Study Guide

Unbroken Admiration

By Laura Hillenbrand


Louie idolized Pete, who watched over him and their younger sisters […] with paternal protectiveness. (1.1.24)

Pete is able to utilize Louie's admiration of him to shape his brother from boy terror into boy wonder, influencing him to join the track team.

After watching [Louie] from the Torrance High fence, cheerleader Toots Bowersox needed only one word to describe him: "<em>Smoooooth.</em>" (1.2.14)

Louie's running skills don't just cause other runners to idolize him—girls admire him too. They think he's a smooth as a Carlos Santana song.

"There's the next mile champion," [Cunnigham] said, leveling his eyes across the room. "When he concentrates on this distance, he'll be unbeatable." (1.5.7)

Louie once idolized Cunningham, but he gets to be so good that Cunningham starts admiring <em>him. </em>The student has become the master. 

The plane had saved him and all but one of his crew. He would think of it as a dear friend. (2.10.25)

Super Man really lives up to its name. It's like the weird kid who suddenly becomes a hero at the end of the story (*cough*Neville Longbottom*cough*) surprising everyone. 

Garrett had spend much of his time mulling over [Louie's] name on the wall, perhaps thinking that if this man had survived, so might he. (4.20.35)

This is an instance of admiration saving lives. Fred Garrett is kept in a cell that Louie was once kept in, and Louie's true story of survival gives Garrett the strength to push through what may be the most difficult time of his life. 

From the moment that Watanabe locked eyes with Louie Zamperini, and officer, a famous Olympian, and a man for whom defiance was second nature, no man obsessed [Watanabe] more. (4.23.36)

Watanabe (a.k.a. the Bird) experiences the dark side of admiration for Louie. Because he envies Louie's strength and determination, Watanabe is determined to destroy it. 

The Radio Tokyo men were back at Omori, smiling. Hat a lovely voice Louie had, what a brilliant job he had done. (4.26.1)

While the propaganda men at the radio admire Louie's speaking voice, this is because they believe they can use it to spread whatever message they want to the people. 

When the Zamperinis heard of it, they were upset: the race was to be called the Louis S. Zamperini Memoria Mile. Out of respect for the family, the name was changed to the Louis S. Zamperini Invitational, but that did little to lift the spirits of those involved. (4.28.5)

Is naming a race after Louie a sign of admiration, or is it merely exploiting his memory, the way the Radio Tokyo men are doing?

With his Odyssean saga featured in newspapers, magazines, and radio shows, [Louie] was a national sensation. (5.34.26)

While Louie deserves all the accolades he gets, we'd argue that Pete, with Cecy patiently waiting for him at home for years, is the true Odysseus of this tale. 

Over the years, [Louie] received an absurd number of awards and honors. (Epilogue.5)

So many people love Louie that he has trouble finding enough time in his schedule to receive all the awards and accolades. (If only Google Calendar was around then.) He even carries the Olympic torch before five different games. 

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