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’13 Reasons Why’ puts suicide into perspective



Her name was Hannah Baker, and this is her story.

From a book, to rumors of it being a movie, and now a 13-episode Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why” puts the audience on a rollercoaster through the life, death, and aftermath of the main character Hannah Baker.

She was the new girl in town, with no friends and no idea what high school would bring her. The friends she went on to make, however, became the 13 reasons why she committed suicide. Each of the tapes describes a person, or reason, who did exactly that. The acts those classmates did range from spreading rumors and pictures to rape and causing a student’s death.

The show series jumps right into the other main character, Clay Jensen, receiving a package that he would soon find out to be a set of tapes from Hannah. These tapes go into detail, explaining the situation that caused each person to end up on those tapes. The set of tapes, which she recorded before her death, have two rules for the listener: listen and pass them on. Once the person has listened to all 13 tapes, they have to pass it to the next person mentioned in them.

Immediately, the audience is introduced to Clay as well as several other characters that will become very important as the storyline continues. These characters give more depth to the story, creating more drama between people at the school that otherwise didn’t associate themselves with each other.

Places that carry the story forward, like the playground with the rocket slide and Rosie’s Diner, are present as well as the coffee shop she and a couple friends called their “office.”

However, while the setting stays true to the original plot, it never deters the viewer from the underlying message about the real effects of suicide.

In the aftermath of Hannah’s death, posters are taped up along the walls of the hallway saying that suicide is a mistake. The school administration gave a presentation to the parents talking about the warning signs to look for in their children. However, students as well as Hannah’s parents questioned why these were not put in place before her death. During the flashbacks, she shows fairly clear signs of distress and depression, but no one did anything to help her. If anything, more negativity came her way.

The show brings up valid points about mental health in general. While a lot of it focuses on Hannah, the audience sees the emotional stress of the aftermath, especially for the students on the tapes.

Some characters experience heavy amounts of grief and resort to drugs and alcohol while others lash out at their family and friends. People begin to turn against each other, wanting to make sure the tapes don’t go on to the next person because they are afraid of it affecting their chances at colleges and scholarships. Some of the boys take Clay out on a car ride where they go almost 100 miles per hour to scare him into getting rid of the tapes. However, Hannah warns in the first tape that there is a second set of these same tapes that were left with a “trusted individual” who will release this set to the public if the rules are broken. The series takes a close and in-depth look at the various levels of how people handle tragedy differently.

From students to school administration to her family, the show depicts how this small town dealt with the sudden loss of the new girl Hannah.

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’13 Reasons Why’ puts suicide into perspective