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Thirteen Reasons Why
Motifs
Home
Introduction
Cassette 1 side A
Cassette 1 Side B
Cassette 2 Side A
Cassette 2 Side B
Cassette 3 Side A
Cassette 3 Side B
Cassette 4 Side A
Cassette 4 Side B
Cassette 5 Side A
Cassette 5 Side B
Cassette 6 Side A
Cassette 6 Side B
Cassette 7 Side A
The Next Day After Mailing the Tapes
Plot Synopsis
Themes
Symbols
Characters
Memorable Quotes
Reasoning for Characters Last Names
Motifs
Suicide Information Links

 

Cassettes

Hannah Baker killed herself, but before she did she recorded the story of her life on thirteen cassette tapes. Each tape is made for a different person. There are thirteen people and events that cause Hannah to commit suicide, which is shown when she says, “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:” (Page 7)

There are thirteen people that receive the tapes. After one person listens to all of the tapes, they are passed on to the next person named on the tapes. This system is explained in the first cassette when Hannah says, “The rules are pretty simple. There are two. Rule one: You listen. Number two: You pass it on. Hopefully, neither one will be easy for you.” (Page 8) These thirteen cassettes represent the life and death of Hannah Baker.

 

Number Thirteen

Hannah made thirteen cassettes tapes with the story of her life recorded on them. The number thirteen represents the thirteen events and people that cause Hannah to kill herself. The thirteen tapes are passed on thirteen times following the order in which each person’s story is mentioned on the tapes. These Thirteen people are responsible for Hannah’s death. On the first cassette Hannah explains, “ When you’re done listening to all thirteen sides-because there are thirteen sides to every story-rewind the tapes, put them back in the box, and pass them on to whoever follows your little tale. And you, lucky number thirteen, you can take the tapes straight to hell.” (Page  9)

 

Snowball

The snowball effect that is constantly mentioned symbolizes Hannah’s problems. The snowball gets bigger and rolls faster, just like Hannah’s problems become bigger. This is shown when Hannah says, “It might have stopped this snowball from picking up speed.” (Page 81) “And the snowball keeps a-rollin’.” (Page 41)

The snowball also symbolizes Hannah’s self-confidence crumbling. Eventually the snowball grows too big, crumbles and melts. Hannah’s problems become too much for her, and she decides too give up on life.

 

Yellow walkman

The yellow walkman symbolizes secretiveness. With the walkman, Clay is able to listen to Hannah’s tapes without any one around him being able to overhear what is on them. Clay explains, “I’ll take a few tapes with me and listen to them as I walk through Hannah’s old neighborhood …Or maybe I’ll take the tapes somewhere else. Somewhere private. Because I can’t listen here.” (Page 22)

The Walkman keeps the tapes secretive. Besides the thirteen people Hannah sends the tapes to, her reasons for killing herself are kept a secret as well. This is shown when Hannah says, “Can I trust the twelve of you to keep a secret? To not let my parents find out what really happened.” (Page 255)

Red Stars

The red stars symbolize Hannah’s reasons that multiply to become thirteen. Along with the tapes, the thirteen people each received a map. The map has red stars scattered about on different locations. This is said by Hannah, “About a dozen red stars marked different areas around the town.” (Page 11).

An important place mentioned on the tapes is marked on the map with a red star. Hannah wants each person to go to the marked place she mentions. That way they get a better understanding of her story. Hannah explains, “Throughout the tapes, I’ll be mentioning several spots around our beloved city for you to visit. I can’t force you to go there, but if you’d like a little more insight, just head for the stars.” (Page 12)

The red stars on the map multiply, as Hannah mentions more places on her tapes. The multiplying red stars symbolize the multiplying reasons that lead her to her death.

 

Closed Window

The closed windows are a symbol of Hannah’s feelings that are kept inside of her. The windows mentioned are described as a barrier between the outside and inside worlds. Hannah used to sleep with her windows open, so at night she could look up at the stars in the sky. After she discovered she had a Peeping Tom, Hannah shut her window. This is seen when Hannah says, “After your visits, I simply twisted my blinds shut every night. I locked out the stars and I never saw lightening again. Each night, I simply turned out the lights and went to bed.” (Page 89) Hannah again describes a shut window when she says, “I ran through the house, closing curtains and twisting shut every blind I could find.” (Page 258)

The windows also symbolize Hannah’s happiness. Hannah was happy when she could stare up at the starry night sky. The stars gave her hope, but now that her windows are shut and blocked, her happiness is gone. All the windows were shut, letting nothing inside being exposed to the outside.

Hannah keeps all of her problems and thoughts about suicide inside herself, and never tells anyone.

    

By: Hallie Berger, Adam Gorman, Becca Millman, Ari Terebelo