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Columbine by Dave Cullen: Sub Theme Analysis

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by

Aishwarya Moothan

on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of Columbine by Dave Cullen: Sub Theme Analysis

"All Columbine myths worked that way. And they all
sprang
to life incredibly fast- most of the
notorious
myths took root before the killers' bodies were found." (Cullen, 149)
Cullen constantly contrasts what was believed about the shootings, to what actually happened
MYTH VS. REALITY
A stark and repetitive feature in Columbine is a comparison of the many false theories believed about the Columbine shootings. They come to form the theme of
"My big surprise was that
most of what we "know" about Columbine was wrong
.
It wasn't about the jocks, goths or the Trenchcoat Mafia. The killers didn't even see themselves as school shooters: their primary focus was the bombs"
-Dave Cullen


Dave Cullen took a purely journalistic approach in writing Columbine, accurately depicting not only the events of the shooting, but the BEFORE, such as who the teenage shooters were, and the AFTER; such as myths and cover ups
MYTH VS. REALITY
THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT THE SUB THEME SERVES TO DO; CLARIFY ASSUMPTIONS AND MYTHS LONG BELIEVED ABOUT THE SHOOTING
"Several witnesses insisted they had spotted a gunman on the roof. What they had seen was a maintenance man adjusting the air conditioning unit" (Cullen, 205)
This sub theme is further developed to become a non biased reflection of media crime and the toxic confusion that clouded the Columbine massacre for years.
Because Columbine is non-fictional, the author, instead of symbols uses tone and diction to develop the theme.
Irony
makes inanimate idea seem human, and powerful- making it more dramatic
Personification
makes readers feel the tragedy of such myths; at the same time proving that they were false
Diction
The choice of words used to describe and discuss the myths itself presents them in an unfavourable way without the author having to state his opinion
"In Columbine, Cullen is surprisingly but appropriately modest (appropriately, because it makes the book better) about his own role in exploding trite Columbine myths."
-Cullen's Former Editor
When contrasting myth and reality, Cullen uses a subtle
satirical tone
, by which the various beliefs about the Columbine massacre are craftily ridiculed using irony or even exaggeration.
What this sub theme brings to the story can greatly alter any reader's perception of who the killers were. A lot that was believed about the two teenagers turned out to be false.
-States the myth that is believed

-Contradicts myth with fact

-Heavy use of irony and satire

-Dramatic
CLOSURE
The Evils of Media
Understanding Abnormal Psyches
Faults in the Police System
Myth vs. Reality
In uncovering the long lost facts behind all the assumptions and theories, Dave Cullen provides every reader with an understanding of the Whom, What and Why of the events that unfolded on April 20th 1999. Being the first to do so, he provided the world with the ultimate means of closure; truth and reasoning
Dangers of Social Hierarchy in Teenagers
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Sub- Theme Analysis
This sub- theme goes through almost no change in the course of the story- but the focus changes from the events of the shooting to who the shooters were and their motives behind the massacre.
Full transcript