Justin Is The Real Hero In ‘13 Reasons Why’

Netflix US & Canada

I was holding off from writing this, because I do like 13 Reasons Why and I respect what it is trying to be. Suicide and mental health are such sensitive issues. I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but it needs to be said.“High school is just 4 years”. Who you are in high school won’t define you. I promise.

During adolescence we constantly evolve. Every few years we become a different person. With that being said, I don’t necessarily believe people really “change”. As the great Brooke Davis said “ At the end of the day, you are who you are and that’s probably who you have always been”.

Your teens and early twenties are life altering years for your personality. Your character is still developing.

During your teens your frontal lobe hasn’t full developed yet. Meaning emotions can have a greater toll on you. Which is why everything feels like the end of the world to you, when you are 16. But, it isn’t. It isn’t worth giving up on life.

I hate to say this, but Hannah maybe you are just a little too sensitive? If anything her tapes proved every single character was going through something. She was far from alone. I believe in a lot of ways Hannah chose to isolate herself.

Hannah was pretty, not to be superficial, but this is high school. She may have not exactly gotten the “attention” she wanted, but being a pretty girl is a double-edged sword. What is upsetting, is that Hannah wasn’t alone in this department. Many other girls were featured in the “Hot List”.

Her own former friend Jess, got raped by her boyfriend’s best friend. As disturbing as that all is. Hannah could have found comfort, that she isn’t the only one going through this. Yet, Hannah is still proclaiming “Why Me?”.

Everyone is always going through something. The world is survival of the fittest. It is how we react to our struggle, that defines us.

Many times Hannah’s overreactions just added fuel to her fire. When Zach asked her out in the cafeteria, was it necessary to scream at him in front of everyone? Perhaps if Hannah just learned to let go, it would save her a lot of trouble. Her outbreak reactions are what caused most of the “bullying” towards her.

I am not telling anyone to be a “doormat”, or let people walk all over you.

However, sometimes it is better to just walk away. If you do not give your tormentors attention, they will get bored of you. They feed off your reaction.What kills me the most is Hannah’s problems could be minimal. Her parents are happily still married. They love Hannah unconditionally, she knows this. They even buy Hannah a car to impress her friends, for the dance.

Whereas Justin’s father is completely out of the picture. His mother seems to be a recovering addict, who puts her abusive boyfriend before her son. We watch Justin beg his mother to chose him or her boyfriend. Justin is left spending the night on the streets. After all his so called “friends” didn’t even have the decency to pick up his crying call for help. See Hannah, popularity isn’t all that it is cracked up to be?

I truly believe Justin doesn’t want to be friends with Bryce, but he knows beggars can’t be choosers. Bryce is Justin’s escape, and he needs that. He doesn’t have a home. He doesn’t have parents that love him. Hannah has that.

There are strings attached to Bryce’s kindness. Bryce may always provide a crash pad for Justin and fund his running shoes, but he wants something in return and its more than just friendship. With everything Bryce has done for Justin. Justin feels like he “owes” him. No one wants to feel indebted to someone. When Bryce comes to “collect” he is looking to use Jess as a bargaining piece. You can see it in Justin’s eyes, he hesitates. He doesn’t know what to do, he doesn’t know how to say no Bryce.

Justin is trapped, but he doesn’t commit suicide. He doesn’t give up. Despite everything he goes through at home. He put on a brave face for school. He rises above his situation.

Justin proves that you may not be dealt the best cards, but that doesn’t mean you are out of the game. Justin works hard attempting to get a basketball scholarship and escape his tragic family fate. He won’t let his poor upbringing, ruin his future.

His struggle is his motivation and that’s why he is a hero, and Hannah Baker is not.

In no way I am trying to mock, Hannah. I am not mocking mental illness, because it is real. What I am trying to say is Hannah didn’t have “real problems”, Justin did. Most of Hannah’s pain was self-inflicted and I can not pity that.

For instance Hannah knew Bryce was a rapist, but SHE CHOOSES TO GO INTO THE HOT TUB WITH HIM. What was utterly the most disappointing was the effect of Jeff’s death. Jeff didn’t want to die. He didn’t choose to die. He shouldn’t have died. Hannah saw how hurt Clay was from Jeff’s death, (as rightfully so he should be grieving).

Yet, Hannah still chooses suicide. She chooses death, even after she can see the effect it can have on everyone else. Jeff’s death should have made Hannah appreciate her own life, not take her own life. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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Jennifer Meade

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