How does Thirteen Reasons Why show the theme of "all of our actions have consequences?"

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Thirteen Reasons Why emobdies the theme of how individual actions carry consequences.  Some of these are intended, and others are not.  Yet, the reality is that Hannah feels then need to take her own life because of the consequences of the actions of those around her.  The initial causation of Hannah's thirteeen reasons, Justin, represents this:  "a rumor based on a kiss started a reputation that other people believed in and reacted to...(creating) a snowball effect."  This helps to illuminate how a rumor and individual action carries consequences.  The dialectic of cause and effect, action and consequence, dots the cassette tapes and Hannah's narrative focus.  

This conditon is something that Hannah repeats in her recordings.  She addresses this directly to her listeners in her narration:  "I know you didn't mean to let me down. In fact, most of you listening probably had no idea what you were truly doing."  This admission embodies the theme that individual action has consequences. Hannah's story compels the listener to recognize that their actions carry implications and whether planned or not, one must acknowledge this condition of being in the world.  Even the mere passage of the cassette tapes involves a direct action and consequence.  The second set of tapes is released on a wider scale if one chooses not to acknowledge their responsibility in passing the tapes on to another individual.  Hannah's point is that "everything affects everything."  Actions cannot be seen in isolation for there are direct and indirect implications to each decision made and action taken:  "You have to take responsibility when other people act on it."   It is for this reason that Hannah's point is that individuals must accept the responsibility that come with their actions proves the theme of connection between action and consequence.

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