|“||I recorded 12 tapes, I started with Justin and then Jessica, who each broke my heart. Alex, Tyler, Courtney, Marcus, who each helped to destroy my reputation. On through, Zach and Ryan, who broke my spirit. Through Tape number 12, Bryce Walker, who broke my soul.||”|
|— Hannah describing the short version of why they're all on the tapes, in "Tape 7, Side A"|
The Tapes are a set of 7 cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker before she commits suicide. The tapes consist of audio recordings on each side of the 7 tapes, except for the last one, where she left the last side blank, recording 13 audio recordings instead of 14 equal ones, however Clay later fills this side in at the very end. The tapes were passed down, in order, to Justin Foley, Jessica Davis, Alex Standall, Tyler Down, Courtney Crimsen, Marcus Cole, Zach Dempsey, Ryan Shaver, Sheri Holland, Clay Jensen, *Bryce Walker, and Kevin Porter. Before she died, she also sent a second set to Tony Padilla. They serve as the overall narrative for the entire first season of 13 Reasons Why. The tapes reveal the 13 reasons why Hannah chose to end her life and were created for the purpose of the subjects on her tapes learning how their actions destroyed her life and culminated in her killing herself.
*Bryce Walker never gets the tapes, we see that he is told about them in the last episode.
About the tapes
A box is found at the foot of Clay Jensen's steps. Upon opening it, he discovers that it is a shoe box containing seven cassette tapes recorded by the late Hannah Baker, his classmate and emotional crush who recently committed suicide. The tapes were initially mailed to one classmate with instructions to pass them from one student to another, in the style of a chain letter. On the tapes, Hannah explains to thirteen people how they played a role in her death, by giving thirteen reasons to explain why she took her life. Hannah has given a second set of tapes to one of their classmates, the identity of whom Clay later discovers, and warns the people on the tapes that if they do not pass them on, the second set will be leaked to the entire student body. This could lead to the public embarrassment and shame of certain people, while others could face physical harassment charges or jail time. Through the audio narrative, Hannah reveals her pain and suffering and the slide into depression that ultimately leads to her suicide. She lists her first crush, a boy who voted her "best ass in the freshman class", a former friend, a peeping Tom, a liar, a goof who takes advantage of her, a hater, a thief who steals her poems, a member of the list that already passed, a cheerleader who crashes into a stop sign, the guidance counselor, and Clay, her soul-mate, all who thought their actions were harmless, or that they wouldn't affect or scar her. They were wrong.
Tape 7, Side B
The B side of the seventh tape is recorded by Clay, it details Bryces' confession to raping Hannah, but not explicitly, as Bryce isn't aware that what he said is a confession to rape.
Clay cycles to Bryces' house to attempt to get an audio recorded confession out of him, in hopes of getting him to admit that he raped Hannah, he pretends to buy drugs from him and he starts to talk about him and Hannah, to which the extent of, is him getting beat up. However Bryce eventually unknowingly confesses to seriously sexually assaulting Hannah, which is all Clay needs, we see him make a sly smile before we see him cycle home with a joyous and relief filled scream, however we as viewers do not know that he has a recorded confession until Tony turns up at his house, they go upstairs to his bedroom and Clay puts the tape into a cassette and CD player and plays the tape, to which Tony states "He fucking confessed?!".
The tape subjects and their reasons for being on the tapes is shown below.
Who Hannah Sent The Tapes To (TV Series)
|1||Justin Foley||For taking a racy picture of Hannah on a date and allowing Bryce to spread the photo to the entire school and for sparking the rumors of her being a "slut" and for breaking her heart.|
|2||Jessica Davis||For mistakenly believing that Hannah was the reason for her breakup with Alex, calling her a slut, and then slapping her. Calling her a slut meant that Jessica had started to believe the rumors that destroyed her reputation and objectified her.|
|3||Alex Standall||For listing Hannah's ass as the best one of school in order to spite Jessica for refusing to have sex with him, this further destroying her friendship with Jessica and her reputation.|
|4||Tyler Down||For stalking Hannah and spreading her and Courtney's kiss photo over the school, and for destroying her reputation.|
|5||Courtney Crimsen||For throwing Hannah under the bus to avoid being discovered as one of the people on the kiss' photo, and for destroying her reputation.|
|6||Marcus Cole||For humiliating and attempting to sexually assault Hannah in public on their One Dollar Valentine's date to see if the rumors of her being "easy" were true, this helped to destroy her already tarnished reputation.|
|7||Zach Dempsey||For stealing the "positive notes" destined to Hannah in Communications class out of revenge for her dissing him, and for breaking her spirit.|
|8||Ryan Shaver||For stealing a poem she wrote noting her personal problems and publishing it in the school newspaper without her consent, which further broke her spirit.|
|9||Justin Foley||For not stopping Bryce from raping his girlfriend, Jessica. Hannah includes herself on this tape as well as she did nothing to stop Bryce from raping Jessica.
|10||Sheri Holland||For abandoning Hannah after she crashed her car into a stop sign which later caused the death of Jeff Atkins and then refusing to accept responsibility for her actions.|
|11||Clay Jensen||For leaving Hannah at her request, after they shared a kiss. However, Hannah notes that Clay does not deserve to be on the tapes (she confesses her admiration and like for him) but it was necessary to add him to the reasons because he was important to what happened and she wanted him to know. Hannah again includes herself on this tape as she blames herself for pushing Clay away.
|12||Bryce Walker||For raping Hannah in his hot tub, this broke her soul and pushed her to suicide. In the tapes she states that Bryce had forced her to live up to her reputation, which she knew would never go away.|
|13||Kevin Porter||For not helping Hannah after she described rape and her suicidal thoughts, he failed to realize she was asking for help when she was giving "life one more chance." This tape includes the entire conversation that Hannah had with Mr. Porter. He tells her that if she can't name Bryce or confront him, she needs to try to "move on", which ultimately, is what she does after the conversation.
|This tape includes a recorded confession of Bryce admitting that he raped Hannah Baker after Clay Jensen coerced and provoked him into confessing to his crime. This tape is later added to Hannah's set to be used against him in court.
Who Hannah Sent The Tapes To (Book)
The plot of the first season of the series is largely faithful to the book, although some details differ.
One of those differences is the exact sequence of the tapes. Much of the same events are described, but there are a couple of name changes (Marcus Cooley in the books is Marcus Cole in the Netflix series and Jenny Kurtz is Sheri Holland). Alex and Jessica's tapes exchange places, and Clay's tape comes earlier in the book when compared to the series.
|1 (Cassette 1: Side A)||Justin Foley||For giving Hannah the shoulder after their break-up, and encouraging the spread of spicy rumors afterward.|
|2 (Cassette 1: Side B)||Alex Standall||For listing Hannah's ass as the best one of school, and for destroying her friendship with Jessica and her reputation.|
|3 (Cassette 2: Side A)||Jessica Davis||For mistakenly believing that Hannah was the reason for her breakup with Alex, and for breaking her heart.|
|4 (Cassette 2: Side B)||Tyler Down||For stalking Hannah and spreading her and Courtney's kiss photo over the school, and for destroying her reputation.|
|5 (Cassette 3: Side A)||Courtney Crimsen||For throwing Hannah under the bus to avoid being discovered as one of the people on the kiss' photo, and for destroying her reputation.|
|6 (Cassette 3: Side B)||Marcus Cooley||For humiliating Hannah in public on their One Dollar Valentine's date, and for destroying her reputation.|
|7 (Cassette 4: Side A)||Zach Dempsey||For stealing the "positive notes" destined to Hannah in Communications class out of revenge for her dissing him, and for breaking her spirit.|
|8 (Cassette 4: Side B)||Ryan Shaver||For stealing a poem she wrote noting her personal problems and publishing it in the school newspaper without her consent, and for breaking her spirit.|
|9 (Cassette 5: Side A)||Clay Jensen||For leaving Hannah at her request, after they shared a kiss. However, Hannah notes that Clay does not deserve to be on the tapes (she confesses her admiration and like for him) but it was necessary to add him to the reasons because he was important to what happened and she wanted him to know.|
|10 (Cassette 5: Side B)||Justin Foley and Hannah Baker||For allowing Bryce to rape his girlfriend Jessica. Hannah includes herself on this Cassette as well as she did nothing to stop Bryce from raping Jessica. Hannah states that the reason she didn't list Bryce as a reason here is because "the tapes need to be passed on. And if I sent them to him, they would stop. Think about it. He raped a girl and would leave town in a second if he knew... well... if he knew that we knew."|
|11 (Cassette 6: Side A)||Jenny Kurtz||For abandoning Hannah after she crashed her car into a stop sign which later caused the death of Jeff Atkins.|
|12 (Cassette 6: Side B)||Bryce Walker||For raping Hannah in his hot tub, and for breaking her soul.|
|13 (Cassette 7: Side A)||Mr. Porter||For not helping Hannah after she told him about her sexual assault and suicidal thoughts, and failing to realize she was asking for help when she was giving "life one more chance."|
Hannah's Reasons Why Not
|“||Eleven reasons, she came up just short. But she left so many out, you know that, don't you? No matter how many reasons there might be 'why?' there are always more 'why not?'||”|
|— Olivia Baker to Clay Jensen on Hannah's Reasons Why Not list.[src]|
In "Bye", Olivia Baker, searching through Hannah's things, finds a list. The lists contains Hannah's reasons why she shouldn't 'leave' (kill herself). She shows this list to Clay stating that Hannah wrote it, he looks at it and she tells him that he is on there "at least once, possibly twice, did she call you Helmet?", he confirms. This makes Clay two separate reasons as to why she should stay, she also does this with her Mom and Dad. Unfortunately, the things and people on her list weren't strong enough to keep Hannah alive, keep Hannah on Earth. The list contains people and things that Hannah would considering staying alive for, in her words:
- Mom and Dad – They will blame themseleves, and it's not their fault.
- New York – I could get there someday. If not college, then after college. And maybe I could start over there.
- Clay – He will also think it's his fault, and it isn't. He'll think he could have saved me. But we can't save people, not that way at least–it's more complicated than that.
- Writing – I might–might–write something great one day. Get it published. Even be a writer. Seems unlikely–but possible.
- Dad – Loves me without question. Always wants what's best for me. Even though I'm mad at him, it would be unfair to him to leave.
- Mom – I don't know if she could live through it. She is always so on edge already. But maybe that's already my fault. I know she loves me–I wish she knew that I know.
- Mom and Dad – Worked so hard to give me a better life. Would be letting them down.
- Helmet – Is a genuinely good guy. And I genuinely like him. And maybe we're supposed to be together. Don't know. But maybe. If I go, we'll never find out.
- Maybe – Someday I could make a difference in someone else's life.
- Maybe – I'll have a kid of my own one day, and maybe she could be that someone else.
- Maybe – It's not as bad as I think it is. Maybe it will get better.