Heroes

Nicole Renard Character Analysis

Nicole moves to Frenchtown in the seventh grade and eventually becomes Francis’ childhood sweetheart and Larry LaSalle’s star dance pupil. When she and Francis first meet, she teases him and he cannot summon the courage to respond, but eventually the two begin an innocent relationship based around weekly dates at the local theater. After Larry rapes her, however, Nicole blames Francis and finds respite from her suffering in the local convent. She hides among the nuns—without ever intending to take vows—until she ultimately leaves Frenchtown to escape her past, moving back to Albany with her parents. At the end of the novel, Francis finds her poised to graduate from parochial school and pursue a career as a teacher. In the conversation that follows, she forgives Francis, but she does not entertain the idea of them becoming a couple again or even remaining in each other’s lives. Instead, she wants to leave her shattered childhood firmly in the past. Of all the characters in the novel, she is the one who seems to best cope with the traumas of her past in her attempt to move forward with her life.

Nicole Renard Quotes in Heroes

The Heroes quotes below are all either spoken by Nicole Renard or refer to Nicole Renard. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Heroes published in 2009.
Chapter 2 Quotes

I knelt there like a knight at her feet, her sword having touched my shoulder. I silently pledged her my love and loyalty forever.

Related Characters: Francis Cassavant (speaker), Nicole Renard
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
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Why hadn't I answered her? Did she now think I was stupid, unable to start a conversation? Had she merely been teasing me? Or had she been really afraid that I might fall off the banister? The questions left me dazed with wonder. I never knew that love could be so agonizing. Finally, the big question: Had Marie told Nicole that I liked her?

Related Characters: Francis Cassavant (speaker), Nicole Renard, Marie LaCroix
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 3 Quotes

I have places to visit now that I have returned and one of them is Sixth Street and the gray three-decker where Nicole Renard lived with her mother and father on the second floor at number 212. I know she doesn't live there anymore and I have nothing to gain by going there but it's inevitable that I look at her house again.

Related Characters: Francis Cassavant (speaker), Nicole Renard
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 7 Quotes

Like a dream coming true, Nicole took the trophy from Larry LaSalle and handed it to me, the radiance of her face mirroring my own. The crowd grew silent as I pressed the trophy to my chest, my eyes becoming moist

Related Characters: Francis Cassavant (speaker), Larry LaSalle, Nicole Renard
Page Number: 64-65
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

Larry LaSalle stood before us that afternoon at the Wreck Center, the movie star smile gone, replaced by grim-faced determination. "We can't let the Japs get away with this," he said, anger that we had never seen before flashing in his eyes. As we were about to cheer his announcement, he held up his hand. "None of that, kids, I'm just doing what millions of others are doing."

Related Characters: Larry LaSalle (speaker), Francis Cassavant, Nicole Renard, Joey LeBlanc
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
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Taking a deep breath, I said: "Would you like to go to the movies sometime?" The earth paused in its orbit.

Related Characters: Francis Cassavant (speaker), Nicole Renard
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 11 Quotes

We always did what Larry LaSalle told us to do. Always carried out his slightest wish…I saw Larry raising his eyebrows at me, the way he looked at me when I made a stupid move at table tennis.

Related Characters: Francis Cassavant (speaker), Larry LaSalle, Nicole Renard
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 12 Quotes

"Are you all right?" I asked. “No, I'm not all right" she answered anger flashing in her eyes. "I hurt. I hurt all over." I could only stand there mute, as if all my sins had been revealed and there was no forgiveness for them.

Related Characters: Francis Cassavant (speaker), Nicole Renard (speaker)
Page Number: 101-102
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 14 Quotes

Everybody sins, Francis. The terrible thing is that we love our sins. We love the thing that makes us evil

Related Characters: Larry LaSalle (speaker), Francis Cassavant, Nicole Renard
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 16 Quotes

"Okay," she says. "If I’m not exactly all right, then I'm…" She screws up her face, searching for the right word. "I'm adjusting. Getting better at it all the time.

Related Characters: Nicole Renard (speaker)
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:
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My good Francis. My table tennis champion. My Silver Star hero." Hero. The word hangs in the air. "I don't know what a hero is anymore, Nicole." I think of Larry LaSalle and his Silver Star. And my own Silver Star, for an act of cowardice. "Write about it, Francis. Maybe you can find the answer that way."

Related Characters: Francis Cassavant (speaker), Nicole Renard (speaker)
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
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Nicole Renard Character Timeline in Heroes

The timeline below shows where the character Nicole Renard appears in Heroes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...his friend from the war hospital Enrico Rucelli, his deceased parents, his deceased brother Raymond, Nicole Renard, and finally he fights back his feelings of guilt and prays for Larry LaSalle,... (full context)
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...Enrico suggested, half jokingly, that if Francis truly wanted to get over his feelings for Nicole, he could find a new sweetheart at a home for the blind, using his status... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
...while claiming that he wasn’t a hero and admitting that he would never get over Nicole. Now finished reminiscing, he wonders if he will ever see her again, even though he... (full context)
Chapter 2
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
The narrative flashes back to the beginning of Francis’s relationship with Nicole Renard, starting on the very first day he lays eyes on her at parochial school.... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
After a brief exchange of glances, Francis decides that Nicole is the most beautiful girl he has ever seen, silently pledging her his eternal love.... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Finally, Nicole passes Francis in the hallway and gently teases him, leaving Francis speechless in her wake.... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
...the summer, Francis and his friend Joey LeBlanc are walking through Frenchtown when they spot Nicole at a distance, waving hello to them. As they wave back, Joey cracks a joke... (full context)
Chapter 3
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Back in the present, Francis stalks the streets of Frenchtown, returning to Nicole’s apartment building to confirm for himself that she had left Frenchtown during the war. (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Upon seeing that Nicole is, in fact, gone, Francis has another flashback to the war, this time to a... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
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After being shooed away by the new occupants of Nicole’s old apartment, Francis returns to his boardinghouse where Mrs. Belander offers him soup and finally... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...about the building’s transformation into the Frenchtown Rec. Center—a transformation that occurred the same year Nicole Renard entered his life. However, due to the shoddy workmanship of the renovations, many townspeople... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Later in the summer, Nicole began to participate in the dance classes at the Wreck Center. Larry’s star pupil, she... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
...he is “rotten at everything,” like dancing, singing and baseball. Silently, he adds talking to Nicole Renard to his list of failures. (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
...a new sense of purpose at the Wreck Center. Often, he admits, he looks for Nicole during his good games. After a particularly skillful defeat of Joey LeBlanc, Francis spots his... (full context)
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
While Francis is in the Wreck Center practicing Ping-Pong, he begins to notice how Nicole is not only a beautiful dancer, but her routines with Larry are becoming more intensely... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
On the day of the tournament, Nicole approaches Francis who finally musters enough courage to tell her he loves to watch her... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
In the midst of the celebration, Nicole approaches Francis and calls him “my champion,” reminding him that she wants him to attend... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Luckily for Francis, Nicole begins to frequent the drugstore, giving him more opportunities to speak to his crush. Eventually,... (full context)
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
At the cinema, Francis, Nicole, and the rest of Frenchtown also began to see the “war reels:” short vignettes of... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
One day as Francis and Nicole walk home after their date, they pass the now shuttered Wreck Center, remembering how on... (full context)
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...often interspersed with patriotic “war songs.” It is here at the drugstore that a breathless Nicole announces that Larry has been awarded the Silver Star, news that is later carried to... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...into their old haunt, playing Ping-Pong and dancing late into the night, until only Francis, Nicole, and Larry remain. (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Since all the others have left, Larry asks Nicole to go put on “Dancing in the Dark:” the song the two had danced to... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
...Hidden in the doorway, he begins to hear signs of a struggle as Larry rapes Nicole. Paralyzed by fear, Francis is unable to intervene. (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
Bursting through the darkness, a battered Nicole goes to leave the Wreck Center, spotting Francis as he steps out from the shadows... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Still in shock, Francis begins a three-day vigil outside of Nicole’s apartment building, hoping that eventually she will emerge onto her veranda. He haunts the street... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Finally, on the fourth day of Francis’ vigil, Nicole emerges from her apartment to confront Francis. Her voice is noticeably harsh as she blames... (full context)
Chapter 14
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
...so badly. Realizing in that instance that Larry really hadn’t seen him the night of Nicole’s rape, Francis reveals to Larry that he had been there all along, a silent witness... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...a shaking hand, aims it at Larry, demanding to know why it had to be Nicole that night instead of any of the other grown women fawning over Frenchtown’s new war... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
Once again, Francis simply replies that Larry should be asking Nicole, not him. As he stares down the barrel of the gun at his hero, Francis... (full context)
Chapter 15
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
...now complete, Francis visits the nuns in their convent, asking for Sister Mathilde, his and Nicole’s former 7th grade teacher. He hopes that she may have kept in touch with Nicole... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
...himself by his real name. After pleasantries, he asks the sister if she knows where Nicole went after she abruptly left Frenchtown, worried that she may have left to become a... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Thankfully for Francis, Sister Mathilde explains that Nicole and her family simply moved back to Albany. When pressed, she admits that Nicole seemed... (full context)
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Thinking that a familiar face might be a nice surprise for Nicole, Sister Mathilde gives Francis her new address in Albany. Before Francis leaves, Sister Mathilde gently... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
In Albany, Francis finally comes face to face with Nicole in an empty classroom at her new parochial school. At first, both of them fail... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
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Hesitantly, Nicole approaches Francis, maintaining a cordial distance. After she expresses concern over Francis’ wounds, he tries... (full context)
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The old softness gone from her voice, Nicole maintains that she is “fine.” After all, she says, she has new friends, and likes... (full context)
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Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
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Joining Nicole to look out the classroom window at a tennis match, Francis tentatively asks if Nicole... (full context)
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Turning the tables, Nicole then asks Francis what his plans are now that the war is over. Again, ready... (full context)
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A back and forth ensues, with Nicole insisting she is “all right” and Francis pushing back, asking her if she had ever... (full context)
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Sadly, Francis realizes that his presence probably brings back bad memories for Nicole, though she assures him that he had been and always would be part of her... (full context)
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An awkward silence falls over the room again, broken when Nicole moves to touch Francis’ bandages, murmuring “your poor face.” Pulling away, Francis protests, saying he... (full context)
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Trying to give Nicole one last gift, Francis stands to leave, and Nicole quickly adds that must return to... (full context)
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As Nicole turns to leave at last, Francis asks if he can visit her again, hating himself... (full context)
Chapter 17
Flawed Heroes Theme Icon
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...around him, taking in the crowd of civilians, soldiers, and veterans. Remembering his words to Nicole about no longer understanding what constituted a hero, he begins to think of all the... (full context)
The Simplicity of Childhood Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
One last time, Francis thinks of Nicole, and then of the gun in his duffel bag. Slinging his bag over his shoulders,... (full context)