Heroes

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  • Created by: zaire
  • Created on: 21-05-15 09:48
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  • Heroes
    • Themes
      • Heroism
        • The question of what makes a hero is asked all the way through Heroes, by many different characters.
        • LaSalle is a hero to the kids of the Wreck Centre.
        • by becoming table tennis champion and beating LaSalle he becomes an icon to the other children.
        • Arthur  says ‘We weren’t heroes. We were only there.’
        • LaSalle asks at the end: ‘Does that one sin of mine wipe away all the good things?’ The whole book questions whether people can really be heroes, when they have all their human failings underneath.
      • War
        • War ties into the theme of heroism as a useful motif – it is a time when people are often called ‘heroes’ but it is also a theme in itself.
        • Arthur’s collapse behind the club one evening suggests that many of the veterans have similar issues to Francis – although Arthur appeared normal he is finding it very difficult to cope with the memories of what the war was like.
      • Innocence/ the end of childhood
        • When Francis confidently leaves Nicole alone with LaSalle in the Wreck Centre, he does so in complete innocence of the danger she is in.
        • He maintains a certain innocence even after the grenade – going to London with his face uncovered, he doesn’t think that other people will notice, until he makes a young boy cry. When he is home in Frenchtown he appears to have become very cynical, but at the end of the novel, he has turned back a little from that, perhaps coming to happy balance.
      • Love
        • He can barely get up the courage to speak to her, although they do eventually go out, and their relationship is sweet and innocent.
        • From the first chapter where he says ‘it would always be Nicole Renard’ to the penultimate one where he tells us the reason he went to see Nicole was to see if she could still be his girl ‘which could maybe change my mind about the gun in my duffel bag.’ This is verging on the obsessional, and Francis realises as he talks to Nicole that the love they had ended a long time ago.
        • LaSalle also describes his sexual desire for young girls (‘sweet young things’) as love. He says ‘we love our sins. We love the thing that makes us evil.’ This is a darker side to what ‘love’ can mean to different people.
    • Characters
      • Francis Cassavant
        • Francis is the first person narrator of the novel. It is told through his eyes, directly to the reader.
        • He is driven by the guilt of having left Nicole to be raped by LaSalle, an event for which he blames himself, because he broke his promise not to leave her alone that night.
      • Larry LaSalle
        • LaSalle is the glamorous and charismatic man who runs the youth club in Frenchtown. He has a talent for bringing out the best in people, and he makes special favourites of Nicole and Francis.
        • There is a mystery surrounding his departure from New York and his relocation to Frenchtown.
        • LaSalle never expresses a sense of guilt over the crimes he committed, so we are left in doubt.
      • Nicole Renard
        • Nicole is a bit of a mystery through the book, more conspicuous through her absence than her presence. This is appropriate because she is more important in what she symbolises to Francis – happiness and innocence – than in their actual relationship.
        • When Francis sees her at the end of the book she has become ‘brittle’. She is, however, recovering, and it is clear that she will survive, although it is taking a great deal of strength to do so. She has grown up – and is just ‘finding out’ who she really is.
        • She is the one who tells Francis that he should try to write through what he has experienced: it is her wisdom that enables him to find a way to survive the experiences he has been through.

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