Explore the theme of Heroism in Heroes by Robert Cormier Character Analysis

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How is the theme of heroism presented throughout the novel ‘Heroes’? The theme of heroism is discussed throughout the novel, ‘Heroes’, though at times it is more obvious than others; two main types of hero are presented through the characters, a war hero and an inspirational hero. Cormier set the novel during World War two however it was written after the war and inspired by the 50th anniversary of the D-day landings in 1994. Both main characters Francis and Larry are portrayed as war heroes as they receive Silver Stars due to their contribution and bravery in the war, “only the silver star is for heroism.” This quote proves the significance of the Silver Star amongst those who took part in the war efforts and showed that if these two characters owned one, they are popular, respected and honoured by those around them.

“The towns first big war hero,” Larry was described as a major idol by the people of the town except from Francis who never thought of Larry as other people did. The reader is exposed to the reason why in the first mentioning of Larry by Francis, “the man I am going to kill,” however why he says this is not explained until the rape scene with Nicole which is where most of the ideas in the book all come together and where the relationships between characters becomes clearer.

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Furthermore, the fact that they both were awarded with the Silver Star should have indicated that they were both heroes in their own right and that they deserved it. Despite this, Francis didn’t believe that he did and this is clearly shown throughout the story, “I am not the hero he thinks I am, not like the other veterans, here in the St Judes club.” The denial of Francis believing himself not to be a hero carries on with this quote after Enrico told him he was a big Silver Star hero. The reason why Francis thinks this is not discovered by the reader until after the three main scenes in the storyline: the rape of Nicole Renard, Francis almost committing suicide and when Francis is going to kill Larry. This provokes thought for the reader most of the way through the book, making them more curious to find out more about how Francis became a hero. The scrapbook by the strangler was another reason why Larry and Francis were hero-worshipped. Under the title of “Frenchtown Warriors” both of the heroes are shown to have played a major part in their town proving war heroes to their friends and family as well as their country and themselves.

The other type of hero discussed in the novel is an inspirational hero who Larry LaSalle is also perceived as; this is due to his role in the wreck centre. He was a hero in the eyes of the youths that attended the wreck centre as they looked up to him and thought of him as a role model. The way in which he did this was by encouraging the kids into doing activities that they would not have thought of pursuing therefore making them feel better about themselves. On the other hand, “lured awkward girls into ballet,” this shows a different side to Larry perhaps more threatening and manipulating, giving another view of Larry making the ready believe that he may have a different side to him.

Nevertheless, the way that the youths at the wreck centre see him, he is a hero and is also compared with a celebrity proving his heroism. One other character in the novel that shows characteristics of a hero is Nicole Renard, one of the youths at the wreck centre. “You weren’t to be blamed for what happened.” After the rape scene, when she and Francis come to a disagreement, she finally understands the situation and has the self-knowledge to be the bigger person and apologize to Francis after realising that he was not to blame. This quality is portrayed in a person who is shown to be a timid, vulnerable girl, a less obvious hero in the novel. Though throughout the storyline Francis is shown to have deep hatred for Larry LaSalle, towards the end as Francis is about to shoot Larry, he talks him out of it and eventually kills himself with the gun. Despite the bad blood between both characters, I believe that Larry wanted to kill himself instead of being killed by Francis so that Francis didn’t have to live with the guilt of taking Larry’s life, therefore was helping Francis. Cormier subliminally concludes the relationship between these two heroes for emphasis and make the storyline more interesting.

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Explore the theme of Heroism in Heroes by Robert Cormier Character Analysis. (2016, May 18). Retrieved from


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