full name / name of organization:
Eduardo Morones/ Moreno Valley High AP Literature Class
Robert Cormier, author of various renowned young adult novels, began writing at the ripe age of twelve. As Cormier began to age and mature, he slowly established a reputation as a brilliant and uncompromising writer. His masterful use of flashback and gothic realism has led him to become one of the most popular novel writers of the 20th century. One of his last novels, Heroes, revolves around the idea of heroism. Some scholars believe a hero is defined by his actions, while others believe it is a person’s intentions which make them a hero. What is more important in a person's life - his or her good deeds or bad ones? Robert Cormier’s use of flashback and irony skews the reader’s perspective of the main character and creates a façade of the true persona of that character. It is because of these elements of style that the reader automatically assumes that the main character is the hero of the story without completely analyzing all his or her aspects. Francis, the main character, experiences many hardships in his youth; it is because of these past experiences as well as Cormier’s writing style that the readers perceive Francis as a hero even though his intentions and actions are those of an antihero.
The view of a hero has been amorphous as time passes and that is one reason as to why the reader perceives Francis as a hero. Joseph Campbell believes a person must go through a monomyth to be considered a hero. While other scholars like the author of the article “The Changing Concept of Heroes from Ancient Times to Today” states “Yet, if there are no longer any true heroes, how does one explain the acts of courage and altruism that sometimes occur? What about the emergency personal, firefighters, and police who responded to the disaster at the Twin Towers on 9/11?” Another reason why one sees Francis as a hero is because of Cormier’s writing style. The article “Teens@Random | Heroes by Robert Cormier” talks about Cormier’s style, “What makes his works unique is his ability to make evil behavior understandable, though, of course, still evil.” The protagonist Francis is almost a mirror image of another famous character, Hamlet from Shakespeare’s world renowned play “Hamlet”. They both have “noble causes”, depending on what one defines as noble, but their course of action to achieve them makes them actually the epitome of an antihero.
A hero can be described in many ways, but Francis will never be a true hero. The only reason the reader perceives him as a hero is because of Cormier’s style of writing, as well as the always changing definition of a hero. The reader feels sympathy for him because he is a war veteran, before the attack on the twin towers and the Iraq war, not many people saw soldiers as heroes but since then any soldier that makes it back even if they are not wounded is awarded a medal and seen as a hero. As years pass what civilizations see as a hero will change. Just as this generation sees the mythological view of a hero as obsolete future generations will see this view of a hero as obsolete as well.