Louis is able to distract himself from the reality of being stuck in the middle of the ocean. Hillenbrand focuses on the positive methods that Louis uses to keep himself mentally competent, showing that she wanted to show the reader the importance of staying active and positive. This connects to Robinson’s quote by showing that with being stranded after the plane crash Louis could’ve thrown in the towel and given up. Instead, Louis keeps going even with all of the food gone, hardly any water and no shade from the scorching sun. This part of Unbroken shows the reader the significance of perseverance, and no matter how bad of a situation you are in, it is always possible to find a solution. In a quote written by Shalid, it explains the importance of preserving: “If you truly want something, but you quit, you’ll never know if it would’ve come true for you. All it takes is one “yes” for your dreams to become a reality. Don’t stop trying,” (Shalid). This quote explains the importance of not quitting and where that can lead you. If you quit, you’ll never know the rewards you can get from you deciding to keep going. This can be connected to Unbroken during Louis’ track career. During his time at USC Louie participated with many any school in the championship for the NCAA and during the race racers from other schools tried hurting Louie by stomping his feet and shoes to try to get him to drop out. “Suddenly, the man beside him swerved in and stomped on his foot, impaling Louie’s toe with his spike. 

A moment later, the man ahead began kicking backward, cutting both of Louie’s shins,” (Hillenbrand 44). This quote reflects on the same meaning as the quote by Shalid, that if Louie would’ve quit this race, he wouldn’t be the record holder for the fastest mile time in NCAA history. Louie decided not to leave though, and with that decision to keep going, he ends up breaking the record and even getting close to the fastest outdoor mile ever, even as a college athlete. This is another demonstration of perseverance that Hillenbrand uses to teach the reader about the benefits of commitment. Through Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini’s life, Hillenbrand demonstrates that high levels of success can be accomplished through perseverance. By sharing Louis’s struggles, she motivates the reader to get through difficult times in their own lives. When Louis holds the hefty log above his head for hours, when he is stranded on the raft in the ocean, and during the running race for NCAA championship highlight that perseverance is a trait that can get people through anything and become successful. Hillenbrand is successful at motivating the reader to persevere in their own life through the passionate portrayal of Louis’s determination to overcome obstacles and the success that followed.


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