69 pages 2 hours read

Laura Hillenbrand


Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2010

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After Reading

Discussion/Analysis Prompt

Part of what makes Unbroken so engaging is the core focus on Zamperini’s fierce drive to survive and overcome obstacles, no matter how insurmountable. How did Zamperini overcome obstacles before, during, and after the war and what does his story reveal about survival and the human spirit?

  • What odds does Zamperini face almost from the beginning of his life?
  • What core aspects of Zamperini’s character enable him to overcome obstacles?
  • Are the qualities that help Zamperini weather the odds innate or cultivated? Could anyone find these qualities within themselves? Explain.
  • What role do external factors play in Zamperini’s survival? Do you think internal or external factors played the biggest role in his survival and ability to overcome?
  • What does the story suggest are the necessary ingredients for overcoming obstacles and surviving? Why do some overcome and survive while others do not?


Teaching Suggestion: Students may benefit from written copies of the questions to refer to while discussing. Students may also benefit from previewing questions ahead of time to prepare in-depth answers and refer more directly to the text. Group or personal notetaking may increase information retention.

Differentiation Suggestion: Nonverbal or socially-anxious students may benefit from submitted written responses in place of verbal participation in a class discussion.