Heroes – Robert Cormier - Royton and Crompton School

Heroes – Robert Cormier
Key Quotations
Chapter 1 – page 1
“My name is Francis Joseph Cassavant
and I have just returned to Frenchtown
in Monument and the war is over and I
have no face.”
 Establishes the setting
 Introduces narrator in first person
 Surprising statement creates mystery
Chapter 1 – page 1
“Oh, I have eyes… but no ears to speak
of, just bits of dangling flesh. But that’s
fine, like Dr Abrams says… He was
joking, of course.”
 Conversational style of address
 Creates a close bond between the
reader and the narrator
Chapter 1 – page 1
Description of Francis’s physical injuries.
 Described in a matter-of-fact way
 Creates sympathy in the reader – but
does Francis expect this?
 Makes the reader want to know why he
looks like this
Chapter 1 – page 2
“But not having much success” and “I
don’t blame them”
 Francis has low self-esteem and lacks
 Presented as single-sentence
paragraphs to draw attention to them
Chapter 1 – page 3
“This was proof that the scarf and the
bandage were working in two ways: not
only to hide the ugliness of what used
to be my face, but to hide my identity.”
 Why is Francis trying to hide?
 Creates mystery
 Francis believes he is ugly
Chapter 1 – page 4
“I thought of Nicole Renard, realizing I
had not thought of her for, oh, maybe
two hours.”
 First mention of Nicole
 Suggests Francis may be in love with
 Makes the reader ask questions
Chapter 1 – page 4
“She had always been generous when I
did her errands and her tips paid for my
ten-cent movie tickets at the Plymouth
on Saturday afternoons.”
 Francis knows Mrs Belander from before
the war
 In a first reading, the Plymouth seems
Chapter 1 – page 4
“At that moment, I knew that I was really
anonymous, that I wasn’t Francis
Joseph Cassavant anymore but a tenant
in Frenchtown.”
 Why does Francis want to be
 Contrasts with the opening sentence
Chapter 1 – page 5
“I was home again in Frenchtown. I
thought of the gun hidden away in my
duffel bag and knew that my mission
was about to begin.”
 What is Francis’s mission?
 Why does he have a gun?
 Creates mystery and suspense
Chapter 1 – page 5
Francis briefly mentions his dead father
and mother, and younger brother.
 This is one of the few times they are
mentioned in the novel
 Why doesn’t Francis talk about them
more often?
 He wants to forget the past
Chapter 1 – page 6
“Then I am filled with guilt and shame,
knowing that I just prayed for the man
I am going to kill.”
 Francis frequently feels guilt and shame
 This section emphasises his religious
 Statement creates dramatic tension
Chapter 1 – page 7
“‘You’re a big hero,’ he said. ‘A Silver Star
 This is the first reference to being a
hero in the novel
 The reader wonders why Francis has
been awarded the Silver Star
Chapter 1 – page 7
“I am not a hero, of course, and I turn
away in disgust.”
 Francis has low self-esteem
 Why doesn’t he believe he is a hero?
 Why does he say “of course”?
Chapter 1 – page 7
“And even though I am home from the
war, I wonder if I will ever see her
The chapter ends on a cliff-hanger
Where is Nicole?
What happened to her?
Chapter 2 – page 8
“The most beautiful girl I had ever seen…
The pale purity of her face reminded
me of the statue of St Therese… I
silently pledged her my love and loyalty
 Francis’s first description of Nicole
shows how he reveres her
 Over-exaggeration
Chapter 2 – page 9
“Was the look that passed between us
that first day a wish of my
 Emphasises Francis’s lack of self-esteem
 Is this typical teenage angst?
Chapter 2 – page 12
“I never knew love could be so
 This is ironic
 For Francis, his love for Nicole does
become agony
Chapter 2 – page 12
“I wondered whether she’d been waving
at Joey LeBlanc or me.”
 Again, Francis lacks the confidence to
believe that Nicole could be attracted to
 Is he trying to make us feel sorry for
Chapter 3 – page 13
“I feel like a spy in disguise as I walk the
streets of Frenchtown.”
 This is a simile
 It is an effective image to begin this
chapter with as it reminds us of
Francis’s mission
Chapter 3 – page 14
“The Great Gatsby which I’d heard was a great
novel… We drank vin rouge like the heroes in
a Hemingway novel.”
 Francis refers to classic American Literature
 This is the first mention of his interest in
reading and writing
 Suggests an autobiographical link with
Chapter 3 – page 15
“All kinds of rumours about her Francis.
She began to stay at home… She was
like… a hermit.”
Adds to the mystery of Nicole Renard
Shows that Francis did end up goingout with Nicole but that something must
have gone wrong
Chapter 3 – page 15
Francis explains that he joined the army
at fifteen.
 This makes the reader ask lots of
questions e.g.
Why did he enlist?
Why wasn’t he missed?
How did he feel about this?
Chapter 3 – page 16
“I can keep going on a minimum of food
because I lost my appetite somewhere
in France and eat now only to sustain
myself for a while.”
 Suggests that Francis has given up
 Doesn’t reveal why he has no appetite
Chapter 3 – pages 18 – 20
Francis dreams about the war in France
 This suggests Cormier’s attitude to war
and what is expected of soldiers.
 It contrasts with the romantic and
heroic descriptions we might expect
 It is a dramatic and horrifying
Chapter 3 – page 18
“Not like the war movies at the Plymouth,
nobody displaying heroics or bravado”
 Francis repeats the idea that he wasn’t
heroic or brave
Chapter 3 – page 19
“I explode into wakefulness… my bursts of
gunfire killed the soldiers quickly, no
exploding head, no body cut in two… I saw
how young they were, boys with apple
cheeks, too young to shave. Like me.”
 Francis explains that his dream is more
graphic than reality
 He creates a link between himself and the
German soldiers
Chapter 3 – page 20
“The next day, the grenade blows my face
 We finally find out what happened to
Francis, however he never tells us this
part of the story – we only find out
from others later on.
 Made dramatic by being a singlesentence paragraph in simple language
Chapter 3 – page 20
“Ignore it all, I tell myself, and count your
 Francis is being ironic
 He has no pity for himself
 He is committed to carrying-out his
Chapter 4 – page 21
“I wanted to be like them, these heroes,
fighting the Japs and the Germans,
going off to battles on land and sea.”
 Francis used to have a romantic idea
about war
 Later, he learns that they weren’t
heroes they “were only there” (page
Chapter 4 – page 22
“Big Boy… is now sleek and hard with no
soft edges.”
 The war has transformed Big Boy
 There are many ‘then and now’
comparisons within the novel showing
the effect of war
Chapter 4 – page 24
“I am not the hero he thinks I am, not
like the other veterans here in the St
Jude’s Club”
 Again, Francis says that he is not a hero
 He compares himself with everybody
else for a negative effect
 Francis feels that he doesn’t belong
Chapter 5 – page 25
“It’s a bad luck place, people had said.
A place of doom, others added”
 The first description of the Wreck
Centre suggests the tragedy that will
take place there.
 The words are highlighted by being in
single-sentence paragraphs.
Chapter 5 – page 26
“The men worked frantically… but the
work was haphazard.”
 The Rec Centre was part of the ‘New
Deal’ programme during the Depression
 Unemployed people were paid by the
Government to work on projects like
Chapter 5 – page 27
“A tall slim man stepped into view, a lock
of blond hair tumbling over his
forehead, a smile that revealed dazzling
movie-star teeth.”
 First description of Larry LaSalle
 Emphasises his good looks
 Francis clearly admires him
Chapter 5 – page 27
“He was most of all a teacher.”
 As a teacher, Larry has a responsibility
to all the children in his care
 Larry is also described as an athlete and
a dancer – everyone in Frenchtown is
impressed by these qualities
 Francis’s language shows his admiration
for Larry
Chapter 5 – page 28
“I had never been a hero in such places,
too short and uncoordinated for
baseball and too timid to join the
 Another reference to being a hero
 Francis focuses on the negative
 ‘Timid’ suggests he is afraid
Chapter 5 – page 28
“I had no best friend.”
 Other than Nicole and Larry, Francis
never really connects with anyone else
 As a child he is a loner, which
emphasises the tragedy of Nicole’s
rejection and Larry’s betrayal
Chapter 5 – page 28
“I discovered Ernest Hemingway and Tom
Wolfe and Jack London and rushed
home with an armful of books.”
 Francis shows his interest in literature
 These writers are very masculine – their
books are about adventure
 Reading separates Francis from other
Chapter 5 – page 28
“Home was now the tenement where I
lived with my Uncle Louis… He took me
in after my father died.”
 This is striking because Francis doesn’t
describe these events
 He chooses to forget memories from
the past that might distract him from
his mission
Chapter 5 – page 29
“He tamed the notorious schoolyard
‘But he still beats kids up in the
schoolyard,’ Joey LeBlanc observed.”
 Francis recounts Larry’s achievements
but he suggests that they were only
cosmetic (on the surface)
Chapter 5 – page 29
“There were dark hints that he had ‘gotten into
trouble’ in New York City… The air of mystery
that surrounded him added to his glamour.”
 This is the first hint that something is wrong
with Larry in the flashback narrative
 Francis uses the language of celebrity to
characterise Larry’s appeal to the people
Chapter 5 – page 30
“She seemed to exist in a world of her
own, like a rare specimen, bird-like and
graceful, separate from the rest of the
 Francis describes Nicole using a simile
 Again, he suggests that she is unique
 She is separate – just like him
Chapter 5 – page 30
“Joey LeBlanc angered me when he said
he could feel that old doom hanging
over the place.”
 Loops-back to the beginning of the
 Reinforces the idea that something
terrible is going to happen
Chapter 6 – page 31
“I watch for Larry LaSalle, for that Fred
Astaire strut and the movie-star smile.”
 In the present, Francis’s description of
Larry has become an insult
 He sees him as fake and insincere
Chapter 6 – page 31
“This is the pause between one life and
 Francis is talking about Arthur, Armand
and Joe, but he could be talking about
 His life has paused since he returned –
he will only move on once his mission is
Chapter 6 – page 32
Francis describes a pause in the
conversation and the war injuries of his
 Everybody seems to be getting on with
their lives, but Francis recognises that
they are still scarred by their injuries
e.g. “there’s a sudden flash of what –
terror? bad dreams?”
Chapter 6 – page 34
“‘You deserve to be recognised, Francis,’
he whispers. ‘You’re a goddam hero…
How many men were you willing to die
 Arthur reveals a secret that Francis has
not told us yet – why don’t we know?
 Why is Francis ashamed of his actions?
Chapter 7 – page 36
“He found me sitting alone on the back
steps of the Wreck Centre, looking at
nothing in particular. There was
nothing in my world that was worth
looking at.”
 Emphasises Francis’s isolation
 Follows the death of his father
Chapter 7 – page 39
“Jealousy streaked through me as Larry
LaSalle tossed her in the air… pressing
her close, their faces almost touching,
their lips only an inch or so from a kiss.”
 Already, there is jealousy in the
triangular relationship between Larry,
Francis and Nicole
 Who is Francis jealous of?
Chapter 7 – page 39
“His eyes shone with admiration when I
made an unusual shot.”
 Francis seeks Larry’s admiration
 Table tennis represents the first thing
that Francis has ever enjoyed, apart
from reading
Chapter 7 – page 39
“I’m not supposed to play favourites,
Francis, but you and Nicole are special
to me.”
 Larry makes it clear that there is a
special bond between the three
 He shouldn’t have favourites but he
breaks this ‘rule’
Chapter 7 – page 40
“For the first time in my life, a tide of
confidence swept through me.”
 Nicole has said she likes to watch
Francis play
 Francis highlights this moment by the
use of paragraphs
Chapter 7 – page 40 & 41
“Her words filled me with both delight and
agony, delight at her invitation and the
instant agony of jealousy, the way she had
casually said his name… ‘Larry’, spoken offhand as if they were more than teacher and
 Why does Francis feel jealous?
 Is he jealous because Nicole is close to Larry?
 Is he jealous Larry likes Nicole?
Chapter 7 – page 45
“My eyes sought Nicole, found her joyous face,
hands joined together, as if in prayer, eyes
half-closed as if making herself an offering to
 Francis gains confidence from beating Larry
 Again he describes Nicole using religious
imagery – he makes her into an idol
Chapter 8 – page 46
“I want to talk about it, my war… And
your war, too, Francis. Everybody’s war.
The war nobody wants to talk about.”
 Arthur Rivier shows that people are
trying to ignore the effects of the war
 They are not addressing their problems
– instead they hide their emotions
Chapter 8 – page 46 & 47
“The scared war… God, but I was scared,
 Arthur remembers the terror he felt
 He describes a war that Francis can
relate to – Francis was also terrified
Chapter 8 – page 47
“No heroes in that scrap-book, Francis. Only
us, the boys of Frenchtown. Scared and
homesick and cramps in the stomach and
vomit. Nothing glamorous like the write-ups
in the papers or the newsreels. We weren’t
heroes. We were only there…”
 This shows Cormier’s attitude to war
 Arthur describes the reality of war in graphic
Chapter 9 – page 49
“A thrill went through me – a wartime
secret in Frenchtown! Should we be on
the look-out for spies?”
 As a child, Francis shares the excited
romantic anticipation of the war
 In reality, mainland America was very
Chapter 9 – page 50
“We cheered our fighting forces and
booed and hissed when Hitler came on
the screen, his arm always raised in
that hated salute.”
 The newsreel footage becomes an
 Civilians saw the war as dramatic and
Chapter 9 – page 51
“‘How about writing books? Didn’t you
win Sister Mathilde’s medal for
‘Oh, I could never write a book.’
‘I think you could.’
 Similar to Cormier’s own life
 Nicole has confidence in Francis
 This will be returned to at the end
Chapter 9 – page 53
“We were stunned to suddenly see Larry
LaSalle featured in the Movietone News.
He was unshaven, face gaunt and
drawn, eyes sunk deep into their
 Larry is the first ‘victim’ of the war
 The war is having a physical effect on
Chapter 10 – page 55
“When I study myself in the mirror, I
don’t see me any more but a stranger
slowly taking shape.”
 The war has changed Francis as a
 He is gradually becoming someone new
 This transformation symbolises what
has happened to Francis
Chapter 10 – page 55
“The truth is that I don’t care whether I
heal or not. Because I know that it
doesn’t matter.”
 Francis has lost all hope
 He is not asking the reader for
sympathy – he no longer cares about
Chapter 10 – page 55
“I knew what he meant by disposal
because I had planned my own method
after my mission was completed.”
 Francis implies that after killing Larry he
will kill himself
 He appears to be committed to ending
his own life
Chapter 11 – pages 57 – 64
This is the turning point in the novel
Francis deliberately emphasises Larry’s
heroic qualities in order to show how
evil his actions are at the end of the
Dramatic tension is built up throughout
the chapter
Chapter 11 – page 57
“Lt. Lawrence LaSalle… holder of the
Silver Star for acts of heroism… was
coming home on furlough.”
 The introduction to this chapter builds
up anticipation
 Larry’s heroism will contrast with his
actions at the end
Chapter 11 – page 57
“A moment later, Larry LaSalle stood on the
platform, resplendent in the green uniform…
He smiled, the old movie-star smile.”
 Larry is described like the typical movie war
 Movie heroes are only actors, however, and
their performance is a fraud
 Reference to “movie-star smile” reminds us
he is a fake
Chapter 11 – page 58
“Fred Astaire still in his walk but
something different about him. His
slenderness was knife-like now, lethal.”
 The movie-star image is contrasted with
one of violence
 Larry is a killer and Francis implies he is
Chapter 11 – page 58
“Larry was our hero, yes, but he had
been a hero to us long before he went
to war.”
 Francis reminds us that Larry is admired
by everyone in Frenchtown
 This helps to reinforce his unforgivable
behaviour towards Nicole later in the
Chapter 11 – page 58
“His eyes moved to Nicole and I saw the
rush of affection on his face.”
 There is a sexual chemistry between
Nicole and Larry
 Does Francis misinterpret Larry’s
feelings towards Nicole?
Chapter 11 – page 59
“‘I’m glad to be home, even if it’s only for
a little while. And most of all I want to
be with the Wreck Centre gang.’
Once again he made us feel special.”
 There is something suspicious about the
fact that a grown-up wants to spend his
time with children
 Francis is providing clues for the reader
Chapter 11 – page 60
“‘I’ll buy you one like that someday,’ I
whispered in her ear, my voice trembling a
bit, betraying my love for her.
Squeezing my hand, she leaned towards me
and her warm cheek rested against mine.”
 Francis is describing the perfect evening
between them both
 He indicates that he wants to be with her
 This emphasises the tragedy of this chapter
Chapter 11 – page 60
“Once, Nicole whispered: ‘Stay close to me,’ as
we resumed our parade… a thrill went
through me like a jolt as I pulled her close
and said: ‘I’ll never leave you.’
 This is a lie – Francis leaves her at the worst
possible moment
 As Francis is telling the story, he must realise
how ironic this promise is – it helps to build
dramatic tension
Chapter 11 – pages 61 – 62
Quotations that create dramatic tension:
 “The day had not been long enough for me.”
(61) = doubt
 “His face was flushed and his eyes shone with
excitement.” (62) = sexual tension
 “The words sounded false as I said them and
I realised they were Larry’s words, not mine.”
(62) = Larry is in control of Francis
Chapter 11 – page 62
“I really wanted to stay, wanted to be a
part of them.”
 Reminds us that Francis has never been
intimate with anyone
 Suggests his suspicion that something is
 Echoed by Nicole, who doesn’t want
him to leave
Chapter 11 – page 63
“I made my way towards the front door but
drew back, didn’t leave, stationed myself in
the small foyer… miserable in my aloneness,
wanting to be dancing with her, the way Larry
LaSalle was dancing with her, holding her
 “Miserable in my aloneness” – sums up
Francis throughout the novel
 He knows something is wrong but is impotent
to do anything
Chapter 11 – page 63
“I heard a sigh and a sound that could
have been a moan and a rustle of
 This is Francis’s description of the rape
 Did he know what was happening?
 How much does the reader have to
guess about what has happened?
Chapter 11 – page 63
“How long did I stand there listening?... I
couldn’t breathe, my body rigid, my lungs
burning… What were they doing?”
 Francis’s description suggests he knows what
they were doing
 Rhetorical questions suggest he knows the
answer but still can’t face the truth
 He is terrified of the truth because he has
done nothing and still feels guilty
Chapter 11 – page 63
“But I knew what they were doing – the
thought streaked through my mind so
fast it could hardly be acknowledged.”
 Francis is forced to admit the truth to
the reader
 He confesses to us – is the whole novel
a confession of his sin before he kills
Chapter 11 – page 64
“I recognised in her eyes what I could not
deny: betrayal. My betrayal of her in
her eyes.”
 Francis feels ashamed because he did
not stop Larry from hurting Nicole
 He believes that she blames him
 Repetition emphasises this
Chapter 11 – page 64
“It’s amazing that the heart makes no
noise when it cracks.”
 The chapter ends with a dramatic
 This contrasts with how Francis had
been feeling throughout the chapter
Chapter 12 – page 65
“For three days, I haunted Sixth Street at
all hours.”
 The use of the word ‘haunted’ suggests
that Francis is like a ghost
 Nicole’s feelings for him have died
Chapter 12 – page 65
“A kind of bogey man who does terrible things
like letting his girl get hurt and attacked,
purposely avoiding in my mind that terrible
word: what had actually happened to her.”
 Francis feels guilt and blames himself
 He chooses to ignore that which causes him
most pain – he does this elsewhere in the
Chapter 12 – page 66
“I could not sleep at night… glad for the
heat that was so relentless, as if it was
part of the hell that I had earned.”
 Francis blames himself rather than Larry
 He punishes himself, using religious
imagery of suffering and purgatory
Chapter 12 – page 67
“I could only stand there mute, as if all
my sins had been revealed and there
was no forgiveness for them.”
 Francis is using Catholic imagery
 He is punishing himself, taking all the
blame away from Larry
 He then turns to the church for help
Chapter 12 – page 68
“Saying a prayer before committing the
worst sin of all: despair… I thought of
my mother and father – could I
disgrace their name this way?”
 Suicide is absolutely the worst sin that a
Catholic can commit
 Francis is ashamed at the thought of
letting his parents down
Chapter 12 – page 69
“I could not die that way. Soldiers were dying
with honour on battlefields all over the world.
Noble deaths. The deaths of heroes. How
could I die by leaping from a steeple?”
 The theme of heroism returns again
 Is Francis trying to be a hero or is he trying
to die?
 Notice the use of sentence structures for
Chapter 13 – page 70
“I always thought I would spot Larry LaSalle on
Third Street, would see him striding along like
Fred Astaire, bestowing that movie-star smile
on people that he met.”
 Francis reminds us of how fake Larry is by
repeating the movie-star image
 There is no sense of admiration in the way he
says this
Chapter 13 – page 71
“I have heard enough.
Larry LaSalle has returned to
And I know where to find him.”
 Use of single-sentence paragraphs
 Use of present tense
 Builds up dramatic tension
Chapter 14 – page 72
“The gun is like a tumour on my thigh.”
 Simile
 Shows that Francis feels what he is
about to do is wrong
Chapter 14 – page 72
“I am calm. My heartbeat is normal. What’s
one more death after the others in the
villages and fields of France? The innocent
faces of the two young Germans appear in
my mind. But Larry LaSalle is not innocent.”
 Suggests Francis has killed more people than
we know about
 Rhetorical question suggests his guilt
Chapter 14 – page 73
“He is pale, eyes sunk into the sockets like in
the newsreel at the Plymouth, and he seems
fragile now, as if caught in an old photograph
that has faded and yellowed with age.”
 Larry has changed physically
 He is like the other war veterans in that the
war has had a major impact on his
 Does Francis feel pity for him?
Chapter 14 – page 73
“‘Don’t be afraid to show your face,
Francis. That face, what’s left of it, is a
symbol of how brave you were, the
Silver Star you earned…’”
 Larry is still trying to teach Francis
 Is Larry’s physical appearance a symbol
of what he has done?
Chapter 14 – page 74
“A deep sadness settles on me, as if
winter has invaded my bones.”
 Simile
 Winter is a dead time – to what extent
is Francis dead inside?
 He is saddened by remembering the
past and the Wreck Centre
Chapter 14 – page 74
“Why did it have to turn out like this?
Maybe your sins catching up with you.”
The italics represent Francis’s inner
They show what he wants to say but
can’t say
Chapter 14 – page 75
“I had always wanted to be a hero, like Larry
LaSalle, but had been a fake all along. And
now I am tired of the deception and have to
rid myself of the fakery.”
 Francis views his actions as a fraud – he is
not really a hero
 This quote shows that he has realised Larry is
a fake
 Francis confesses to Larry that he is not a
Chapter 14 – page 75
“‘I went to war because I wanted to die…
I was too much of a coward to kill
myself. In the war, in a battle, I figured
it would be easy to get killed.”
 Francis’s explanation twists his feelings
into self-accusation – he believes
himself a coward despite everything he
has done
Chapter 14 – page 76
“‘Oh, Francis. You’re too hard on yourself. You
didn’t do anything you should feel guilty
about, that should make you want to die.
You couldn’t have stopped me, anyway,
Francis. You were just a child.’”
 Larry tries to take the blame away from
 He tries to make him realise it wasn’t his fault
 Does Larry feel guilty?
Chapter 14 – page 76
“‘The sweet young things, Francis. Even
their heat is sweet…’
Sweet young things. Had he done it
 It is suggested that Larry has done this
 Larry sees the girls as treats or gifts –
he tries to excuse his behaviour
Chapter 14 – page 77
“‘Does that one sin of mine wipe away all
the good things?’”
 The most important quote in the novel!
The nature of heroes is the main theme
in the novel
 Cormier leaves it up to the reader to
decide, but clearly the answer is yes
 Francis avoids answering the question
Chapter 14 – page 77
“‘If I want one thing, it would be to have
you look at me again the way you did at
the Wreck Centre. When I was the big
hero you say I was.’”
 Why does Larry care what Francis
Chapter 14 – page 78
“‘Let me tell you one thing before you go,
Francis. You would have fallen on that
grenade, anyway. All your instincts would
have made you sacrifice yourself for your
Still trying to make me better than I am.”
 Larry recognises that Francis is a true hero
 Typically Francis rejects this – he has no faith
in himself
Chapter 14 – page 79
“The sound of a pistol shot cracks the air. My
hand is on the doorknob. The sound from
this distance is almost like a ping-pong ball
striking the table.”
 This simile is used in an ironic way – table
tennis made Francis feel special and is
connected to Larry
 Now he calls it ‘ping-pong’ – a game not a
sport not requiring any skill (page 37)
Chapter 15 – page 80
“The sound of the doorbell echoes unendingly
through the long corridors of the convent.
Waiting, I step back and look at the faded
red-brick exterior of the building and the
black forbidding shutters at the windows.”
 Creates mystery – why is Francis here?
 Sense of exclusion – ‘echoes’, ‘forbidding’
 Change of tone from the drama of the
previous chapter
Chapter 15 – page 81
“‘Has she gone away to become a nun?’ I
ask. The possibility dashes my hopes of
ever seeing her again.
 Francis reveals his reasons for being
 This is the first time Francis has ever
expressed a sense of hope, but, as
usual, he takes a pessimistic view
Chapter 15 – page 82
“‘I hope your face heals soon, Francis’…
I wonder if it’s a special sin to lie to a
 Francis lies about his intentions
 He is obsessed with the idea of sin
Chapter 16 – page 83
“For one lightning moment, I don’t recognise
her… Now her hair is cut short and combed
straight and flat… Her cheek-bones are more
prominent and her eyes seem to be bigger, I
look at her as if studying a painting in a
 Nicole has been physically transformed by her
 Francis still sees her as a work of art
Chapter 16 – page 84
“‘This is nothing… It’s not as bad as it
looks…’ Still lying but not to a nun.”
 Francis differentiates between his lies,
showing his feelings about religion
 He implies that he has thought about
his “proper method of disposal”
(chapter 10)
Chapter 16 – page 84
“‘Did to me?’ What day?
‘I shouldn’t have said those things to
you that day… You weren’t to blame for
what happened’”
 Like Larry, Nicole tells Francis that it
wasn’t his fault
 Does Francis believe her?
Chapter 16 – page 85
“‘Don’t say it, Francis. I know what he
was. For a while there he made me
feel special. Made us all feel special.’”
 Describes Larry’s effect on the children
 Contrasts the public and private life of
Chapter 16 – page 85
“‘Are you going to write? I always
thought you’d be a writer.’
‘I don’t know.’ Which is the truth, for a
 Provides a biographical link with the
 Provides hope for Francis
Chapter 16 – page 85
“To see if maybe you could still be my
girl. Which would maybe change my
mind about the gun in my duffel bag.”
This is Francis’s hope – that he and
Nicole could still be together
How realistic is this hope
Francis’s inner thoughts shown by the
Chapter 16 – page 86
“‘Who was I going to tell...? He was a big
war hero.’”
 Again, Cormier challenges the idea of
what makes someone a hero
Chapter 16 – page 87
“‘When the doctor fixes up my face, I’ll send you a
‘Promise,’ I answer, although I know that I will never
keep that promise and she probably doesn’t expect
me to.”
 This is the last of the promises that are broken i.e.
what Francis promises Nicole in chapter 12
 It is another clue that Francis intends to kill himself.
Chapter 16 – page 88
“‘I don’t know what a hero is anymore, Nicole.’
I think of Larry LaSalle and his Silver Star.
And my own Silver Star, for an act of
‘Write about it Francis. Maybe you can find
the answer that way.’”
 The main question of the novel is ‘what is a
 Ironically, Francis does write about it – does
the novel provide any answers?
Chapter 17 – page 89
“I remember what I said to Nicole about not
remembering who the real heroes are. I
think of my old platoon… We were only
there… Who were not only there but who
stayed, did not run away, fought the good
 Francis recalls Arthur’s words
 Cormier considers what was asked of the
young soldiers and suggests Francis really is
a hero
Chapter 17 – page 89
“And didn’t receive a Silver Star. But heroes
anyway. The real heroes.
Maybe if I’m going to write as Nicole hopes I
will, I should write about them.”
 Is the book dedicated to the people Francis
considers real heroes?
 He sees his medal as a fraud – is it because
Larry won one as well as wasn’t a hero?
Chapter 17 – page 90
“Maybe I should…”
 Francis uses conditionals to introduce
his options
 He thinks about what he could do
Chapter 17 – page 90
“I think of the gun inside the duffel bag
at my feet…
The weight is nice and comfortable.”
 The gun gives him comfort
 The ending of the novel is ambiguous –
does he kill himself?