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“13 Reasons Why” brings issue to forefront

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The new Netflix Original Series, “13 Reasons Why,” is an emotional rollercoaster for all viewers. This isn’t the average drama series you watch when you’re bored; it changes your perspective on a major issue for teenagers–suicide. The new Netflix Original Series, “13 Reasons Why,” is an emotional rollercoaster for all viewers. This isn’t the average drama series you watch when you’re bored; it changes your perspective on a major issue for teenagers–suicide.  Listening to the main character, Hannah Baker, who took her own life because of the people around her, was an experience that opened my eyes to the hatred in everyday life. Viewers understand the destruction and pain one word can cause, and the effect someone has on another’s life. “13 Reasons Why” is essentially a mockumentary. Hannah herself narrates, onto audiotapes, the story of her life, or more specifically,  the story of why her life ended. All thirteen tapes are given to people Hannah blames for her suicide, thus they are the thirteen reasons why. Each person who received the tapes is affected by her death, and Hannah’s death feels more like revenge to get back at her once so-called friends.  While watching, one forms connections to the characters, and grows angry towards some who have acted  in ways that drove a teenage girl to kill herself. The viewer then realizes–this isn’t fiction.  Feeling alone and hurt happens everyday, and people do take their lives. Knowing someone is suffering because of others is not okay.  People should do something about it. Hannah’s one and only faithful friend is Clay Jensen, a cute, dorky boy who blames himself for her suicide because of his purported lack of action.  He never had the guts to tell Hannah that he loved her. During their make-out session at a high school party, all of Hannah’s past experiences with other immature boys come flooding back into her mind and caused an emotional break. Clay asked Hannah what was wrong, and yet still she shut him out even though he was trying to help.  In one scene, after receiving the eleventh tape from Hannah, Clay was standing on the edge of  a cliff, threatening to jump off; this shows the emotional impact Hannah’s traumatic death had on him.  The other individuals before Clay were freaking out that he would expose everyone Hannah blamed for her suicide.  He continuously asks himself, “Did I kill Hannah Baker?” She places the blame on people for not coming to her or helping her, but did she try to help herself? When dealing with depression or other difficult events or feelings, it can be very important to talk to someone and/or to get help. ****Spoiler Alert!!****  ***Stop reading if you haven’t watched yet!*** The shocking thirteenth tape was dedicated to Mr. Porter, Hannah’s high school guidance counselor. He lied about ever seeing her or speaking to her before her death. Hannah says Mr. Porter never went after her; he let her just walk out of his office. What frustrates me is that Mr. Porter did ask Hannah repeatedly what she was feeling or thinking. Just as she did with Clay, she continued to deny her feelings, even though others were asking what was going on.  Bryce Walker, hated by most of the shows viewers, is portrayed as a disgusting and terrible character who sexually assaulted Jessica and Hannah. Bryce is a bully and an arrogant jock who walks around thinking he is the most popular guy in school. At Jessica’s party, Bryce pushes Jessica’s boyfriend out of the way, and barges into her bedroom. She is laying in bed, drunk and somewhat unconscious, while Hannah is hiding in the closet. Bryce sexually assaults Jessica and the whole time Hannah is watching the horrific scene take place.  In episode twelve, Bryce repeats his vulgar actions when he rapes Hannah. This scene was very upsetting to watch, and I think it showed people how damaging and painful sexual assault is.  It affects victims not only in a physical way, but in an emotional and mental way as well. After Clay listened to Bryce’s tape, he became outraged and went to Bryce’s house and recorded his confession. His confession then become tape fourteen.  Finally there is episode thirteen, a traumatizing scene for many viewers. Hannah’s suicide is actually shown, making it unbelievably hard to watch.  Some felt this scene was gratuitous, adding nothing but glorification to the issue of suicide.  There will be a season two of the show coming out, but the date has yet to be released.  Overall, “13 Reasons Why” is a tragic story of a high school girl that outlines a powerful message. Suicide is a tremendously difficult topic that is too often kept a secret, but rather the opposite is necessary–the issue must be discussed.  According to sptsusa.org, suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents. If ever you or a friend feels sad, down, or depressed, or is contemplating suicide–talk to someone.  Find a trusted friend, parent, teacher, guidance counselor or other adult.  They are here to help.  Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and talk to someone.   Don’t wait.

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The student news site of West Milford Township High School
“13 Reasons Why” brings issue to forefront