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Triumph Through Adversity Essay

940 words - 4 pages

Award-Winning author Laura Hillenbrand writes of the invigorating survival story of Louie Zamperini in her best selling book, Unbroken. Louie Zamperini was an ambitious, record-breaking Olympic runner when he was drafted into the American army as an airman during World War II. On the mission that led him to embark on a journey of dire straits, Louie’s plain crashed into the Pacific Ocean, leaving only him and two other crewmen as survivors. Stranded on a raft in shark infested waters, without any resources or food, and drifting toward enemy Japanese territory, the men now have to face their ultimate capture by Japanese, if they survive that long. Louie responded to his desperation with dexterity, undergoing his plight with optimism and confidence, rather than losing hope. In this memorable novel, Hillenbrand uses a vivid narrative voice to divulge Louie’s tale of endurance, and proves that the resilience of the human mind can triumph through adversity.
When Louie was stranded on the raft, he never let circumstance get the better of him. The three survivors, Louie, Phil, and Mac, all had completely differing perspectives of their trouble. Louie and Phil stayed optimistic, while Maxc slowly deteriorated along with his hope. Hillenbrand wrote that "It remains a mystery why these three young men, veterans of the same training and same crash, differed so radically in their perceptions of their plight. Maybe the difference was biological; some men may be wired for optimism, others for doubt... Perhaps the men's histories had given them opposing convictions about their capacity to overcome adversity... Though all three men faced the same hardship, their differing perceptions of it appeared to be shaping their fates. Louie and Phil's hope displaced their fear and inspired them to work toward their survival, and each success renewed their physical and emotional vigor. Mac's resignation seemed to paralyze him, and the less he participated in their efforts to survive, the more he slipped. Though he did the least, as the days passed it was he who faded the most. Louie and Phil's optimism, and Mac's hopelessness, were becoming self-fulfilling" (147-148). Hillenbrand considers how each man’s perspective seemed to be guiding their future. Since Louie and Phil stayed optimistic, they pressed on, despite their predicament. Mac, on the other hand, perished along with his faith.
Once Louie and Phil were captured by the Japanese, they had to face perhaps the biggest struggle of all. They were placed into POW camps, where they endured torture of all kinds, physical and emotional. They were forced to work, starved and dehydrated, mutilated, threatened, beaten, and worse. Hillenbrand suggests that "The crash of the Green Hornet had left Louie and Phil in the most desperate physical extremity,...

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