Taylor Forest Heights Collegiate TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY Jay Asher (2007


Hannah Baker, a high school student committed suicide. No one expected it, no one noticed any signs of suicidal thoughts. Why would she do this? Only a select few will discover the answer. Before her death, Hannah recorded seven tapes that explained the reasons as to why she killed herself. Each tape had 2 sides, accept for the seventh. Each side was directed to one specific person and their ‘story’. The tapes went in order, from her first problem, to her thirteenth problem. Who is the 13th reason why? Justin Foley, Alex Standall, Jessica Davis, Tyler Down, Courtney Crimsen, Marcus Cooley, Zach Dempsey, Ryan Shaver, Clay Jensen, Jenny Kurtz, Bryce Walker, Mr. Porter; all thirteen suspects listed on Hannah’s tapes. But out of all of them, who impacted her life the most? Could it be her very first kiss, Justin? Justin basically started the whole thing. If it wasn’t for him, the rumors about Hannah wouldn’t have begun. He started rumors simply because he wanted to fit in and he wanted to appear ‘cool’ to his friends. A rumor based on a kiss ruined a memory that I hoped would be special… started a reputation that other people believed in and reacted to (page 30, Thirteen Reason Why). Maybe it was Courtney who affected her life the most, Courtney Crimsen. What a pretty name… You’re definitely one of the most popular girls in school. And you . . . are . . . just . . . so . . . sweet. Right? Wrong. (page 93, Thirteen Reasons Why). In order to keep her flawless reputation, whenever someone was mad at Courtney or had something against Courtney, she needed to fix the situation by being your fake friend again and that’s what she did countless times to Hannah. She used her to make herself look good. It could have been Marcus Cooley perchance. He caressed Hannah sexually without any permission or signs that she wanted him to, even after she told him to stop. As his hand was on her upper thigh he said, “Don’t worry,” (page 143, Thirteen Reasons Why) and slid his hand all the way up. Marcus was the first person to try sexy moves on her and she didn’t know what to make of it. Although it’s easy to choose and blame just one of the thirteen for her death, in reality, it was every single one of them. Each of their stories combined to generate a snowball effect. Included on the tapes was Clay Jensen. Due to the fact that he didn’t truly play a part in Hannah’s reasoning for committing suicide, many people think Clay doesn’t belong on the tapes. For others, however, he was completely deserving of being on the tapes, not because he partook in her suicidal thoughts and actions, but because he deserved to know the truth. It was obvious Clay had strong feelings for Hannah, and he made it clear himself throughout the entire book. Clay states, “Hannah filled drink orders, gave back change, and laughed at whatever Bryce said. The entire time, I wanted to march into the lobby and ask him to leave. The movie was over and he didn’t need to be here anymore,” (page 147, 13 Reasons Why). You could just imagine the jealousy spewing out of his eyes. It was only right for Hannah to create a tape directed towards him, so he would know the reasons why she ended her life and why she did not accept Clay's help. Hannah's message dedicated to Clay was a way for her to apologize to him for randomly freaking out at him at the party where they began to get to know each other, really connect, also where they kissed for the first time. Clay's tape allowed him to know how Hannah felt with him at that party and how she felt after the party. Clay, honey, your name does not belong on this list. You don't belong in the same way the others do… One of these things just doesn't belong. And that's you, Clay. But you need to be here if I'm going to tell my story. To tell it more completely, (Page 200, Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher). Hannah says herself that Clay Jensen

belonged on the tapes, just not in the same way as the rest. Some will say Clay didn’t deserve to be on the tape because he did all he could, Hannah just refused to accept it, and some will say he didn’t belong because he did not do anything harmful, clearly. Since Clay couldn’t admit to Hannah more than once that he liked her and that someone was there for her, he started believing he was responsible for her horrible decision. For a brief moment, I was able to admit it. To her. But I could never admit it again. Till now. But now, it’s too late… I deserve to be on this list. Because I might have told Hannah that someone cared. And Hannah might still be alive, (page 180-181, 13 Reasons Why). The people who say Clay belongs on the tapes are right. He does belong, solely to know. Every story on each tape would probably be considered as everyday adolescent drama to most people. So if all that was happening in her life was just normal drama that every teen goes through, why did it disturb Hannah so much? Why was she so much more sensitive than all the others? It’s the fact that little things build up over time, like the snowball effect, and that is exactly what happened to Hannah. No one knows for certain how much impact they can have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same, (page 156, 13 Reasons Why). Marcus Cooley had no compassion or sympathy for Hannah as he demonstrates while he talks to Clay, “It’s ridiculous. I don’t belong on those tapes. Hannah just wanted an excuse to kill herself,” (page 110, 13 Reasons Why). But Marcus just doesn’t understand how she was feeling and how seriously his actions may have affected her. This all leads up to the themes; lies, betrayal, rumors, reputation, guilt. Rumors and betrayal were visibly portrayed, as loyalty was prominently missing. These ‘friends ‘, (as Hannah liked to call them, acquaintances), did not have any loyalty what so ever, none of her peers could get past people’s reputations that the rumors created. They always believed them to be true too. A perfect example of betrayal by Courtney Crimsen, And yet the whole time Courtney was using me, she probably thought she was polishing up her image in my eyes. Can you say . . . backfire?, (page 110111, 13 Reasons Why). Jay Asher put a big emphasis on guilt. The people on Hannah’s twisted list must have felt some guilt. Imagine being in their shoes. How could you live without feeling guilty, knowing that you`re one of the reasons why someone killed themselves? That would be highly unlikely. In the end though, Hannah gave up. She let everything get to her and it ate her inside out. She gave up by becoming what her reputation said about her. Once she feels betrayed by everyone else, and becomes who everyone saw her as, it’s as though she betrayed herself and at the end of the day took her own life because she was unable to handle all her problems and couldn’t stay true to herself any longer. In a nutshell, Hannah’s death could’ve been caused by countless individuals, but some most likely could have prevented it if they stopped believing it was too late and began to think that it is never too late. One exact person isn’t to blame for the loss of Hannah’s life, everyone took part whether it be Justin Foley, or Marcus Cooley, every story was connected to her decision of committing suicide. Mainly though, realizing that actions or words that people may think are little, might impact someone more than it appears. Think before you speak.

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