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The novel was written in 1998 but was set as before, during and just
after WW2,
·Robert Cormier was born in the French-Canadian section of the town
called French Hill
·It is this place which is loosely fictionalised in Heroes as Frenchtown.
·He was in his last years at high school when the USA joined the war ­
making him roughly the same age as Francis Cassavant in the novel.
Cormier had poor eyesight though, and so could not join the army. He
studied and worked instead.
·The inspiration of the novel was the celebration of the 50th the D-day
landings and to recognise the heroic acts of ordinary people…read more

Slide 3

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Heroism (links to Francis, Arthur, the other veterans & Larry)
·War (links to Francis, Arthur, the other veterans & Larry)
·Innocence/ End of childhood (links to Nicole and Francis)
·Love (links to Nicole and Francis)
·Forgiveness (links to Nicole, Francis and Larry)
·Use and Abuse of Power (the military, the veterans, Larry, Francis
and Nicole)
·Concealment and Revealment (Francis, Arthur, the other
veterans, Larry and Nicole)…read more

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Before he goes to war, Larry is a hero to the kids- `he was our
champion...we were happy to be in his presence' ; 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- `'
·Francis is a peacetime hero also- by becoming table tennis champion and
beating Larry, he becomes an icon to other kids- `'
·The scrapbook kept by `The Strangler' contains newspaper clippings about
all the heroes of Frenchtown, including both Larry and Francis- `'. The other
men regard it as something to be proud of whilst Francis is ambivalent
·Both Larry and Francis are awarded the Silver Star for heroism. Larry wins
his through an act of violence whereas Francis wins his by taking damage to
himself…read more

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Arthur scoffs at the idea of heroes and says `we weren't heroes. We were
just there'. This can be taken as it is wrong for people to call them heroes as
they didn't act like heroes but it was mere chance they were in the war. Or ,
as Francis suggests, just being there they were heroes as they did what they
had to do and didn't run away
·Francis admits that he fell on the grenade to kill himself so is not a hero.
Larry counters this telling him that deep down it was a heroic act, driven by
his instincts to save his comrades- But can Larry's words be trusted?
·For Francis, being called hero can't disguise the guilt at failing Nicole and
the fact he wanted to die so he feels like a coward
·The whole book questions whether people can really be heroes, when they
have all their human failings underneath them-'Does that one sin of mine
wipe away all the good things?'…read more

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There seems to be a conspiracy not to reveal the hereoes for what they are
(the truth about Larry is not told to everyone, Francis only tells Larry
about the grenade, when Arthur is drunk 2 veteran friends take him
home, not wanting to talking about the war). Does this suggests that we
need heroes even if they are fake?
·This is also suggested by the positive effects of Francis beating Larry at table
tennis. Larry knows this will give Francis more self confidence. Although Larry
fakes the result, Francis is a hero= fake heroes can have a positive value
in society
·Nicole tells Francis he should write about it, in order to find out what a real
hero is. This suggests the answer to the question is in the book. In the train
station Francis thinks of the soldiers in his platoon who were scared but
stayed and fought anyway. They died and were never awarded medals and
he calls them the `real heroes'…read more

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