Saturday, October 30, 2010
Thirteen Reason Why by Jay Asher
Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, is a fictional story about a teenager named Clay. One day, he finds a box of mysterious cassette tapes on his front porch. As he begins listening to them, he discovers that they were recorded by Hannah Baker, a girl from his school who had committed suicide only a few weeks earlier. "I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why" (7). There were seven tapes, and on them, she explains the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Each person that is on the tapes are a reason, and made an impact on her life in some way. As Clay continues to listen to the tapes, he starts learning more and more about Hannah, who was his crush, and the situations she was dealing with.
Hannah informs her listeners that she expects them to pass along the tapes once they are done listening to them. "The rules are pretty simple. There are only two. Rule number one: You listen. Number two: You pass it on. Hopefully, neither one will be easy for you" (8). Her goal was to have everyone who "caused" her death to know how and why it did. Most of the people either started rumors about her, made lies about her, or didn't treat her in the right way. However, they never thought there would be such big consequences due to such little things. Clay himself doesn't know what he could've done to hurt her, and waits uneasily until it was the tape that shared his story. In the end, however, when all of the rumors, lies, and mistreatments added up, it was just too much for Hannah to handle.
1. The people on the tapes didn't do anything that they thought would lead to a suicide. Each person's actions snowballed into another's, and their end result was what made Hannah take her own life. Do you think that it is fair that Hannah blamed these people for her suicide? Why or why not?
2. If you were in Clay's position and were partially blamed for a death, how would you handle it? Would you believe it was truely your fault? Would you pass the tapes on, or end them so that the other's didn't have to feel the blame, too?