Heroes - Themes

Heroes - Themes: Heroism, Secrets, Forgiveness and War/End of Childhood

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  • Heroes Themes
    • Heroism
      • When Francis talks to Larry, he admits that he fell on the grenade not out of heroism, but because he wanted to die so he doesn't class himself as a hero.
        • 'My face got blown off and i didn't die...'
        • 'All your instincts would have made you sacrifice yourself for your comrades.'
        • 'You would have fallen on that grenade, anyway'
          • 'All your instincts would have made you sacrifice yourself for your comrades.'
      • Francis tells us that he always wanted to be a hero like Larry, but that when he finds himself one [a 'hero'] he wants to get rid of the 'fakery'.
        • 'Your a big hero [...] a Silver Star Hero'
      • Before they even go to war, LaSalle is a hero to the kids of the Wreck Centre. He brings out the best in them and they adore him. Even at the end he is still making Francis feel better about himself, and prevents him from becoming a murderer.
        • 'He was our champion and we were happy to be in his presence.'
        • He is seen as a hero by Francis for letting him win the table-tennis championship at the Wreck Centre.
          • 'he was letting me win [...] he cleverly missed my returns by what seemed like a thousandth of  an inch, and placed his returns in seemingly impossible spots, but within my reach.'
          • 'Two games were being played [...] the subtle tender game in which  Larry LaSalle was letting me win.
      • Francis believes in The Stranglers' scrap book, there were no heroes, just people from the war like him.
        • 'No heroes in that scrap-book.'
        • 'We weren't heroes. We were only there...'
    • Secrets
      • Francis arrives in French-town with his face wrapped up and concealed. On one level he's hiding his injuries from sight, to stop them horrifying others like they did the small boy in London who cried. On another lever he is hiding his identity so no-one will recognize him.
        • 'I knew that i was really anonymous, that i wasn't Francis Joseph Cassavant any more but a tenant in Frenchtown.'
      • Larry LaSalle also has a secret concealed in his past - the mysterious reason as to why he had left his showbiz career to become a youth worker.
        • 'No one dared to ask him , although there were dark hints that he had 'gotten into trouble' in New York City...'
    • War/End of Childhood
      • Francis dreams of the German soldiers that he killed, but in his dreams they cry 'Mama' and he sees them as boys, like him.
        • 'too young to shave'
        • 'two German soldiers in white uniforms appear like grim ghosts'
        • 'the head of one of the soldiers explodes like a ripe tomato and the other cries Mama as my gunfire cuts him in half, both halves of him tumbling to the ground.
      • When Francis confidently leaves Nicole alone with Larry in the Wreck Centre, he does so in complete innocence of the danger she is in.
        • 'I recognized in her eyes now what I could not deny: betrayal. My betrayal of her in her eyes.'
      • Larry's rape of Nicole in the Wreck Centre is the end of innocence for both her and Francis who waits in the dark knowing but unable to knowledge what is happening to her.
        • 'Just her and me alone. It's important, Francis.'
        • 'Don't go,' Nicole whispered into my ear.'
        • 'What were they doing? But i knew what they were doing - the thought streaked through my mind so fast that it could hardly be acknowledged.'
    • Forgiveness
      • Francis is intent on taking revenge on Larry LaSalle, rather than forgiving him. He does not offer any forgiveness: when LaSalle asks if his one evil act can erase all the good he did, Francis coldly tells him to ‘ask Nicole.’
        • 'Does that one sin of mine wipe away all the good things?
      • Francis is driven by the need to find forgiveness for having let Nicole down by leaving her alone with LaSalle. The guilt of the action, and the fact that she blamed him for it, are almost overwhelming. He wants to die, and closes ‘doors to the future’ because he doesn’t feel he deserves either recognition as a hero or to live.
        • 'My betrayal. My betrayal of her in her eyes.'
      • Nicole offers Francis forgiveness in a very understated way. As it turns out she regrets blaming him for the rape, and tried to tell him so many years ago, but he had already left for the army.
        • 'i shouldnt have said those things to you that day on the piazza. You weren't to blame for what happened.


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