no face.He describes his terrible injuries and says that they have made his life difficult because he has trouble breathing and swallowing. His voice has also changed, becoming hoarse and deep.
plenty of moneybecause he did not spend his army pay while he was
in battle in France and then in the hospitals.He keeps his money in cash, in a duffel bag which he carries everywhere with him. He no longer has any friends and is extremely lonely.
her tips paid for my ten-cent movie tickets at the Plymouth on Saturday afternoons.She does not recognise him behind his disguise and calls him a
poor boy. However, she insists that he pays his rent in advance, perhaps not trusting him because of his appearance.
finally, I pray for Larry Lasalle.He adds that this is
the man I am going to kill.As a result of his religious upbringing, Francis also carries a lot of guilt with him.
like a sentry on lonely guard duty.He feels that there is
a connectionbetween them, and as they grow older, Francis’ feelings change from those of a child to those of a teenager. He tells her that he loves to watch her dance, and she replies that she feels the same about watching him play table tennis. On the day of Francis’ big tournament, he keeps looking up to see whether Nicole is watching him. She is, and he says that he saw
her eyes on me, shining for me.
jealousy streaked through me as Larry LaSalle tossed her in the air, letting her fly,and later, when Nicole invites Francis to a party at her house, saying that Larry had approved of the idea, Francis feels
the instant agony of jealousy.
a knight at her feet.Not only does he compare her with a beautiful lady from the Middle Ages, but also with a saint -
the pale purity of her face reminded me of the statue of St Thérèsein the church. Unrealistically, he thinks that he will be able to protect her from any evil.
I remember what I said to Nicole about not knowing who the real heroes are and I think of my old platoon.
The writer of Heroes, Robert Cormier, said that he was concerned about the problems which young people had to deal with in modern society. After the bombing of Pearl Harbour there was a great feeling of patriotism across America, and young men and women rushed to join the services to do their bit for their country.
Through Francis, the reader is able to see how a young man, approaching adulthood, had to cope with the pressures of going to fight in a faraway war, where he witnessed horrific things, then faced even more problems when he returned. Many men came back with physical injuries, like Francis, and they were helped, but there was very little support for people with psychological problems, so they were left to deal with these problems by themselves.
Many young men had interrupted their education to go and fight, so the US government introduced the GI Bill which funded ex-servicemen to go back to college. It seems that there was more emphasis on the economy than on individuals’ mental welfare.
Robert Cormier uses the film reels which Francis and his friends watch at the cinema, as well as Francis’ flashbacks, to allow the reader to experience the horrors of the war second-hand. This is exactly how the real inhabitants of small towns across the United States would have experienced the war.
I feel like a spy in disguise as I walk the streets of Frenchtown, hidden behind the scarf and the bandage, making my way through the chilled morning, pausing on the corners, watching the people come and go, and then moving on when I feel their eyes on me filled with either pity or curiosity.
What does this extract tell us about how Francis feels, and how he is seen by others?
In this passage it is clear that Francis feels alone and cut off from the community of Frenchtown. He is physically different from other people because of his injuries and the necessary disguise, but he is also psychologically different because he has experienced the horrors of war, represented by his terrible injuries.
like a spy because he is on a secret mission to kill Larry LaSalle and he is lurking on the streets trying to gather information about him. The fact that the morning is
chilled is significant.
The use of pathetic fallacy suggests that Francis is frozen out of normal, human life. People look at him with pity, which shows that they feel sorry for the returning soldiers who are injured, but also they feel curiosity, wanting to see those injuries behind the disguise.