"They wanted to know why did what I did
Well sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world"
- Nebraska, Nebraska
Although the song is about the infamous serial killer Charles Starkweather, the closing lines seem to relate to any tragedy that has occurred. In these situations, we often struggle to find answers, and more often than not there doesn't seem to be a clear cut answer.
Springsteen sings this song in a flat, intentionally uninspired voice from the point of view of Starkweather. With another line in the song stating that he is unrepentant for his actions, it confirms that there are some actions that we just can't understand. Although it is an unpleasant thought, this song acknowledges the fact that some people are capable of evil that we cannot comprehend.
Although despair and even tragedy are not foreign to Springsteen's song writing, in most of these songs there is an underlying message of hope. "Nebraska", on the other hand, has no hope, no silver lining, no positive message at all. Most of the songs on Nebraska have a dreary, bleak message, but none more than the titular song. Even writing this entry has been depressing.