Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand Analysis

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Defying the Odds
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said in his essay, Circles, that all of the truly great moments in history have involved “the facilities of performance through the strength of ideas.” Emerson argues that all great moments have come from equally great ideas, and in Laura Hillenbrand’s novel, Unbroken, and Art Spiegelman’s graphic novels, Maus I and Maus II, his statement is put to the test during one of the most horrific events in history. However, Emerson’s argument proves to be valid as survivors of World War II describe the struggles they faced before, during, and after the war and their ability to overcome them whether it be because of skills and habits developed before the war or finding motivation to live when all seemed lost, …show more content…

For Zamperini, he suffered through trauma that haunted him for years after he was freed, and during a particularly bad punishment from the Bird, or as he was known at camp, that involved lifting a heavy wooden beam, “he felt his consciousness slipping, his mind losing adhesion, until all he knew was a single thought: He cannot break me (Unbroken, Hillenbrand 302).” A common theme throughout prisoner camps were the loss and preservation of dignity, and right when he seemed to finally lose it after years of keeping up a tough, unbreakable exterior, the classic Zamperini resilience returned to continue lifting the beam while the Bird ridiculed him. Even he couldn’t express the strong feeling that suddenly overcame him and pushed him to defy his most feared authority, but unknown to him at the time, there was a fire within him that caused him to save himself and his dignity. On the other hand, Spiegelman sought motivation in others, specifically his family. Not wanting to split up from his family, he explains that he “arranged for [them] a very good hiding spot- in [their] cellar, where it was coal storage (Maus I, Spiegelman 110).” Spiegelman goes above and beyond to accommodate his family and ensure all of their safety, and he is filled with purpose at the thought of them to the point where giving up is never an option. Throughout his journey, he consistently takes risks so that he could keep his family as united and safe as he could. After being separated from his family for a short period of time, he had a conversation with a priest about the significance of the lucky numbers on his arm in which he was told, “I can’t know if I’ll survive this well, but I’m certain you’ll come through all this alive (Maus II, Spiegelman 28).” Without his family around, he no longer had

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