The use of language in Heroes

Robert Cormier uses a wide variety of different linguistic devices (language techniques) in Heroes. As the novel relies on flashbacks, there is a constant change of tense from present to past. The novel is told through Francis’ eyes, so it is a first person narrative. Although Cormier does include dialogue between his characters, it is only used at key points in the story when the reader is allowed to see people as they really are, not just how Francis sees them. Of course, the reader has to trust Francis’ retelling of these conversations!

The different techniques used in Heroes can be categorised as follows:

  • subject-themed vocabulary – religious; military; romantic;
  • short phrases/long sentences
  • metaphor
  • simile
  • pathetic fallacy
  • dark humour
  • italics
  • foreshadowing
  • irony

When analysing the use of language in Heroes, you should concentrate on what is written; how it is written and the effect this has on the reader.