For rights and slights,
To quell other’s mights,
More fights ensue.
But, while the world’s
Busy setting fires,
There are those
Whose fights turn dire.
Of the world, of the day,
The gloom that won’t stay away,
Time and again, they tire.
What doth thou speak of?
I know no success,
In a weeping world.
I know no euphoria
Amongst bleeding hands.
The day we each
Be the other’s saving grace,
The time when
No fight’s insurmountable,
Shall I laud this world
For its success.
13 Reasons Why, a book to television adaptation of Jay Asher’s young adult fiction, posits the transience of life and growing insensitivity among millennials. It is abundantly interspersed with prevalent concerns pertaining to suicide, sexual abuse, slut shaming, social isolation, peer pressure and so much more. Hannah Baker’s narration, of the events in her life that led her to take the plunge, is gut-wrenching to say the least. All of what she experiences brings to light exactly what’s wrong with the human mentality. Our inability to empathize, to value another person as an equal, to look beyond materialism, to take responsibility for our actions is our one-way ticket to a devastating future. Here are some reasons, drawing from the TV series, that call for a drastic change in our perceptions and the way we interact with one another:
- Live and Let Live. You are the master of ONLY your life. You DO NOT get to enforce your opinions on another. This includes, but is not limited to, judging, commenting on and mocking another person for the way they choose to carry themselves. Slut shaming is a serious affront. Somebody else’s personal decisions are none of your business. We see first hand, in the TV show, how rumors can snowball into becoming the most fallacious statements about a person’s character. Alex’s list that objectifies women is in a way the kick-starter of Hannah’s depression. The aftermath is truly appalling.
- Suicide Should Not be an Option. You may be in the worst possible situation, but remember, the sun brings with it a new start every day. Press the Reset button and Do Over. There is so much to live for, the least of which is yourself and who you could be in 40 years. Hannah’s decision to end her life is fueled by many incidents which make her want “everything to stop”. But even in the harshest of storms, it is upto us to cling onto the last thread for however long it takes. We owe ourselves that.
- High School Hierarchies are Bullshit. No amount of wealth can make you personally inferior in comparison to another high school student. It is a place for character formation and identifying your passions. Do not let it be reduced to cringe-worthy memories of bullying and succumbing to peer standards. Stand up for yourself and for others. Justin, Bryce, Marcus, Zach and the others parade around Liberty High by terrorizing others. Evidently, school hierarchies tend to place athletes at a higher pedestal, allowing them to demean the rest of the student population. It begets the questions, What about the morals being preached in school? Why are the powerful not answerable to law? What can be done to change that?
- Convenience. The pain of being someone’s convenience is starkly reflected in the episodes. Ryan publishes Hannah’s poetry in his magazine, despite being told otherwise. Bryce is of the opinion that every woman is for the taking. Sheri tries to cover up her misdeed, simply because no one of authority witnesses the accident. All of their actions, not only points to the deficiency in their upbringing, but also the skewed world view that they’ve developed, which calls for some serious attention. Keep your ground, and do not let anyone take advantage of you. Your consent is not up for bargain.
The back and forth structuring of the plot keeps us glued to Hannah’s story; as with every tape she delicately delineates the turmoil of feeling like an outsider. It has all been so realistically portrayed and the soundtrack is the final straw that leads to a whole lot of tears. Undoubtedly, some of the characters don’t intend to harm Hannah, but it is their negligence that drives a wedge between her resilience and despondence.
One other thing that infuriated me the most is the lack of parental guidance. None of the parents in the show actually make a difference. Clay’s parents keep making futile attempts to resolve matters, but it’s no good. Even the teachers, principal and the counselor are totally useless. Their greed, thoughtlessness and refusal to take action paves the way for the continued corruption of the students. Between the poetry classes, helping out at home and visiting the school counselor, we see how much effort Hannah is putting in to hang on. But… I wish people had better morals. The story of Hannah Baker, although fictitious, could be the case with many other youngsters. No one should have to feel so utterly purposeless. No one.
Final Thoughts – The ending of the show is ambiguous. While the main theme is laid to rest, quite a few questions still remain. Nevertheless, it makes for a brilliant, thought provoking TV series. One that I binge-watched simply because of its quality execution.
Rating – 5 stars on 5.
Look Around, Pay More Attention. Every drop makes an ocean and each of us can contribute towards making this world a happier place!
Life. An encyclopaedia in itself. You learn a lot from it as long as you try to understand and relate. Hence the saying goes “experience with age”. As you grow older, you experience more. Its a lifetime worth of opportunities. Make the best out of it. But that doesn’t mean taking the safe path. Its only the “best” when you make mistakes and learn from them. Knowledge is power, remember that!
I would like to think of myself as “aiming for perfection” but the fact is that I couldn’t be further away from it. I have made tons of mistakes. I may have learnt something from a few of them. There have been instances when I threw caution to the wind and just hoped (fingers crossed and all) that I would turn out lucky.
You know what keeps me going all this while? Life. Its a gift. One that I don’t want to throw away. I want to save the glossy wrapper, the ribbon and the message card decorated with intricate flowery patterns. If you sit down, take a deep breath and not think of anything for a while. Just a while. You’d realize it too – how much you want to hang onto every essence of your life. How much you want to HAVE A BLAST, EVERYDAY THAT YOU LIVE. And once you reach that realization, you get giddy with joy and excitement. But of course, all conflicting thoughts do return…….in some time, wiping away any sign of bliss you may have felt (for a fleeting second). What to do now? Give up? Isn’t that a little too easy? If you’ve signed up for a roller-coaster, wouldn’t you rather be there till the very end? Hang in there, little soldier! Life gets better, more thrilling, more…. lively 😛
So wake up, thy depressed soul. There’s a sun, waiting to shine upon thou.