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Written by Callie Labrador
Symbol : Japanese Memorial
After the war was over, the Japanese government created a memorial dedicated to those who had died in the services of the Emperor as a way of honoring them. The guards from Louie's prison camp who had been sentenced to death for war crimes were included on this memorial which is a symbol of the Japanese lack of remorse and belief that they were justified in torturing their prisoners.
Symbol : Louie's Journal
Whilst a prisoner of war, Louie kept a secret journal which of course would have been punishable by death; his keeping it was a symbol of defiance and a symbol of his determination to keep a record of the atrocities committed by the camp guards.
Symbol : Teaching The Guards English
To earn extra rice, the prisoners would teach English to the guards. As a symbol of the fact they had not been beaten or outwitted, the prisoners taught them slang and phrases that were derogatory to the person speaking them.
Motif : Running
Throughout the book running is a motif as the cornerstone of Louie's life. As a child he seems to be headed on the wrong path but is straightened out by his prowess at running middle distances. Running sees him through college and takes him to the Olympics; this Olympic success makes him the trophy prisoner in the camps but also singles him out for the worst treatment as well. After the war Louie continues to run and actually carries the Olympic torch on the relay through Japan before the Winter Olympics.
Motif : Christianity
Louie's fellow airman, Phil, has deep faith and is a theology graduate with a pastor father. As the men drift on the ocean Louie promises God that if they are allowed to live then he will devote his life to God. His promise falls by the wayside until he sees the young Billy Graham preaching and has an epiphany, remembering the promise he made God, and turning his life around, touring the country as a sort of athletic missionary and encouraging people to give their lives to God as well.
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