Rhetorical Devices In Dave Cullen's Columbine

1428 Words6 Pages

Journalist and author, Dave Cullen, in his book, Columbine, redefines how his readers understand the Columbine tragedy. His purpose is to illustrate the misconceptions Americans have of the shooting by explaining how these misconceptions came about and became rooted in Americans’ minds, although they were so unbelievably wrong. Cullen creates a blunt tone in order to get straight to the facts to show who Eric really was. Through his use of rhetorical devices in this passage, Cullen unravels that Eric was not a bullied outcast like so many believe, but a psychopath. The passage opens with an examination of Eric’s thoughts in the months before Columbine happened, which can be viewed from numerous passages Eric left behind in his journals. Eric continuously talks about how he will need to suppress his emotions in order to be able to go through with the attack. Cullen is quick to use pathos in order to get readers involved with Eric’s emotions, or lack of, at that time. He takes readers on a journey into Eric's mind as he displays some of the most apathetic lines Eric ever wrote. Cullen points out that “It was a mark of Eric’s ruthlessness that he comprehended the pain and consciously fought the urge to spare it” (276). Cullen connects with reader’s emotions as he invites them to imagine a boy trying so hard to not have emotions, to …show more content…

He displays the image of “half of Denver on fire: napalm streams eating the skin off skyscrapers” (276). He describes this haunting scene in order to let readers see into Eric’s disturbing mind and what he is envisioning as he writes in his journal. Cullen’s diction is very important in these lines. Instead of just saying burning, he instead uses “eating the skin.” As Cullen dives into more journal entries, the diction and imagery he uses helps to convey the vicious tone in order to help readers see just how ruthless Eric

Open Document