That's what these tapes are all about. It's through her recordings, and Clay Jensen's reactions to them, that we get to know Hannah. We hear Hannah's description of her life at her most desperate and disturbed, which makes it easy to forget that she wasn't always this way.
By the end of the story, we can understand what happened to her, but we don't ever really know her – and that seems to be the feeling she got from everyone around her, too. We don't know what she was like before the thirteen experiences. And we certainly don't know how she might have felt about herself if she'd been able to get some help.
Somehow she is friends with Molly and Sam before her suicide.
Meeting Sam and Molly
Hannah met Sam and Molly when she was in 6th grade. They always hang out most often. They all went to high school. The three amigos all planned to have jobs at Presage Paper. But Hannah killed herself at the age of 16 leaving Sam and Molly themselves to go.
Creating thirteen recordings on cassette tapes is not an easy task. (We don't even know how to use cassette tapes, anyway!) Hannah's execution of the tapes is elaborately planned. She even distributes individual starred maps to her listeners, which they're supposed to follow as they listen to her recordings.
Taking all of this into consideration, we might even call Hannah manipulative. Yes, it's a harsh word, but Clay has taught us that it's okay to be angry at her, as long as we're respectful.
If we look more closely, we'll see that Hannah's angry plan doesn't do her any good either. She isn't using the tapes for self-reflection, to try to figure out how she can gain power over her surroundings. Instead, she's trying to put her listeners in her shoes – to show them how it feels to be on a list, how it feels to be accused of things and have rumors spread about them. This is an exercise in spite, and it only confirms her belief that her problems are unsolvable.
No matter how calculating she was about her plan, it's very clear from these tapes that Hannah isn't thinking straight. For example, Hannah reveals the names of some alleged criminals (Jenny Kurtz) but not others (Bryce Walker), regardless of how bad each person was to her. Also, she threatens to publicly release the tapes if her listeners don't do what she asks; but the last person on her list is Mr. Porter, who will almost certainly have to turn the tapes over to officials anyway – it's literally his job to do so.
These tapes were definitely a plan made in desperation and we can hear it both through the anger and the confusion in Hannah's words.
A Jury of Her Peers
Although Hannah tells thirteen stories, there are only twelve people on her list (she devotes two chapters to Justin). Now here's something to think about: twelve is the number of people that make up a jury.
What a terrible jury. Most of the people on the list have either spread or believed rumors about Hannah. They didn't try to get her testimony; they didn't give her a chance to present her own evidence or cross examine the witnesses – all that good stuff we learn about on Law and Order.
Now she is paying these twelve back, but the stakes are even higher. Hannah is accusing them of what could be serious legal crimes, with serious legal penalties. For many of the people on the list, Hannah's tapes could make life seriously difficult. The only difference is that these people will get the benefit of a jury if they are prosecuted.
Hannah's character can't be viewed in a vacuum. It's actually really important to think about her in the context of her relationships with the twelve people on her list. So if you want to know more about Hannah, check out their character analyses and see how they fit into her life and death.
“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.”
"and if you've receaved this lovly little box, your name will pop up.....i promise, now, why would the dead girl lie, hey, that sounds like a joke. Why would the dead girl lie. Answer: because she couldn't get up. Go on, it's OK to laugh. Well, i thought it was funny."
'That. Is. All. That. Happened. Why? Did you hear something else?"
"And that little scar you've all seen above my eyebrow, that's the shape of Jessica's Finger nail'
“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”
“No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.”
“A lot of you cared, just not enough.”
“But you can't get away from yourself. You can't decide not to see yourself anymore. You can't decide to turn off the noise in your head.”
“Sometimes we have thoughts that even we don't understand. Thoughts that aren't even true—that aren't really how we feel—but they're running through our heads anyway because they're interesting to think about.”
“If my love were an ocean,there would be no more land. If my love were a desert, you would see only sand. If my love were a star-late at night, only light. And if my love could grow wings, I'd be soaring in flight.”
“ If you hear a song that makes you cry and you don't want to cry anymore, you don't listen to that song anymore.But you can't get away from yourself. You can't decide not to see yourself anymore. You can't decide to turn off the noise in your head.”
“You can't go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is...now.”
“Like driving along a bumpy road and losing control of the steering wheel, tossing you--just a tad--off the road. The wheels kick up some dirt, but you're able to pull it back. Yet no matter how hard you try to drive straight, something keeps jerking you to the side. You have so little control over anything anymore. And at some point, the struggle becomes too much--too tiring--and you consider letting go. Allowing tragedy...or whatever...to happen.”
“When you try rescuing someone and discover they can't be reached, why would you ever throw that back in their face?''
“I wanted people to trust me, despite anything they'd heard. And more than that, I wanted them to know me. Not the stuff they thought they knew about me. No, the real me. I wanted them to get past the rumors. To see beyond the relationships I once had, or maybe still had but that they didn't agree with.''
'I meet your eyes you don't even see me You hardly respond when I whisper hello Could be my soul mate two kindred spirits Maybe we're not I guess we'll never know
My own mother you carried me in you Now you see nothing but what I wear People ask you how I'm doing You smile and nod don't let it end there
Put me underneath God's sky and know me don't just see me with your eyes Take away this mask of flesh and bone and See me for my soul
“Fun drunks make a nice addition to any party. Not looking to fight. Not looking to score. Just looking to get drunk and laugh.”
“Maybe it didn’t seem like a big deal to you Zach. But now, I hope you understand. My world was collapsing. I needed those notes. I needed any hope those notes might have offered. And you? You took that hope away. You decided I didn’t deserve to have it. ”
“And after I dropped him off, I took the longest possible route home...I explored alleys and hidden roads I never knew existed. I discovered neighborhoods entirely new to me. And finally. . . I discovered I was sick of this town and everything in it.”
“It's hard to be disappointed when what you expected turns out to be true.''
“I sat. And I thought. And the more I thought, connecting the events in my life, the more my heart collapsed.”
“Because when you're posed, you know someone's watching. You put on your very best smile. You let your sweetest personality shine.”
“When you are 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. Depending on your religion, maybe I’ll see you there.”
“I could picture life—school and everything else—continuing on without me. But I could not picture myfuneral. Not at all. Mostly because I couldn’t imagine who would attend or what they would say.”
“We all know the sound a camera makes when it snaps a picture. Even some of the digitals do it for nostalgia’s sake.”
“There are some sick and twisted people out there, Alex – and maybe I’m one of them – but the point is, when you hold people up for ridicule, you have to take responsibility when other people act on it.”
“Everything, effects, everything."