Francais Cassavant in Heroes and Other Characters

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‘Heroes’ is a novel which is full of tension and suspense. It is also a novel which has important things to say about the pressures that young people have to deal with as part and parcel of growing up. In ‘Heroes’ we see the world through the eyes of Francis Cassavant, who having earned a silver star in battle returns home in hiding, living a frugal and lonely life, waiting only for the opportunity to kill his childhood mentor and hero Larry Lasalle. As readers we are confused and intrigued and need to understand the reasons for his injuries and also to understand why he is hell bent on revenge. The structure of the novel ensures that although questions are answered, they simply lead to further questions until the climax of the novel, when there is a dramatic revelation which makes us examine everything that we have learnt previously. Cormier uses a number of techniques in order to achieve this drama and tension for example; flashbacks, foreshadowing and gradual revelation.

‘Heroes’ has a first person narrator – Francis Cassavant. The story is told through a mixture of memories and flashbacks. This means that the reader is continually moving between present and past and piecing together information in order to understand why the three principle characters think and behave as they do. A good example is the way in which we come to understand why Francis wants revenge on Larry- which we learn in chapter 1. Our introduction to Larry in chapter 4 is positive – he is described as being glamorous ‘ a smile that revealed dazzling movie star teeth’; accomplished ‘ he hit home runs’, ‘he was also a dancer’. This inevitably creates intrigue because we cannot find an explanation for why Larry would now be Francis’ enemy. This continues in a series of flashbacks. Each flashback reveals something else which is attractive and appealing about Larry. We learn that he empowered Francis by developing his skills at table tennis; we learn that he unselfishly let Francis’ win a key...
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