Hillenbrand also presents emotional mapping. The war had brought so much grief and suffering to so many people. When POWs ride past bombed-out cities, including even Hiroshima, they feel the destruction of life, of place, of culture, of history. Yet in the context of war they also register acknowledgement that this destruction had brought about their salvation. Hillenbrand explains that virtually all POWs believed that the bombing of the city had saved their lives. While Chapter Thirty-Three focuses on the happy endings and reunions of Louie and of Phil, in the background are the statistics and shadows of all the soldiers who did not survive and who did not return, and all the families that suffered those losses.
The end of the war also brings a joy. Louie attempts to forget so much of his suffering as he experiences life again. He takes in every pleasure and shows that his playful personality was not entirely destroyed by the war. Louie relishes every moment of his well-deserved journey home. He seems to be grateful for each stop in his trek towards home, especially because of the ways in which these stops redeem the painful experiences of the first half of his journey.