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Louise Zamperini Character Analysis

Louie’s mother, Louise is the novel’s embodiment of belief, giving the rest of her family the conviction that Louie was alive even after the army announced his death. Like Louie, she has a love of mischief and a defiant streak. A great cook, she is a supportive and loving mother who worries tremendously for her son.

Louise Zamperini Quotes in Unbroken

The Unbroken quotes below are all either spoken by Louise Zamperini or refer to Louise Zamperini . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Survival and Resilience  Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Random House edition of Unbroken published in 2010.
Chapter 13 Quotes

That night, before he tried to sleep, Louie prayed. He had prayed only once before in his life, in childhood, when his mother was sick and he had been filled with a rushing fear that he would lose her. That night on the raft, in words composed in his head, never passing his lips, he pleaded for help.

Related Characters: Louis “Louie” Zamperini , Louise Zamperini
Page Number: 142
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage Hillenbrand introduces the theme of religion to the novel. Louie isn't a particularly religious person, we've already been told--but there's a side of his personality that seems willing to have faith, against all the evidence. Here, Louie is trapped on a lifeboat, desperate for food and rescue. He prays to God for help, just as he did when he was a child and feared that he might lose his mother. His motivations aren't hard to diagnose: he's frightened and, for once, helpless.

In a way, Louie's behavior here reiterates everything we already knew about his athletic prowess. Louie is an optimist through and through--when the outlook doesn't look good, he finds a way to see the bright side, believing against all reasonable evidence that everything will work out well. Thus, he chooses to have faith that he'll be rescued, praying to God for help.


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Louise cried and prayed. From the stress, open sores broke out all over her hands. Sylvia thought her hands looked like raw hamburger. Somewhere in those jagged days, a fierce conviction came over Louise. She was absolutely certain that her son was alive.

Related Characters: Louis “Louie” Zamperini , Louise Zamperini , Sylvia Zamperini
Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we're told what's going on with Louie's relatives back in the United States. News that their son has gone missing reaches California, and Louie's mother, Louise, becomes horribly frightened. Louise is a religious person, and she prays to God for help with her son. Louise also finds the courage to believe that her son is still alive, even after the authorities tell her that he's likely dead. Much like her son, Louise is an eternal optimist, someone who believes in the best of all possible worlds and the ability to improve things through the force of one's will, endurance, and faith. Here, she chooses to believe that Louie is still alive--she becomes singularly focused on such an outcome, much like Louie focusing his attention on winning a race.

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Louise Zamperini Character Timeline in Unbroken

The timeline below shows where the character Louise Zamperini appears in Unbroken. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The One-Boy Insurgency
Survival and Resilience  Theme Icon
Dignity Theme Icon
War and Identity  Theme Icon
The son of Italian immigrants Anthony and Louise Zamperini, Louie was a boyhood scoundrel. Smoking cigarettes by age five and drinking by eight,... (full context)
Survival and Resilience  Theme Icon
Dignity Theme Icon
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
...every morning at two-thirty to run a three-hour paper route. Louie took after his mother Louise, who also loved making mischief. One Halloween, she dressed up as a boy and went... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Flying Coffin
Survival and Resilience  Theme Icon
War and Identity  Theme Icon
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
...comes home to see his brother off. In a picture the family takes, Louie and Louise, on the verge of tears, squint and look slightly away from camera, as if blinded... (full context)
Chapter 13: Missing at Sea
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
...Louie prays for help. Louie has prayed only once before in his life – when Louise was sick and he feared he’d lose her. (full context)
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
...his family that he is lost at sea. Anthony is stoic but, out of stress, Louise develops a rash all over her hands. Over the next few days, Louise develops the... (full context)
Chapter 21: Belief
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
Back in Louie’s hometown of Torrance, Louise’s fierce belief that Louie is alive inspires the other family members to believe. Hillenbrand describes... (full context)
Chapter 25: B-29
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
...saying they’ve intercepted his message, confirming that he is most likely alive. Hearing this news, Louise and Sylvia dissolve into tears and shouts of joy. Pete calls Louie’s friend Payton Jordon... (full context)
Chapter 33: Mother’s Day
Survival and Resilience  Theme Icon
...“Zamperini Comes Back From Dead.” The family erupts with relief and excitement for his return. Louise says that September 9 will be Mother’s Day from now on because that was day... (full context)
Chapter 38: A Beckoning Whistle
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
...when he said that he’d meet her at this spot in another two years. Like Louise Zamperini, Shizuka believed that her son was still alive despite what she saw that day... (full context)