Study Guide

Unbroken What's Up With the Title?

By Laura Hillenbrand

What's Up With the Title?


Louie goes through a lot. He's put on a plane even though he suffers airsickness. Almost crash lands once. Does crash land a second time. Survives forty-six days at sea. Gets captured by the Japanese. Shuffles from one POW camp to another. Suffers an injury that ends his running career. Develops a drinking problem. Almost gets divorced.

We need to take a breath.

Oh—and through half of that, he's pursued by a cruel sociopath nicknamed the Bird, who is determined to destroy Louie's body and spirit.

But throughout all of it, Louie perseveres. He says to himself, "[The Bird] cannot break me" (4.30.11). And what is something that will not break? It's Unbroken. Despite suffering intense PTSD after the end of the war, Louie finds strength in faith and realizes that "He was not the worthless, broken, forsaken man that the Bird had striven to make of him. […] He was a new creation" (5.38.46). Way to take charge of your own identity, Louie.

And although the book focuses on Louie, many people remain unbroken throughout: Phil. Phil's fiancée. Louie's family. World War II was a time of great horror, but it was also a time of great heroism and courage—and those are brought to the forefront in this book. 

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