The Book Heroes

The Book Heroes

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The Book Heroes

Heroes is a book about what really makes a hero, the two main
characters are Francis Joseph Cassavent and Larry LaSalle. They are
both flawed heroes. The book is set in the second world war period and
the storyline switches from past to present tense. Francis wants to
kill Larry LaSalle for raping his girlfriend.

The heroes we see in films are always perfect and have no faults, but
the so called heroes we see in the book and very different. Francis
has qualities that you would not usually associate with heroes, he is
quiet and timid and he also stood by and let his girlfriend get raped.
Larry LaSalle on the other hand, has one major flaw, that he raped
Nicole Renard and might have even raped more young girls when he was
in Hollywood.

Francis and Larry both went into the war with different intentions.
Larry went into the war intending to save lives, and to further
increase the respect everybody has for him back home in French town.
Francis on the other hand went into the war to get killed, because he
did not want to disgrace his family by committing suicide at home.
Although they both went into the war with different intentions, they
both came out as heroes, Larry saves his companions and earned a
silver star for his bravery, "LaSalle captures enemy, saves fellow
marines"

Francis tries to communicate suicide by jumping on a grenade, but
horribly disfigured his face, and comes home the hero who put his life
before other soldiers.

At home before the war, Francis and Larry are also again very
different. Francis lacks confidence and is very quiet and timid. Larry
has lots of qualities you would usual associate with a hero,
confident, brave, entertaining, multi skilled and a rapist.

Through these events we learnt that there is no specific definition of
a hero.

Francis introduces himself in a very direct and shocking way. He
builds a very clear and disturbing image of his face.

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The Book Heroes Essay

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He goes into
personal details because of his lack of confidence, "bits of dangling
flesh."

At the start of the book Larry was like a role model to Francis,
Slowly building his confidence involving him in rec.center, "come and
join in" Francis became the table tennis champion all thanks to Larry
who lets him win the final. As the book goes on Francis's illusion of
Larry is shattered when he rapes Nicole.

Near the end of the book when Francis confronts Larry with a gun this
shows how Francis's confidence how built through the book. By the end
of the book when Francis meets Nicole for the last time he has learned
that life goes on and that he should now forget about Nicole and move
on with his life. Nicole has now forgave him and now his conscience is
finally free, "I'm sorry for what I did to you that day."

Francis now wants to forget about the war because of his terrible
experiences, "I want to forget what happened there in France but every
night the recitation begins" here he is telling us that he finds it
hard to forget. He contrasts between silence and little noises, "The
village is too still, too quiet, 'Jesus' Sonny Orlandi mutters" he is
telling us that because of the silence all the little noises are mad
much more important and meaningful.

Francis is very brave facing his disfigurement, he speaks as if in a
conversation because he talks about the subject in a more
light-hearted manner rather then being serious about it, "I haven't
always worn a scarf and the bandage" this shows he is being very open
about the subject. Francis is treated differently by other people, "A
small boy holding his mothers hand suddenly cried out and pushed his
face into his mothers skirt" the writer uses verbs to show this. He
also tries to put across the point that he is a normal person trapped
in a disfigured body. Near the end of the paragraph the mood suddenly
changes "Until the day I went on a three-day pass in London" the
writer uses this sentence very effectively to turn the mood around
from cheerful to a more sorrowful mood. Francis later on accepts
Nicole's forgiveness. Francis accepts her forgiveness then lets her
go, " 'I've got to go,' I say. My gift to her" here the writer is
using very short sentences to make more impact at this important time
in the book. There is also another important moment, "She reaches up
and presses her lips against the damp scarf that covers my own lips"
this is important because this is the first contact Francis has had
with anyone. The writer makes you work to understand, "I see it in her
eyes" the writer is not telling you what she said but makes you think
to get the answer.

There is a big contrast between past and present in the book, In the
past everything is looking good for Francis because he has his whole
life ahead of him, and he is also friends with Larry. Whereas in the
present Francis now hates life and also hates Larry. For the big
climax in the middle of the story, the writer uses very long sentences
broken up with lots of commas, "Hearing the small sounds, then a
sudden gasp and the needle scratching the record as it went round and
round, and I couldn't breathe, my body rigid, my lungs burning…." the
writer uses this type of sentence so the rape can be explained in
detail. Rhetorical questions are used, "What were they doing?" this
shows us that Francis doesn't want to believe what's going on. The
writer uses sounds because Francis can't actually see what's going on,
"gasp", "moaning", "whimpering" all these words help build a picture
in Francis's head. The end of the story is significant to the new
mood, at the train station, showing the Francis is moving on with his
life just like the train is moving on, this suggests a hopeful future.

Cormier's message about heroism is that there is no one single
definition of a hero, a hero could have many different good qualities,
but also that nobody is perfect and where there is good qualities
there always comes bad. No matter how many lives people have saved or
people some one has helped, it is where you draw the line from minor
bad qualities and major to deuterium if some is a hero or not.
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