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How does Robert Cormier create sympathy for Francis?

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A Narrative Essay
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How does Robert Cormier create sympathy for Francis?

  1. 1. The structure of the novel Cormier planned the novel to be presented to the reader in a certain order. This is not in chronological order on purpose. Why? What reason would you give? • Creates sympathy for Francis? • Explores his background fully? • Creates tension or a narrative hook for the reader who learns about how the chain of events happens slowly through the chapters?
  2. 2. Analysing the structure – why did the author use a non-linear narrative structure? non-linear = not in a line i.e. not as events happen chronologically What are the benefits of not telling the events as they happen? 2 minutes think time…
  3. 3. Non-linear narrative Use of flashbacks • The narratives moves from the present to the past to the present again • The reader can build a fuller picture of the main characters (protagonists) Francis, Nicole and (antagonist) Larry • We need the flashbacks to show us how the characters have changed and developed over time ( and which events have changed them) • We could say the flashbacks reflect the different sides to Francis; light-hearted/deeply depressed. He seems innocent/feels guilty/he takes action or cannot change events. • The past events build to Chapter 12; the confrontation with Larry is Chapter 14. • Suspense for the reader is built as details are revealed and slow the action down; the reader is kept guessing about why Francis wants to kill Larry and then whether he does actually kill him
  4. 4. Rearrange and reassemble: (Rank order) Which of these 9 flashbacks has the most impact on the outcome of the novel? Write a PEE chain on this with supporting evidence.
  5. 5. Example paragraph I think chapter 11 is the most important chapter as this is where the reader finally understands why Francis feels so much guilt and has so much hatred for Larry LaSalle. Francis is filled with guilt for not protecting Nicole from Larry and suffers her looking at him with “my betrayal of her in her eyes”. This shows Francis is feeling heartbroken as he says “it’s amazing that the heart makes no noise when it cracks”. The reader knows how he loves Nicole as pledges his “loyalty” to her when he first sees her. This is why he wants to kill Larry to avenge Nicole’s honour.
  6. 6. Plan your five points in order of how the events happen in the novel How does Robert Cormier create sympathy for the character of Francis in Heroes?
  7. 7. How does Robert Cormier create sympathy for the character of Francis in Heroes? Francis is the narrator but what events shape the reader’s sympathetic view of him? • He is injured, lonely and damaged by physically and emotionally • He returns to explore his past experiences • Through his experiences we explore the theme of heroism • Through his experiences we explore the emotional vulnerability of young adults • His love for Nicole • War veteran • Innocence is shattered by Larry and War • Tragic status – suicidal • Responsibility and guilt • Fails to kill Larry in the end proving he is a good character
  8. 8. How does Robert Cormier create sympathy for the character of Francis in Heroes? Reduce down to five main points 1. He is injured, lonely and damaged 2. War veteran – other characters sympathy for him – theme of heroism 3. Tragic status – suicidal and full of despair because his innocence is shattered by Larry and War 4. Responsibility and guilt alongside determination to get revenge 5. Structure of the novel highlights how he has been altered by the events of war and Larry’s betrayal
  9. 9. Complete the quotes grid by matching the quotes with the point. Point Quotation He is injured, lonely and damaged War veteran – other characters sympathy for him – theme of heroism Tragic status Responsibility and guilt alongside determination to get revenge Structure of the novel highlights how he has been altered by the events of war and Larry’s betrayal
  10. 10. Complete the quotes grid: • add which character says the line. • what is happening at that moment? • why it is significant to the novel? Quotation “the war is over and I have no face”p1 “Poor boy”p5 “survived another night, endured the dreams and the memories again,”P29 “The curiosity is softened with sympathy.”p31 “Poor all of us I think.”p66 “You’re too hard on yourself.”p108 “the heart makes no noise when it cracks”p91 “I had no defence.”p94 “the worst sin of all: despair.”p97 “My betrayal of her in her eyes.”p90 “as if all my sins had been revealed”p95
  11. 11. Self Assessment What makes a good whole text character answer? • Well structured – use the structure of the novel to help you order your points to show you understand the plot • Use evidence to support points – embed them into your points • Discuss your ideas • Answer the question

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