The Paradox of Vengefulness

black and white flying airplane jet

Somewhere along the thirteen-hour drive home from a family vacation on the coast, with the kids asleep in the back of the car, having finally given in to the monotony of the drive and the scenery, and the late hour, my husband and I sat in the front still riveted to the story even after having listened to it for nearly 12 hours straight. There was little talking between us as we sat in our anxiety listening to the story unfold. But when these lines were declared from the reader, I paused the book, then I backed it up and listened to it again, and then a third time, and then added a digital bookmark to it. If you’re not familiar with the story, it will be helpful to know that “the Bird” is the nickname the American soldiers gave to one particularly dangerous Japanese guard in their prison camp.

“The paradox of vengefulness is that it makes men dependent upon those who have harmed them believing that their release from pain will come only when they make their tormentors suffer. In seeking the Bird’s death to free himself, Louie had chained himself once again to his tyrant. During the war the Bird had been unwilling to let go of Louie, after the war, Louie was unable to let go of the Bird.”

Unbroken A World War II Stor of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

By Laura Hillenbrand

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