Study Guide

Unbroken Chapter 34

By Laura Hillenbrand

Chapter 34

The Shimmering Girl

  • The Zamperinis have a huge homecoming party for Louie.
  • And it's a miracle: as soon as Louise found out Louie was coming home, her rash disappeared.
  • Unfortunately, Louie is haunted by memories of war, and he sees the Bird every time he tries to sleep.
  • Back in Japan, the Bird is on the run—Japanese military men are being arrested for war crimes, and the Bird is in hiding.
  • The police trail his mother, hoping she'll lead them to the Bird, but the search is futile.
  • Back home, Louie becomes a national sensation, like an American Idol contestant.
  • To cope with fame, and the loss of so many friends, he starts drinking.
  • In March 1946, Louie meets Cynthia Applewhite at a bar and the two hit it off beautifully.
  • Cynthia is an artsy-fartsy type "dressed in bohemian clothes, [she] penned novels, painted, and yearned to roam forgotten corners of the world" (5.34.37).
  • After only two weeks, Louie talks Cynthia into marrying him. Her parents are not happy.
  • But he tries to convince her parents to like him, and starts training for the 1948 Olympic Games.
  • Although Cynthia tells her parents she won't marry Louie until the fall, they have a secret ceremony on May 25.
  • That night, Cynthia cries on the phone all night with her mother, and Louie drinks himself to sleep.

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