Cassette 3: Side B

Summary: Cassette 3: Side B

On the tape, Hannah describes filling out a Valentine survey with one specific boy in mind. After donating money to the cheerleaders, one could find other people in the school with whom they match. Clay remembers giving fake answers to the survey. Tired, he sits on a metal bench under a streetlight.

Hannah wondered if the boys who have her name on their match list would call her because of the rumors. Clay wonders if he would have been willing to call Hannah if her name was on his list. He remembers working with Hannah at the movie theater, and that he felt jealous when she paid attention to other boys.

Hannah paid for five matches and received a printout from a cheerleader working the Valentine surveys. Although the cheerleader is unnamed, Clay recognizes from the description that it is Jenny Kurtz. Hannah was pleased with three of the matches, but for one of them, Jenny said, “Trust me… no.” Hannah says that she should have asked Jenny for an explanation, and that in a few more tapes the reason why will be clear.

Marcus Cooley calls Hannah since her name is on his list of matches. Marcus was known to be a goof-off, so Hannah wondered if she should take him seriously. Marcus invited her to Rosie’s Diner for ice cream. Clay knows that Rosie’s is marked on the map. Clay is becoming increasingly upset, listening to the tapes. Hannah directs the listener to go to Rosie’s, a popular date location and mentions that a girl she knew (who Clay realizes is Courtney) had her “first under-the-bra experience at Rosie’s while making out between the pinball machines.” 

Even though Marcus was friends with Alex Standall (from Cassette 1, Side B), Hannah still went to Rosie’s to meet him. After Hannah waited for half an hour, Marcus arrived and apologized. Hannah states that she wanted to give Marcus a chance, because she wanted people to give her a chance—to look past the rumors.

Clay receives a call from his mother, asking if he is coming home soon. Clay asks his mother if she can bring the rest of the tapes to him at Rosie’s instead.

As the tape continues, Hannah states that Marcus came to Rosie’s with a plan and did not come alone. He took Hannah to one of the back booths near the pinball machines, sandwiching her between himself and the wall. While they sat, he put his hand on her knee. When she asked what he was doing, he asked if she wanted him to move his hand. She did not answer, so he started sliding his hand to her inner thigh. 

Before going to Rosie’s, Clay decides to visit the Crestmont Theater, where he worked with Hannah, even though it isn’t on her map. 

Hannah describes trying to pry Marcus’s fingers from her thigh and looking back over the top of the booth to the other customers for help. When she mentions seeing Zach in the diner, Clay wonders why Zach’s name keeps coming up. Hannah told Marcus to stop, but he told her not to worry and slid his hand up farther, so she shoved him out of the booth onto the floor. Hannah says that it should have been funny to everyone in the diner, but no one laughed. They knew what was happening but didn’t help her. Marcus loudly called Hannah a “tease” and left. 

Hannah summarizes the events thus far: her first kiss, the rumors, Alex using her to make Jessica mad, and then Marcus taking advantage of Hannah’s insecurity. Hannah says that the next day, she decided to find out how people at school would react if one of the students never came back.

Arriving at the theater where he worked with Hannah, Clay feels that he failed his chance to reach Hannah. He is also angry with Hannah for committing suicide. Clay remembers Bryce Walker talking to Hannah while she was working the concession stand. Bryce’s date had stormed out during the movie, but Hannah talked to him and laughed at his jokes. After Bryce left, Clay tried to ask Hannah about the exchange, but she told him she realizes what Bryce is like. Then Hannah told Clay that he didn’t need to watch out for her. But Clay did want to watch out for Hannah and thinks that he should have tried harder.

Analysis: Cassette 3: Side B

By making the tapes, Hannah tries to correct some of the false perceptions that she knows will live on after her death. Ms. Benson describes a photo of Hannah and Courtney at a party as two friends having a great time, showing that photographs don’t necessarily reflect truth. Ms. Benson’s comment that the photo allows everyone to enjoy the beautiful moment forever is ironic because the moment doesn’t show true friendship. Considering Hannah’s story, the image shows a moment of betrayal. The contrast between appearance and reality turns up again when Hannah reviews her list of Valentine matches with the cheerleader in the office. Hannah’s intrigued by one name because he’s cute, but the cheerleader lets her know his good looks don’t make up for his terrible behavior. This brief exchange foreshadows Bryce Walker’s part in the story and reinforces the idea that appearances are deceiving. When Clay fills out his Valentine survey as a fictional character, he’s literally hiding behind a made-up persona. Throughout the novel, appearances and reality clash, and complications follow.

Cassette 3: Side B demonstrates how people limit themselves by believing what they are told even when it contradicts with their own experience. Throughout the novel, Hannah struggles to be seen as more than her reputation, which is based on lies that spread out of control. However, even though the stories are untrue, people continue to believe them. Though Clay likes Hannah and wants to get to know her better, he lets her reputation stand in the way. Even though her behavior doesn’t match up with her reputation, Clay won’t ask her out, demonstrating that he trusts the opinions of others more than he trusts his own feelings. When Marcus asks Hannah out, she accepts because he has a reputation as a harmless goof, but she’s worried about his friendship with Alex. However, because she wants people to look beyond her bad reputation and get to know her, she chooses to do the same for Marcus. Reputations, whether deserved or not, tend to stick, limiting the ability of other people to see past their pre-conceived judgements.

While each of the characters mentioned on the tape might consider their part in Hannah’s story minimal, this section shows how each small transgression contributed to the overall damage. As Hannah shares the story of Marcus’s unwanted advances at Rosie’s, she draws connections between the event and other moments in her life. Justin’s exaggeration of their first kiss was the starting point. It motivated Alex to include Hannah on his list, which led to Jessica’s accusations of betrayal, which motivated Tyler’s spying and Courtney’s lies. Hannah’s reputation attracts Marcus’s attention and leads to him to bring an audience to witness how far he can get with her on their date. For Hannah, each moment, starting with Justin’s rumor, connects directly to the next. Everyone who played any role is complicit. Through listening to Hannah’s story, Clay can see how every small lie can cause immense hurt when no one has the courage to correct it or change its course.

Hannah and Clay share the same struggle of wanting to connect with others but failing to do so. Hannah struggles to establish a genuine relationship with any of the characters. When Hannah takes the photo with Courtney, it’s not because the girls are friends, but because Hannah caught Courtney lying and wants her to drop her perfect façade. When Hannah ponders giving up and wonders what people will think if she never returns to school, she shows a lack of genuine connection in her life. Clay is the character who gets closest to connecting with Hannah. He admits that he got a job at the movie theatre because Hannah works there, but he’s too put off by her reputation to get to know the real her. Although Hannah feels like no one at school cares about her, when Clay tries to warn her about Bryce, she pushes back against his attempt at connection. Clay only gets to truly know and connect with Hannah through the tapes after her death. Hannah’s story proves that connection to others is vital, and that a person needs to feel truly seen and understood in order to experience emotional fulfillment.