Study Guide

Thirteen Reasons Why Choices

By Jay Asher

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Chapter 3

Why would you want to mail out a bunch of tapes blaming you in a suicide? You wouldn't. But Hannah wants us, those of us on the list, to hear what she has to say. And we'll do what she says if only to keep them away from the people not on the list. (3.69)

Clay is afraid he's being manipulated by Hannah, especially during the early tapes. It's important to him that his decision to listen be his own.

Chapter 4

It always makes me want to grab him by the shirt and push him until he lets the girl go.

But instead, every time, I pretend not to notice.

What could I do anyway? (4.25-27)

Although his name hasn't yet been revealed, Clay is talking about Bryce Walker, whose bullying he feels powerless to stop. Do you think he still feels this way after he hears Hannah's tapes? What will he do the next time he sees Bryce hurting someone?

Chapter 7

This is not obsession. It's respect. I'm living out her last requests. (7.47)

Clay continues to wrestle with his motivation for listening to Hannah's tapes and following her map. Here he's afraid of developing an unhealthy fixation on her and her death.

Chapter 8
Hannah Baker

<em>But now? The survey. For Valentine's Day. Was this just another chance to get thrown off the road? </em>(8.55)

Hannah has a really hard time trusting life enough to submit her Valentine's Day survey and get her list of potential soul mates. Because Clay chooses to treat the survey as a joke, he isn't on her list. She accepts a date with Marcus Cooley, and we know how that turns out. Can we blame Hannah for accepting the date? Probably not: sometimes we don't know if we can trust someone right away. Still, Hannah takes things personally and starts to seriously doubt whether she's capable of making good choices.

<em>I wanted people to trust me, despite anything they'd heard. [. . . ] And if I wanted people to treat me that way, then I had to do the same for them, right? </em>(8.165)

Hannah is trying to rise above her trust issues and the rumors, but the guy she experiments with, Marcus Cooley, turns out to be a total jerk. It's just more proof that Hannah can't find a trustworthy soul anywhere.

Chapter 12
Hannah Baker

<em>I couldn't believe it. And your friend couldn't believe it either, because when he grabbed the doorknob again, he didn't rush right in. He waited for you to protest. </em>(12.60)

Justin's choice to let Bryce into the room to have sex with a passed-out Jessica is an awful moment for Hannah. She knows it's Justin's fault, but her own decision not to intervene makes her feel like she's no better than him.

Chapter 13
Hannah Baker

"<em>Nobody obeys Stop signs anyway. They just roll on through. So now, because there isn't one, it's legal. See, people will thank me.</em>"<em> </em>(13.134)

We're not seeing your logic here, Jenny. Jenny's decisions to drive drunk and not report the fallen stop sign seemingly cause the death of another student. Hannah's role in this torments her and leaves her even more convinced that all her choices turn out wrong.

Chapter 14
Hannah Baker

<em>Tomorrow, I'm getting up, I'm getting dressed, and I'm walking to the post office. There, I'll mail a bunch of tapes to Justin Foley. And after that, there's no turning back. </em>(14.34)

Hannah is set on her decision to end her life. She knows that mailing the tapes to Justin will help her stick to this decision. What do you think: was there really no turning back?

Chapter 17

Skye's footsteps are growing louder now. And the closer I get to her, the faster I walk, and the lighter I feel. My throat begins to relax. (17.47)

Now <em>this </em>is a good choice. We're sure of it. Reconnecting with his middle school crush, who might be at risk for suicide herself, shows how much Clay has grown from listening to Hannah's story. He <em>does</em> have a choice, and he makes the right one.

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