Heroes

Heroes Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It has now been a month since Francis returned to Frenchtown; pleasantly, he notes how the townspeople, familiar with his presence, now smile at him when he passes by in his army fatigue jacket, his scarf, and his hat. Accustomed now to this pleasant familiarity, Francis is still impatient for Larry’s return. He carries his pistol around in his duffle bag everywhere he goes, constantly prepared for the moment when he can complete his final mission.
Even though he is still deliberately anonymous, Francis finds some joy in being recognized as familiar in his childhood hometown, and his comfort at this familiarity betrays a longing to return to his childhood. In light of his longing for community, his insistence on disguise suggests that something serious has alienated him from his town.
Themes
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
Hoping to hear information about Larry, Francis continues to frequent the St. Jude Club. Although he never joins in on the conversations or pool games, the other veterans respect his silence and his anonymity. Finally, when all the veterans fall into a periodic silence, Francis summons the courage to ask what has become of his former hero, Larry.
While it appears that Francis is adjusting to his postwar life by finally talking to the other veterans, he is only able to talk about his past. Essentially, Francis is still stuck living in his broken childhood, only able to relate to the present through memories of his past.
Themes
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Spurred to emotion by Francis’ sudden question, Arthur leads a toast to “the patron saint of the Wreck Center.” Then, the Strangler, the old bartender who seldom drinks, toasts from behind the bar to the men who wear the Silver Star. Prompted again by Arthur, the Strangler unveils the “Frenchtown Warriors” scrapbook: a collection of newspaper clippings about all the young men of Frenchtown who had served in the war, including the announcement that Larry had earned the Silver Star for his bravery in combat. With a somber tone, the Strangler tells Francis that he is glad that he no longer has to add to the scrapbook.
The use of religious language to describe Larry, a man that Francis is intent on murdering, further deepens the tension between Larry’s heroic appearance in Francis’s memories and whatever dark reality has turned Francis against him. The scrapbook, in a similar manner, shows how the people of Frenchtown tried to lessen the horror of the war by celebrating local servicemen as “warriors” when, in reality, the book is a collection of suffering and death.
Themes
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Related Quotes
In the midst of the toasts and reminiscing, Arthur leans in close to Francis and tells him that he recognizes Francis’s voice. Francis admits, finally, to his real identity, and Arthur recalls that Francis, a Silver Star hero in his own right, had once been the Wreck Center Ping-Pong champion. Bonded now by their shared childhood in addition to their service in the war, Arthur agrees to keep Francis’s identity a secret from the rest of the veterans.
When Arthur discovers Francis’s identity, Francis is more ready to admit to being a former Ping-Pong champion than a Silver Star recipient. Not only does this create tension between what Francis appears to be and what he thinks of himself, but it also shows that he is still stuck in his childhood, when glory and heroics were much more straightforward concepts: winners were heroes.
Themes
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
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