The novel opens with a boy named Louis Zamperini who has had a hard past. In order to channel the troubles of his past Louis starts learn to take it out through running. In coping through running he learned that his talent would take him to the Berlin Olympics.
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The author, Laura Hillenbrand, uses strong diction and descriptive events and actions to describe the story. This is a true story that describes the contusive events that happened during the WW II time period. The novel starts off with a preface that includes details about the long twenty-seven-day long trip. While on this trip the men think that they are being saved from a plane in their little raft that has a shark circling them. The plane suddenly starts to fire at them, causing the only way for them to be saved is to jump into the water.
The novel first starts off with both of the brothers, Louie and Pete, waking up to some loud noises that happens to be a large plane that is passing over their house. Louie then notices that some scripture is written on the plane and it happens to be a German symbol. We then get to learn about some of Louie’s childhood. Where we learn that he had to jump off the back of a train at the young age of two. And that his family had to move across the country from New York to California. Much of his childhood was involved with stealing food and making trouble. On the other side of the spectrum we have Louie’s brother Pete. He would be the one that was mostly responsible for Louie and his actions. This is one of the reasons that he got bullied, the other is because of the Italian background that they came from (it was not accepted much by society at this time). The older Louie got it seemed like the more trouble that he got into. This was until one of their neighbors was almost a victim of government sterilization that then was when Louie realized that he needed to clean up his act.
Before Louie really starts to clean up his act, he does one more crime which was letting people onto the basketball games for free. He did this by realizing that his house key fits the door of their school gym. After this incident Pete encourages Louie to getting into running. Louie comes in dead last in his first race and then really starts to put the pedal to the medal and training. He starts to win some races. Then the problem of training too much tries out Louie, he gets in an argument with his father and ends up running away. Louie does end up coming back home after being kicked off of the train and having no food to eat. Louie goes back to running and really starts to turn his life around by going to college and even running for class president. With Pete guiding him, Louie starts to win every race and then starts to get eyes from the Olympic teams.
When on the ship going to Germany it becomes hard for Louie to train because of the small spaces and the fact that he has no self-control from eating all of the food that is provided. During the race Louie gets a bit discouraged on the fact of how fast some of the other countries are. He eventually will go on to get the fastest American time of that year. He becomes associated with Hitler after this and escapes from guards when he takes the Nazi Flag. As the Olympic games starts to end, the villages where the athletes stayed starts to be turned into concentration camps. But, the only thing on Louie’s mind is the next Olympics in Tokyo. When they return back to American everywhere is put on high security because of the Pearl Harbor attacks. Louie will then go to a military school and learning about bombs and how to drop them. He will then go on to graduate and then have to say good bye to his family. They final training that the men will have to do will be cut short because they are being deployed. The men are tasked with one assignment that has them going down at a dangerously low altitude with Japanese Zero planes ready to shoot at them.
One night while Louie was feeling restless, they men had heard plane like noises above the island area. Moments later the sounds of bombs going off could be heard. Louie being one of the lucky ones who were safe, took to drinking to cope. Louie then would go through another life-threatening experience when the plane that the men are in starts to lose fuel in one of the engines and after one of the people hit the wrong button to try and even it out, they started to fall. Eventually they crashed into the water and Louie was caught in between some wiring causing him to pass out. He thinks that he is dead, but ended up only passing out and making up to the surface alive. When they go to look at the supplies that they have, the men quickly realized that they don’t really have much to feed off of. They do everything in their best efforts to be seen by two planes that fly nearby, but fail. In the end the main goal of the story was to convey the struggles of the war with much perseverance.
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