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Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why


by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why Theme of Violence

Everything in this novel has a violent, painful edge to it. Hannah's tone on the tapes could even be described as violent – she is trying (and in Clay's case, succeeded) to inflict pain on her listeners. Her tapes reveal that her world is a dangerous place: many of the critical events she describes focus on extreme incidents of violence, including a possible rape and the death of a high school boy. But Thirteen Reasons Why addresses another kind of violence often forgotten in young adult literature: violence against oneself. Hannah's inability to deal with the cruel world around her leads to the ultimate act of violence when she takes her own life.

Questions About Violence

  1. We know it's not so fun to think about, but what are the different forms of violence depicted in the novel?
  2. How does physical violence impact Hannah? Which characters are violent toward her and how?
  3. Let's turn it around on our protagonist: Is Hannah violent to others? How so? Is her suicide a form of violence?
  4. How do the themes of sex and violence overlap in the issue of Jessica's alleged rape?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Hannah's decision to kill herself is influenced just as much by the physical violence she encounters as the emotional violence she is subjected to every day.

Thirteen Reasons Why is insensitive toward violence. There's too much of it and it's treated too casually.

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