Lisa Green ’20
A few weeks ago, I wrote a review about the Netflix series Thirteen Reasons
Why, and why I enjoyed it so much. However, recently the series has risen in popularity and also acquired significant controversy. The main criticism is that the show — which centers on a character who has taken her own life — paints suicide in a positive light, which could potentially be harmful to teens who are already vulnerable and not emotionally stable.
My own personal opinion is that this criticism isn’t entirely valid. After all, if a viewer did take their own life, surely this show wouldn’t be the sole cause. There must be other serious issues at hand. In addition, I believe the show’s goal isn’t to portray Hannah Baker and her life as an example, but rather as a cautionary tale. The writers are suggesting that the audience should learn from every mistake each character, including Hannah, makes along the way, not to emulate them.
For the most part, our school counselor, Frederick Pratt, agrees with me. He believes the show was important to create, because it “has people talking nationally about suicide – that is a good thing.” However, he thinks it is crucial for parents and students alike to watch with a careful eye. The most harmful aspect of the series, according to Fredrick, is that “none of the characters has a positive relationship with any adult (coach, teacher or parent) – which sends the wrong message about adult relationships to adolescents.”
The purpose and key idea of the series is to create awareness of an issue that every teen knows of, but cannot necessarily personally understand. Mr. Pratt brings this situation to light, adding, “most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives.”