Summary and Analysis
Part IV Chapter 27: Falling Down
Life at Omori gets somewhat better with The Bird gone. The POWs are allowed to send and receive mail. Some prisoners from Ofuna are brought to Omori, among them Louie’s friend Bill Harris. American B-29s keep filling the skies, and rumors of war victories filter into the camp. In February, the POWs have dangerously close front-row seats to a series of successful bombings over Tokyo. The Americans are winning decisively, but the POWs are now at risk of being victims of the standing “kill-all” order. Louie and Frank Tinker are unexpectedly transferred to the Naoetsu POW camp, on the west coast of Japan. They find The Bird waiting for them there.
Hope runs high after The Bird is transferred out of the Omori POW camp. It’s still slave labor on starvation wages, but at least the most evil taskmaster is no longer beating Louie almost to death each day. Evidence of America’s progress in winning the war is now easily seen overhead in the skies and in the fearful eyes of Louie’s Japanese captors. Figuratively, the gates of hell are beginning to crack, and the armies of heaven are making their way to the rescue.
Yet hope is a fragile thing, especially in war. When Louie’s hope is at its height, hell strikes back with a vengeance: At the Naoetsu POW camp, Louie is back in the clutches of The Bird.