Laura Hillenbrand

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The Graf Zeppelin Symbol Analysis

The Graf Zeppelin Symbol Icon
The Graf Zeppelin was a giant German airship that flew around the world in 1929. When the Zeppelin passed over Louie’s home in California one night, it created a black absence in the sky by blotting out the light from the stars. Like a black hole that destroys everything around it, the Zeppelin represents the approaching war that will blot out many lives and bring so much suffering to the world’s citizens. The Zeppelin also represents the metaphoric black hole that the war will open inside Louie. Causing him to develop a drinking problem and a serious mental illness called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the war obliterates everything good in his life, including his optimism, his ability to express love for his friends and family, and the joy of running. Only religion and a renewed sense of self-worth save Louie from being consumed by the black hole inside of him.

The Graf Zeppelin Quotes in Unbroken

The Unbroken quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Graf Zeppelin. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Unbroken published in 2010.
Chapter 1 Quotes

He could feel the rumble of the craft’s engines tilling the air but couldn’t make out the silver skin, the sweeping ribs, the finned tail. He could see only the blackness of the space it inhabited. It was not a great presence but a great absence, a geometric ocean of darkness that seemed to swallow heaven itself.

Related Characters: Louis “Louie” Zamperini
Related Symbols: The Graf Zeppelin
Page Number: 4-5
Explanation and Analysis:
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Unbroken PDF

The Graf Zeppelin Symbol Timeline in Unbroken

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Graf Zeppelin appears in Unbroken. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The One-Boy Insurgency
War and Identity Theme Icon
...Louis “Louie” Zamperini, then twelve-years-old, and his older brother Pete watch the German airship, the Graf Zeppelin , pass over their house. The size of two and a half football fields, the... (full context)