Heroes 4

Suddenly, I only want to get out of there. The aroma of the soup is sickening and the tenement is too warm. I don’t want to look into his eyes anymore.
My hand is on the doorknob when he calls my name. I open the door but pause, making myself wait. But I don’t look at him.
‘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 comrades.’
Still trying to make me better than I am.
I close the door, my face hot and flushed under the scarf and the bandage. The coldness of the hallway hits the warmth of my flesh and I shiver. It seems that I have done nothing but shiver since I returned to Frenchtown.
His voice echoes in my ears:
Does that one sin of mine wipe away all the good things?
I go down the stairs, my footsteps echoing on the worn staircase.
Downstairs, at last after what seems like a long long time, I pause at the outside door. 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.

Comment on how language is used to present Francis’ feelings in the extract.
For a B grade:
i. Explain how does the adverb ‘only’ gives extra force to the first simple sentence.
ii. What is the effect of putting a phrase into italics?
iii. Why does Cormier use the simile of ‘a ping-pong ball striking the table’?
For an A grade:
i. ‘The aroma of the soup is sickening’ – is this the reason Francis feels sick?
ii. The staircase is described as ‘worn’ – is it just the staircase that is ‘worn’?
iii. At the end, when the gun-shot is heard, Francis has his ‘hand…on the doorknob’ – why does he mention this (what could his hand have been holding)?

5 thoughts on “Heroes 4

  1. Sapphire

    The use of simple, singular words that Cormier uses adds extra effect on certain sentences in his writing. Cormier uses language like ‘only’ in the first sentence which implies that francis does not want anything other than this simple wish, this suggests that Francis does not think that it is much to ask for. ‘I only want to get out of here’ presents Francis as feeling trapped in Larry’s cage, this is due to the fact he does not want to be there any longer but cannot just leave.

    Cormier refers to ‘a Ping-pong ball sticking the table’ which suggests that Francis is feeling nostalgic about the past when he believed Larry was a good guy. This makes it seem as if Francis may feel guilt just after he hears the ‘pistol shot which cracks the air’ and depicts that it may have possibly cracked him as he allows himself to feel some sort of sorrow towards the man he hates.

    The suggestion that Francis feels sick due to the smell of soup contradicts itself as it depicts how Francis feels, however it covers the true meaning behind his sickness. ‘The aroma of the soup is sickening’ draws attention to the fact that Francis is feeling unwell despite the fact it is not because of the soup. The reason behind Francis’ feelings is due to the task he came to the tenement to complete, this leaves you feeling as if Francis is uneasy.

  2. Georgia

    In this extract Cormier adds extra words to certain sentences, this adds effect to them and helps to engage the reader into what Francis is really feeling. Moreover, by Cormier adding the word ‘only’, to the phrase: ‘suddenly, i only want to get out of there’, it helps to add an extra depth to the phrase. In addition this sentence is at the beginning of the extract and it straight to the point, it impies that Francis really dosn’t want to be in there with Larry alone. Francis is certain that he wants to leave at that moment; the word ‘only’ helps to portray this.

    Furthermore, Cormier uses the simile: ‘a ping-pong ball striking the table’, to describe the sound of the gun shot Francis heard. Moreover, the gunshot that Francis heard is coming from Larry’s room where Francis had just been. Due to the character of Larry comiting suicide and Francis describing it as sounding like a ping-pong ball striking a table, it helps to reflect on the story. Moreover, Larry taught Francis how to play ping-pong and therefore is a reminder of earlier on in the story.

    Cormier suggests that Francis is feeling sick due to the smell of soup. Furthermore Francis says: ‘The aroma of the soup is sickening’, however this is not the only reason Francis is feeling sick. Moreover, Francis went there on a mission to kill Larry due to what he has done to Francis’s love, Nicole. Therefore, Francis is nervous and the thought of both seeing Larry after all the years aswell as killing him that day is adding to his sickness.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      These answers are fine, Georgia. ‘only’ is an adverb – use this kind of technical terminology when discussing language – nearly all words ending in -ly are adverbs. ________________________________________


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