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On April 20th, 1999, two boys, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went into their school and reigned terror on it. They shot up the Columbine High School along with some bombs and explosives. They killed 13, and in the end shot and killed themselves to. In the nonfiction novel, Columbine, Dave Cullen portrays Harris and Klebold objectively with the use of journalistic tone and investigative diction. Dave Cullen simply just reports the facts, like a journalist is supposed to. He doesn’t add his own opinions or feelings into it.
He adds dialogue from all sides, the killers, the witnesses, and the victims.
He keeps it mutual by telling stories from all sides, except his own. He tells of how everyone was feeling before, after and during the attack, allowing the reader to form their own opinions. He even provides stories of how some victims forgave the killers, and how some didn’t. He included Patrick Ireland, a victim who was shot in the head and paralyzed, forgave the killers who did that to him.
“They were confused. Just forgave them. ” (Cullen 269). He was talking to his mom who had just asked if he remembered what happened to him.
She later told reporters that it was “more than she could do. (Cullen 269), meaning she may never forgive them. Cullen doesn’t go on to say which choice is right or wrong, he just simply reported how people reacted to it. So his journalistic tone allows the reader to choose on their own how they would respond to the tragedy.
Along with his journalistic tone, Cullen uses investigative diction to remain objective throughout the whole novel. He does his research of why Harris and Klebold decided to go on a killing spree. He does this so the reader could get a better understanding of the killers, but once again not saying if it was justifiable or not.
He explains Klebold as a kid who felt “cut off from humanity” (Cullen 174), and that “suicide was consuming him. ” (Cullen 173). He even adds quotes from Klebold’s own journal which he wrote, “I don’t fit in here. ”(Cullen 175). Later on in the journal he wrote, “i want to die really bad right now. ” (Cullen 176). Cullen just reports what was going on with Klebold, not if it was an acceptable excuse. He does the same with Harris as he tells us what he was going through. He informs the reader that what was written in his journal was the longing for human extinction and “Natural Selection!! (Cullen 184). He wanted to get rid of “all the stupid and weak organisms. ” (Cullen 184). Cullen uses his investigations to report facts, and let the reader decide their own feelings, opinions and emotions towards the killing dyad. Dave Cullen remains objective throughout the whole nonfiction novel by remaining factual. He allows the reader to come to their own conclusions by continuing to be unbiased. He uses journalistic tone and investigative diction to report emotional facts without adding, showing or even suggesting his own feelings towards the boys.
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