What is the significance of the title of the book?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The title of the book summarizes how Hillenbrand views Louis' narrative. Louis endures so much that would have "broken" many others. Yet, he is not destroyed by his experiences.  His time as a Prisoner of War was one in which his Japanese tormentors sought to "break" him.  They did not and he persevered.  Post- war life was a struggle that could have "broken" him, yet it did not as he discovered the power of spirituality to save him.  The idea of "unbroken" is one that reflects how he had been effected by the events of the war and life afterwards, but was not broken by them.  He emerges as "unbroken," reflective of the pain and suffering endured as well as the memories of such treatment as a part of him, but not ones that define him.  The subtitle reflects how Hillenbrand conceives of Louis' narrative.  It is one in which there is the perseverance that reflects survival.  This is a condition that can only happen out of strength that comes from resilience.  What makes Louis' narrative so compelling in Hillenbrand's mind is the redemption that is evident through Louis' own embrace of spirituality and recognizing the nature of his own existence.  In these elements, the title becomes significant to the nature of Louis' life and Hillenbrand's work.

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