Unbroken

Summary

Chapters 8 – 9

Summary Chapters 8 – 9

In Chapter Nine, Hillenbrand shows her versatility as a storyteller by shifting once again into a different narrative subgenre, that of World War II air combat narrative. Though Louie’s crew has found itself in dangerous situations before, this is the first time they truly directly encounter deadly combat. Right from the start, Louie has his reservations about the Nauru mission, simply because of how low the men were meant to fly. And these reservations were valid, as it was far too easy for the Japanese Zeros, as well as the anti-aircraft weaponry, to engage Louie’s bomber from that altitude. This shows that Louie and the other men who regularly run missions perhaps have a better understanding of the nature of warfare than those handing out and planning the missions. This foreshadows the later incident when the men are forced to fly the Green Hornet, even though they know it is not a safe plane. Despite the danger and the hectic environment, Louie is still able to complete his mission and think clearly enough to help save all of the other men. He shows himself once again to be under control in very difficult situations. He also proves himself a true friend, as he does everything in his power to help save the other men.

As in other military combat narratives, this true-life story does not focus on the heroism of a single character. Rather, this story is about the collective heroism of the whole crew of men and on the ways in which they function as one body, which feels the pain of any one part, and especially of the loss of parts. Though the crew of the Super Man has seen many servicemen die, the loss of Brooks will likely be felt much more than any other. This might affect their willingness to take the same risks they once took and may make them more hesitant in future combat. Considering their ability to be daring in dangerous situations has helped them out of more than a few situations, one has to wonder if this change might make them less safe. This is also the first time Louie will process the loss of one of his crew members.