Heroes. How does Cormier present the character of Larry LaSalle?

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The character of Larry LaSalle is vital to the plot and themes of Heroes: Cormier presents him in opposition to Francis and uses him to explore the central issues of the novel. From the very first chapter of the novel it is clear that LaSalle is going to be a very important character, as Francis tells us that he is ‘the man I am going to kill.’

Initially there is some ambiguity about this: Francis’s description of his own horrific injuries combined with this statement are designed to suggest he is a monster, and therefore might give sympathy to LaSalle. However, even by this stage the reader is empathising with Francis, and therefore suspects that LaSalle may not be the victim.

This ambiguity about LaSalle’s character is continued through the book, reflecting the theme of concealment and revelation. Despite LaSalle’s ‘dazzling movie-star’ good looks when he arrives in the town, there is a sense of uneasy mystery about him, as to why he turned his back on show-business. Cormier uses this technique of foreshadowing and undermining throughout the novel, reflecting the uncertainty of many of the themes and characters of the book.

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In addition to this, Cormier’s structuring of the book, with the three interweaving time lines, leads to the reader being fed information bit by bit, creating a sense of suspense about the events of the past, and what will happen when Francis finally confronts LaSalle. This is supported by the use of the first person narration, so that we only see LaSalle from Francis’s point of view; we experience Francis’s changing feelings, always in the light of the knowledge that sooner or later Francis will want to kill him.

LaSalle is also presented as a man whose public ...

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