Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 14, 2023
December 7, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
“The crash […] had left Louie and Phil in the most desperate physical extremity, without food, water, or shelter. But on Kwajalein, the guards sought to deprive them of something that had sustained them even as all else had been lost: dignity. This self-respect and sense of self-worth, the innermost armament of the soul, lies at the heart of humanness.”
This quotation is found in Chapter 18, the first chapter of Part Four. Louie and Phil are being held in cells on Kwajalein, a few days after they had been captured at sea. Their minds and bodies have survived a record 47 days lost at sea, but their suffering is not over. In fact, it has entered a new chapter. In this new part of the book, their physical difficulties have been compounded. Now Japanese guards begin to abuse them, initiating an intentional process of trying to break Louie and Phil. This process will continue long after Kwajalein, as Louie is moved from one POW camp to the next. At this point it is new to him.
This quotation introduces an understanding that Louie continues to consider across his POW experience. This understanding concerns the preciousness of human dignity and the ways in which the Japanese guards purposely tried to dehumanize the POWs. Louie develops a deep understanding of how dehumanization is a strategy used by certain governments, including in war. In Louie’s future POW experiences, he will struggle to maintain his human dignity, what Hillenbrand calls the “armament” of the soul. Under the torture of the Bird, in particular, he nearly loses his dignity. He is forced to beg for food. But ultimately his dignity will be preserved. He will not be defeated by the efforts to take this away from him.
The quotation recognizes that food, water, and shelter are typically considered the basic human needs. Here, she points out that dignity is also a basic human need. She suggests that, perhaps, this need is even greater than the other needs. Even as the men struggled on the raft, they were not deprived of their humanity. With this humanity, they helped one another. Phil and Mac were even able to give Mac a respectful burial. This quote recognizes that human dignity had in fact “sustained” them, even when they were without food, water, and shelter. This quote points out that, unlike other animals, humans need to have this sense of self-worth. Dignity is a strong basic need. After this passage, Hillenbrand expands upon this notion by applying it more broadly to other historical contexts, including Hitler’s death camps, slaves of the American south, and “a hundred other generations of betrayed people. At this point in the book she pauses to editorialize -- in a more obvious way than she typically does in the book.