What Are the Different Ways the Texts Explore the Motive Behind Someone Committing a School Shooting?’

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The readers of Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult and the audiences of ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ directed by Lynne Ramsay are given diverse perspectives on school shootings and the motives behind them. Through the analysis of the novel and film, I will extract the aims behind these shootings, and the different ways they are vindicated in the texts. Some of the other themes that are explored in the texts are; identity and living up to expectations. There is also the question, is it right to judge someone? Lastly, blame. These two texts will be analysed and compared to uncover answers to these questions, as well as the differences between the ways the incidents have occurred in the texts. The theme of identity is heavily explored in Picoult’s novel, ‘Nineteen Minutes’ and the question, of how well do we really know the people around us, is conveyed. Peter, the boy who committed the high school shooting, was bullied all the way through school and was struggling with who he was. This was evident when he went to a gay bar, because he wasn’t sure of his sexuality. He also joined the soccer team, the gay alliance at his school, and worked a couple of different jobs, trying to find his niche, all the while he was being bullied by the ‘popular’ crowd. In the movie, ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ identity was not explored as heavily. Kevin knew who he was when he was older, but as a child, he seemed confused. This is shown in his erratic behaviour. Some days, he would at affectionately towards his mother and other days, he would be really horrible, even destroying her study room. When Kevin’s father brought him his first bow and arrow set (the weapon he would later use to kill his peers), he finally looked like he fit in. Expectations, those we have for ourselves and those entertained by parents for their children and how they shape our lives was another reason used in the

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