Study Guide

Unbroken Sharks

By Laura Hillenbrand


Like You Gave a Little Speed to a Great White Shark on Shark Week 

Shark Week? Try Shark Month. Louie, Phil, and Mac are adrift at sea, surrounded by sharks, for forty-six days. That's six-and-a-half consecutive Shark Weeks.

While stationed on various Hawaiian islands, the men often pass their time by shooting at and blowing up the sharks nearby. Later "they felt guilty" (2.9.9), but the sharks don't get that memo, and sometimes it seems like the sharks are holding a personal vendetta against the men.

Seriously, Shmoopers, these sharks are insane. They're patient, "waiting for the men to come to them" (3.12.21)—and when the men don't just jump down into the water for a dip, they sharks leap out of the water at them. We are surprised they don't come after the men with frickin' lasers attached to their heads.

These sharks give us some harrowing man versus nature moments you rarely find outside a Jack London novel. They represent the danger that lurks for Louie and his cohorts, and are also a means for understanding each of the men based on how they handle their presence. Louie punches a shark in the face at one point, and even manages to wrestle one out of the water, kill it, and devour its liver. Man: 1, Sharks: 0.

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