Summary and Analysis Part IV Chapter 33: Mother’s Day

Summary

Louie and his fellow POWs are taken to Yokohama, where they are tended by Red Cross nurses. From there, Louie is flown to the American base in Okinawa, where many POWs are being prepared to return to the United States. Louie gorges himself on the abundant food, hoards some K rations, and finally gains back some weight. It is something of a surprise to many people, including journalists, when they discover that Olympic track athlete Louis Zamperini is alive and among the rescued POWs. Louie is eventually brought to Honolulu, where he stays until mid-October, and then finally returns to California. Separately, Phil doesn’t make it to Yokohama until September 9. He returns to Indiana on October 16. Four weeks later Phil and Cecy are finally married.

Analysis

Louie’s physical redemption is a joyous occasion. Freedom and a hero’s welcome await Louie in California. Best of all, for the first time in years, Louie can fill his stomach with an abundance of food. This is both a physical and emotional grace for the former POW.

Louie’s liberation from Japanese captivity, however, is going to prove to be only a partial redemption. His uncontrollable need to hoard K rations amidst an abundance of food is proof that, although he is physically free, emotionally and psychologically he is still held captive by his experience as a POW.

Pop Quiz!

Why did young Louie take up running as a sport?

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