Year 11 – Heroes 3

‘I’m sorry’, I said, knowing how pitiful those words must sound to her.
She shook her head, turning away, and I couldn’t afford to let her go.
‘Are you …’ I began to ask but hesitated as she turned her back and looked at me again. What word could I use? Are you hurt? Torn apart?
‘Are you alright?’ I asked.
‘No, I’m not alright,’ she answered, anger flashing in her eyes. ‘I hurt all over’.
I could only stand there mute, as if all my sins had been revealed and there was no forgiveness for them.
Finally, I asked; ‘What can I do?’
‘Poor Francis,’ she said at last. But no pity in her voice. Contempt, maybe, as her eyes swept over me. She flung her hand in the air, a gesture of dismissal. ‘Go away, Francis,’ she said ‘Just go away’.
And she herself went away, pulled away from the bannister, stepped into the hallway, one moment there, the next moment gone.
I waited for her to appear again.
I waited through long empty minutes.
Somewhere a door slammed. Later a dog barked, a car roared by.
I finally went away.

How does Cormier use language to show Francis’ feelings in the extract?
For a B grade:
i. What is the effect of the narrator asking the reader direct questions?
ii. Why is the dialogue between the two so sparse and short?
iii. Francis hears three sounds in the penultimate line – what is he listening for?
For an A grade:
i. How do you suppose Francis is feeling when Nicole turns to look at him ‘again’?
ii. All the emotive language is used to describe how Nicole feels, not Francis. Why is that?
iii. ‘Forgiveness’ is a key theme in the novel. Why is it so important to Francis’ character?

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5 thoughts on “Year 11 – Heroes 3

  1. Sapphire

    Cormier asks direct questions to the reader in this extract, this makes the reader feel more engaged and as if personal opinion may change the outcome of Francis’ fate. ‘What word could I use?’ By asking the reader this it suggests that Francis is feeling unsure of himself and doubting his own judgement. This also encourages the reader to think about how they would prefer this part of the story to pan out, by doing this it helps the reader feel important and want to read on.

    The conversation between Francis and Nicole seems distant due to the lack of length and content of their conversation. ‘Finally I answered’ implies that Francis had to think clearly before reacting to her comment, as he does not know how to talk to her. Cormier does this to suggest that Francis is feeling guilty and unsure of where he stands with her anymore, due to their past, by doing this it reminds you of previous parts of the story.

    In the final line, Francis is listening to individual noises surrounding him, this suggests that he is waiting to hear a particular sound. ‘Somewhere a door slammed. Later a dog barked a car roared by’ this implies that he waited long enough to figure out each sound. By Cormier making Francis wait and listen, it implies that he is waiting for the sound of Nicole’s footsteps along the corridor as he ‘waited for her to appear again’

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  2. georgia

    In this extract Cormier uses direct questions, aimed at the audience: ” What word could I use?”. By Cormier adding in questions that are being directed to the reader, it helps to engage them. Moreover, the audience has more of a connection by this happening and makes them want to read on. By Francis asking this question to the reader it implies that he is lacking confidence and is reaching out for any support he can possibly get.

    In addition, by Cormier creating an awkward tension between Nicole and Francis it engages the reader well. This is due to the reader feeling sympathetic towards Francis as-well as Nicole. The dialogue between the two of them is sparse and both of them are not really talking much, this can be shown through Francis saying ”Finally, I asked; ‘What can I do?’’. The use of the word ‘finally’, suggests that Francis is struggling to speak to Nicole and is taking time to think of what to say to her. This helps to show a clear contrast between the way their relationship was before this incident compared with now.

    Lastly, Francis hears three sounds in the penultimate line, these being a door slamming, a dog barking and a car roaring. By Cormier adding in sound affects it helps to show how hopeful Francis is about Nicole re-appearing. In the extract it states: ”I waited through long empty minutes”, this depicts that Francis was waiting some time for Nicole to return; she never did.

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