Columbine

Columbine

by

Dave Cullen

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Columbine: Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dylan Klebold, Dave Cullen writes, was “born brilliant.” Named for the poet Dylan Thomas, he was born in Jeffco and, as a child, was a sports fan and a “driven competitor.” He idolized major league players “until the day he died.” Dylan and Brooks Brown were childhood friends, and Brooks’ mother, Judy, remembers witnessing one of Dylan’s explosive temper tantrums when he slipped and fell at a creek as an eight-year-old. He lashed out, humiliated, and Judy, after that day, grew to expect to see Dylan “go crazy” any time he “got frustrated with himself.” Over time, his “anger and loathing traveled inward.”
As Cullen investigates the shooters’ lives, he finds that Eric and Dylan were always very different. Eric was constantly in trouble and displayed many disturbing traits early on, whereas Dylan was explosive, occasionally to a bizarre degree, but also deeply sensitive and self-critical.
Themes
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
In 1990, the Klebolds, escaping the Denver sprawl “encroaching into Jeffco,” moved further back into the foothills. Dylan identified as a “part-time country boy.” Then in middle school, Dylan was “repuls[e]d” by “suburbanite assholes” and he found solace in nature. He “treasured tranquility,” but, Cullen writes, “loved a good explosion.”
As Dylan matured, he did develop a sense of superiority and a desire for spectacle—both the spectacle of nature and the spectacle of violence.
Themes
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon