Thirteen Reasons Why Summary
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/3] Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop greater understanding of literary structures.
Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Example Thirteen Reasons Why Summary
The faculty and students at Crestmont High School are shocked to see Hannah Baker's empty desk and learn that she has committed suicide. The student body is disturbed, but there is little discussion of the incident, and no one attends her out-of-town funeral.
Clay Jensen, a boy who had a crush on Hannah, discovers a package of cassette tapes at his front door. The tapes contain the story of thirteen reasons (people) for Hannah's suicide. Each of the 13 people who will receive the box of tapes will learn how they contributed to Hannah's decision to take her own life.
As Clay listens to the tapes, he learns that Hannah was misrepresented in rumors that spread around school. As a result of these rumors, Hannah struggled to fit in, and was betrayed and abused by many of her peers. Clay worries about his own reason for appearing on the tapes, as he agonizes over the pain Hannah expresses in her story.
Clay listens to tape #5 and discovers his connection to Hannah's death. Hannah doesn't blame him, but explains that she liked him. She describes a party where she and Clay talked for the first time. Due to their similarities and mutual attraction, they had could have become close. But after they kiss, Hannah pushes Clay away. Later, Hannah witnesses a rape and a drunk driving accident. This night is a turning point, eliminating her sense of self-worth and desire to open up to others.
All but determined to take her own life, Hannah makes one last attempt to reach out for help by talking to Mr. Porter. When he tells her to “move beyond” her troubles, she makes a final decision to kill herself. She records the tapes, mails them, and then commits suicide.
After listening to the tapes, Clay finally understands why Hannah took her own life. He is filled with grief but learns from her story. The next day at school, he skips class to reach out to Skye Miller, another girl who is showing signs of social avoidance and unhappiness.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Create a visual plot diagram of Thirteen Reasons Why.
- Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
- Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
- Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
(Use this rubric or create your own on Quick Rubric.)