Columbine

Columbine

by

Dave Cullen

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Cassie Bernall Character Analysis

One of the victims of the Columbine shooting, Cassie Bernall recovered from a troubled youth during which her mother, Misty, believed her to be possessed by Satan, and went on to become a member of the Evangelical community in Jeffco. Cassie transferred to Columbine from a private Christian school in order to convert and recruit nonbelievers. A victim of the library massacre, a rumor spread shortly after the attack describing Cassie’s “martyrdom”—allegedly Eric Harris, with a gun to Cassie’s head, asked her if she believed in God. When she said “yes,” he shot her. Craig Scott, who first recounted this story, was actually confused due to trauma and the early stages, perhaps, of PTSD, and was referencing another student’s profession of her faith in God—Val Schnurr, who was not killed. Cassie was shot, point blank, without exchanging a word with Eric Harris. Before the truth came to light, though, Cassie was hailed throughout the Evangelical community as a martyr and a symbol of hope, and was the subject of a book written by her mother—She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall—which has sold, as of the present day, over one million copies.
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Cassie Bernall Character Timeline in Columbine

The timeline below shows where the character Cassie Bernall appears in Columbine. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: Two Columbines
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
...downtown Denver, Patrick enjoys himself, and even gets to slow-dance with Laura just once. Meanwhile Cassie Bernall, an Evangelical student, was not asked to the prom. She and her friend Amanda... (full context)
Chapter 7: Church on Fire
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Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
...Religion is a 24/7 commitment, and members of the local megachurches treat it as such. Cassie Bernall, a particularly devout Columbine student, transferred there from a nearby Christian school after begging... (full context)
Chapter 10: Judgment
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...heads to the library as lunch begins, planning on finishing his homework during the hour. Cassie Bernall is also in the library, studying during lunch. Mr. D is absent from the... (full context)
Chapter 13: “1 Bleeding to Death”
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Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
...continue to arrive at Columbine. Among them is Misty Bernall, mother of the Evangelical student Cassie Bernall. Realizing she cannot get close to the school, Misty heads for one of the... (full context)
Chapter 18: Last Bus
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Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
...has been reunited with her son, Chris, but still has no sign of her daughter Cassie—holds out hope. Parents are told that one more busload of students will be arriving soon,... (full context)
Chapter 19: Vacuuming
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...unexploded devices or hiding conspirators. At 10:30 p.m., there is an explosion. Misty, fearing that Cassie is still alive inside the school, worries that she has been injured by the blast.   (full context)
Chapter 32: Jesus Jesus Jesus
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Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
...son. Local pastors speaking at the event implore mourners to “seek Jesus.” Reverend Graham invokes Cassie Bernall’s name, claiming she’d “stood before a gunman who’d transported her immediately into the presence... (full context)
Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
Cassie is being hailed as a “martyr,” and local preachers see an opportunity “to unabashedly save... (full context)
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
...heard a girl profess her faith in the library, and he is responsible for spreading Cassie Bernall’s story of martyrdom. Local and national newspapers alike pick up Cassie’s story throughout the... (full context)
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Cassie’s parents “burst” with pride, and describe their daughter’s martyrdom as having thrown Columbine “back into... (full context)
Chapter 38: Martyr
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Cassie Bernall is being compared to third-century Christian martyrs, and it is predicted by pastors and... (full context)
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Misty believes her daughter had been possessed by Satan three years earlier. Cassie had disturbing letters in her possession, written by a friend but “suggest[ing] a receptive audience,”... (full context)
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Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
...“something distracted him,” and he walked away from her, leaving her alive. Val’s story, like Cassie’s, emerged the day of the attack, but took longer to gain traction in the press.... (full context)
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As Cassie’s story continues to “mushroom” and Brad and Misty are hailed as “blessed parents of the... (full context)
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...Wyant is saddened by the moral dilemma she faces: she does not want to hurt Cassie’s parents or embarrass herself, but can’t help feeling that the story of Cassie’s martyrdom is... (full context)
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Telling Cassie’s story makes the loss of her daughter more “bearable” for Misty Bernall, and someone suggests... (full context)
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...library massacre and their families. As Craig Scott walks through with family members and retells Cassie’s story, he gets the details wrong, pointing in the direction of the table where Val... (full context)
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...in the library were coming to light. Kate Battan suggested Misty take the story of Cassie’s martyrdom out of the manuscript, but continue with the account of Cassie’s life and transformation.... (full context)
Chapter 41: The Parents Group
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...it as “courageous,” recognizing that the Klebolds have no comfort whatsoever in their grief—at least Cassie died nobly. (full context)
Chapter 45: Aftershocks
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Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
...She Said Yes. The Rocky Mountain News breaks the long-hidden story of the truth about Cassie’s “martyrdom,” and the Bernall family feels “humiliated and betrayed.” The “vast Evangelical community” refuses to... (full context)
Afterword: Forgiveness
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...that makes Val feel “emotional” now—though at the time of Craig Scott’s false statements about Cassie Bernall professing her faith in the library, when Val was actually the student who had... (full context)