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Discussing Robert Cormiers' Heroes.

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Introduction

Heroes Robert Cormier is a famous and highly successful author who wrote books such as: 'Heroes', The chocolate war', 'Beyond the chocolate war', 'Fade', 'Tenderness', 'After the first death', 'I am the cheese', 'The rag and bone shop', 'The bumblebee flies anyway', 'Summer in Frenchtown', 'We all fall down', 'Tunes for bears to dance to' and 'In the middle of the night'. Cormier was born in 1925 in French hill, a French-Canadian neighbourhood of Leominster, Massachusetts. Bought up in a busy household of seven brothers and sisters, he attended a catholic grammar school- some nuns gave him a terrible time there but one read an early poem of his and claimed 'you're a writer!' He married in 1948 and he and his wife had four children- all four were sent to local catholic schools. Robert Cormier was a controversial author, and semi-autobiographical accounts appear in all his books. Cormier believed people should 'tell it like it is' (quoted from an interview) and that teenagers should learn the truth. This may be why he writes in such a frank style with gory details. E.g. 'my legs are gone... No more dancing for me... No more sweet young things... No more anything' He thinks children shouldn't be patronised and that happy endings aren't always the case, so children should be shown the reality of life. Most books he's written are in the first person and the main character is usually a boy of 12-18. ...read more.

Middle

He seems almost perfect- to perfect. We are given hints he has a dark past as we are told he'd 'gotten into trouble' in New York. But Francis and the others had brushed the rumours of as they were dazzled by his talent, his energy and were happy to be in his presence. Finally we learn Nicole Renard instantly caught the attention of Larry LaSalle whilst dancing. Cormier shocks the readers by presenting to them a 'hero' rather then the villain they were expecting. Back in the present, In chapter 6 Francis tells us of his 'wrapped- up gun in his duffel bag' whilst having a drink with other veterans in the St Jude Club he suspiciously asks: 'Has anybody heard when Larry LaSalle's coming back?' Veteran Arthur raises his glass and calls out: 'To Larry LaSalle. The patron saint of the Wreck Centre', this is ironic as at this point the reader remains confused at Larry being named a 'saint', the reader begins thinking: 'Is it Francis who is misjudging Larry?'. Joe LaFontaine raises his own glass and adds: 'And to the kids who were lucky to know him' the old Strangler even pours himself a glass of red wine and declares: 'To the Silver Star and the men who wear it. And to Larry LaSalle, the best of the best...' again the reader is puzzled 'how did he earn this Silver Star?' and 'What has Larry done to be admired for?' ...read more.

Conclusion

The impression left on the reader is that maybe Larry hated himself for what he did and feels he has nothing left now. But a moral satisfaction is not gained- Larry died a coward. I believe Larry LaSalle was genuine with helping the community and being a role model to the kids at the Wreck Centre, but I believe he was plotting the rape on Nicole since he first met her and Francis, I think the temptation had always been high for him. For raping and hurting a teenage girl he shouldn't be forgiven and I think anyone who does something like that should be punished no matter how many feelings of sorrow or guilt are present. I think Larry killed himself as he was trapped with himself, guilt and sadness because he lost his legs and more 'sweet young things' would be available to him. I also think he saw how Francis' eyes didn't shine with admiration for him like they used to, he craved physical power and because he lost that he lost his will to live. I also think no matter how an incident like rape is dealt with and how a person punishes himself that it doesn't make it any better, the fact is it still happened. There's no going back in time. I think this book is appropriate for teenagers as it's showing them real life situations, reality rather then a false impression of people and life. It's bringing them out of the shadows and out of fairy tale story endings. Cormier believed we shouldn't 'tell it how it is' after all. Jessica Moore 10PAI 1 ...read more.

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