Heroes is about Francis Cassavant, who goes to war in a suicide attempt and returns with no face on a mission to kill Larry LaSalle, who destroyed Francis’s childhood by rapping Francis’s love, Nicole Ranard.
At the beginning of chapter 11, Robert Cormier shows very clearly that the people of Frenchtown are very excited about Larry LaSalle coming home on leave from the war. He writes “a crowed gathered at Monument depot to greet his arrival”, even though it is a very “hot and humid afternoon”. This suggests that the crowed does not really care about the weather or their comfort and just to greet Larry LaSalle. As Larry gets off the train “we cheered as he stepped off the platform”. This makes Larry seem very charismatic. “Then he was among us and we surrounded him, craving him, embracing him, getting as close to him as possible”. The words “craving, embracing, getting as close as possible” imply that Larry is like a holy object that everybody wants.
When Larry gets off the train he acts as if there is nothing different about him but the people that see him see that he is not. “That touch of Fred Astaire still in his walk”. Suggest that he is the same but as you read on you see that he is not the same person “his slenderness walk was knife like now, lethal, his features sharper, nose and cheek-bones”. The words “knife like, lethal” suggest that Larry is now a completely different person; he is now harder, stronger person like a proper army man. But he tries to act as the same person as he was before.
All of the people there surround but out of the crowed the kids want to see he more than the adults “my hero from the war, Joey LeBlanc called out” this shows us that all of the kids want to see him, but out of all the children Francis is the one that is impatient to see him because Cormier writes “I place a foot on the rail, hoping to feel the slight trembling that would announce the trains approach” this suggest that Francis is most impatient of them all.
As it is the children that are the ones that want to see Larry and that Cormier has not said anything about the parents or any adults. This makes us think that why there are not any adults. “His eyes moved to Nicole and I saw the rush of affection on his face” this is quit worrying because what adult looks at a teenaged girl and shows a “rush of affection” this makes the reader feel if they can trust Larry.
The first of Larry leaves begins with a ball given in his honour. Cormier makes the reader feel uneasy in several ways. First by making Nicole say to Francis “stay close to me” this makes us wonder why Nicole wants Francis to “stay close” and she has never said that to him before, is Nicole scared? Another way Cormier makes us feel uneasy is by telling us that Larry is undressing himself “Larry rolling up the sleeves of his shirt, removing the medals and ribbons” telling us that he is “removing his ribbons” makes us feel uneasy because why would a hero undress on the first night. Also why isn’t he going to rape Nicole still being a hero? By removing his medals and ribbons he thinks that he will become a normal person and no longer be a hero and it won’t matter if he does what he is going to do. Cormier also makes the reader uneasy by writing “find dancing in the darkness, he said” this song title “dancing in the darkness” makes the reader feel as if Larry is trying to set the scene because he rapes Nicole in the darkness. As soon as Nicole goes to find the CD Larry tells Francis “time to go home Francis” This shows us that Larry does not want Francis to be there and also because he tells Francis to go after Nicole goes to get the CD shows us that Larry does not want Nicole to know that he told Francis to go. When Larry tells Francis to leave it is almost as if Larry is trying to say his feelings. “Larry placed his arm around my shoulder, time to go home Francis, he said you look tired… it’s been a long day” it is almost as if he is giving a command in discreet. Also Larry says that just Nicole and he want a dance alone. “Nicole and I are going to have one last dance he said, just her and me alone. It’s important Francis.” But why can’t he dance with Francis looking? This question makes us feel uneasy.
Francis does not do exactly what Larry asks; instead he stands outside the door and witnesses the whole thing. The reason why Francis does not leave is because in chapter 2 Francis says silently to Nicole “I pledge my love and loyalty for ever” meaning that he will never let anything happen to her. Also in chapter 11 when the snake dance was happening Francis says to Nicole “I will never leave you” so if Francis left he would have betrayed Nicole.
When Larry rapes Nicole, Francis cant see anything but can hear everything. “I couldn’t breathe my body rigid, my lungs burning.” The words “burning, rigid” suggest that Francis is being punished with pain for betraying Nicole and not helping her.
When Nicole gets out and Francis sees her for the first time, Nicole has got “eyes flashed black” full of anger and hate.
Cormier never allows Francis to say what has happened because Francis wants to believe that what just happened never did and that Nicole is safe. Also he can’t believe that a man that everybody loves did what he did.