1.1 Francis is the first person narrator of
the novel. It is told through his eyes,
directly to the reader. At the end of
the book it is implied he will become a
writer, and that Heroes is his book,
adding realism to the text.
1.1.1 Throughout the novel Francis reiterates his love
for Nicole. Right from the outset we know that it
will ‘always be Nicole.’ His love appears hopeless,
and at first we think it is because he can never get
up the courage to speak to her.
188.8.131.52 He describes his physical injuries from the war in
grotesque, horrifying detail, emphasising his monstrous
appearance. He tries to present his inner character as
being similarly monstrous, by telling us very early on
that he intends to kill Larry LaSalle. Despite this there
are hints that he is not that monstrous – he describes
the gun as being ‘like a tumour on my thigh’, which
suggests he is not comfortable with it.
184.108.40.206.1 He is driven by the guilt of having left
Nicole to be raped by LaSalle, an event
for which he blames himself, because
he broke his promise not to leave her
alone that night.
220.127.116.11.1.1 Francis has a strong sense of guilt. He has had a Catholic
education and in chapter one he prays in church. He says
he is filled with a sense of shame and guilt because he is
praying for the man he wants to kill (LaSalle). Similarly he
decides to join the army because suicide would not only
be a sin, but shameful when there were soldiers sacrificing
their lives for others in the war.
18.104.22.168.1.1.1 Although he was awarded a Silver Star in the war, for
falling on a grenade and saving his platoon’s lives,
Francis feels that he is not a hero, and as if he is a fraud.
He joined the army because he wanted to die, and
believes he fell on the grenade in order to do so. He
does not believe he is a hero because his motives were
not heroic. Again we see he has a sense of shame and
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 When he returns to Frenchtown he
remains anonymous, even asking Arthur to
conceal his identity when he realises it. He
lies to Mrs Belander and to others about
who he is. This is not only to make it easier
to kill LaSalle, but also to avoid the
recognition and respect he feels he does
not deserve – he is not a hero.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Francis is no fool: he knows that
LaSalle lets him win the table
tennis match. However, he
accepts LaSalle’s assessment
that the others need for Francis to
win, and to believe in the
possibility of David beating
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.1 He spends the whole book waiting for LaSalle’s
return to Frenchtown so that he can seek
revenge. Yet when the moment comes his hand
is shaking and he is overwhelmed. In the end
LaSalle takes his own life – but it seems unlikely
that Francis could actually have gone through
with it, despite his plans and protestations.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1.1.1 He does do his best to ensure that he has no
future, by burning the contact details of his
friend from the hospital in England, and of the
doctor who says he will repair his face. He calls
this ‘closing doors to the future’. He seems to
be doing this to leave himself no option but to
go through with this plan. Hope returns to the
novel in the final chapter when he thinks about
tracking them down again.