I have my exam tomorrow and I really need an A (but I have no idea how to get there because WJEC has always been rubbish with its mark schemes).Could any of you please mark this essay I did (under timed conditions) to see what needs to be improved?
What do you think of Larry Lasalle and the way he is presented in the novel?
There are many contrasting opinions on the character Larry Lasalle from the novel 'Heroes'. To some, he is depicted as a hero, showing equal amounts of bravery and kindness. To others there is a much more sinister side to his character, often described as evil and monstrous. Yet, in my opinion, he is neither a hero or villain, merely a representation of the complexity of human nature.
So why do these opinions differ greatly?
To begin, let us focus on Larry's proclaimed 'heroic' and 'kind' nature. From the very beginning of the novel, Larry's encouraging attitude has been evident. He announced to the youths of the Wreck Centre after having worked with them for a short period of time that "You are all stars," using metaphoric language to lift their spirits. A star is often associated with beauty and brightness, therefore he is implying here that they all have a beauty to them. Are these the words of a pleasant man? One would certainly think so.
This positive image continues when Larry is hinted to be the first of the Frenchtown men to enlist in the army. As he does so, his "movie star smile" goes and is "replaced by grim-faced determination." The adjective 'grim' and the noun 'determination' serve to emphasise Larry's sacrificial and selfless nature. He is willing to forfeit his life for his country, unlike many others at that time. This also indicates that he has a sense of patriarchal duty.
So how could this critically acclaimed man be branded by others as villainous?
The answer is a rather unpleasant one; he is a rapist, a pedophile who preys on the young and naiive. He took away Nicole's innocence, both symbolically and literally. Cormier even goes as far as to present him unashamed of that fact, as one can observe in the quote "We love the thing that makes us evil. I love the sweet young things." The repetition of the word 'love' here demonstrates Larry's morbid and twisted personality, how he labels his actions as that of love rather than selfish desire.
Furthermore, he can also be depicted as a predator, abusing his power as a strong and capable adult over young and weak children. For example, in the quotation "he had lured awkward girls into ballet classes" the word 'lured' evokes an image of a predator and prey scenario, in which Larry, the 'predator' maliciously traps young and innocent girls, his intentions cruel.
After having evaluated both arguments, do I believe Larry to be evil or good? Surprisingly, my answer is neither. In my humble opinion, Larry Lasalle instead represents the complexity of humanity. He is both satanic and Christ-like, generous and manipulative, kind and twisted. This intriguing character brings forth arguably the best line of the entire novel - "does that one sin of mine wipe away all the good things?" Cormier makes us his readers think in this brilliant philosophical question whether anyone can be a hero when they have human failures and flaws underneath. Larry Lasalle is a mere microcosm of humanity's plight to be labelled as either good or bad, when the reality of the matter is, we are both.
*** this is a 20 mark question and there's also an additional 8 marks available for SPAG. Thanks to anyone who replies!
Can someone please mark this Heroes Essay Question?
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