Tape 4: Side B – Ryan Shaver
This entry will be a hard entry to write and I might be all over the place with this one. Now I want to say that I’ve watched the show and read the book multiple times So I could get a full understanding of the tragic tales of Hannah Baker told on cassette tapes. Now I agree of the reasons why most of the people named on the tapes are blamed by Hannah for ruining her life. Outside of Clay (for reasons I’ll explain in a future entry) the one person I feel like could be given immunity and could have been left off the tapes is Ryan Shaver. Don’t get me wrong I understand fully why he’s on the tapes and he does deserve it… but he is the only one that I kinda have no ill will towards. Ryan is a real enigma in the fact that he stands alone and separate from the other names on the tapes. He has no relationship with anyone on Hannah’s list so his story with Hannah feels like a side story compare to the other tapes.
To sum up Ryan’s tape: Hannah decides to take up writing poetry to be an outlet for her hectic life full of betrayals and stress. She goes to a poetry club meeting and meets Ryan who is excellent at writing poetry. Ryan also writes and distributes his own anonymous lost and found style magazine at their high school. Both Ryan and Hannah become good friends as Ryan helps Hannah become a better poet and tries to help her gain courage to share her poems to the public. Hannah writes a detailed poem describing her sorrow, pain and vulnerabilities in which Ryan thinks its her best work. Ryan wants her to show off her poem to everyone but she harshly rejects doing that because she doesn’t trust anyone with her feelings. One day Hannah notices her poem is mysteriously been imprinted in the latest issue of Ryan’s school magazine and everyone’s reading it mocking it tremendously embarrassing Hannah in the process. She realizes that Ryan secretly stole her poem and against her wishes published it for everyone to see. Feeling humiliated and betrayed for what Ryan did their friendship ended and she gave up on poetry.
Now let’s talk about why Ryan deserves to be on the tapes. First of all he stole from her, the very same thing I said about Zack. Ryan crossed Hannah’s boundaries and invaded her private life against her wishes. Then he exposed something that was private to Hannah to everyone to judge, kinda like how Tyler showed everyone the blurred picture of Hannah and Courtney making out in her bedroom. And finally he had to remorse for what he did. In the show when confronted by Hannah for going against her wishes he stood by what he did and did not think nothing of it on some “tough love” type steez. Ryan was an unapologetic asshole that did what he want without a care for the world other than himself so his name on the tapes makes perfect sense.
Now let’ talk about why I feel Ryan could be given a “pass” for what he did. First of all even though he went against the wishes of Hannah on publishing her poem for everyone to see you can reasonably say that he did it because he truly wanted everyone to appreciate her work and possibly bring her out of her shell. Also compare everyone’s horrible actions on the tape you can say that Ryan’s actions was never meant to do any harm. And finally unlike the other names on the list that try to act all innocent and try to cover up what they did, Ryan is an asshole but an honest asshole that owns up for what he did and doesn’t try to change the narrative. It’s unfortunate that what Ryan did ended up negatively because had the students at school actually tried to understand the meaning of Hannah’s poem and liked it then Hannah wouldn’t have gave up the one outlet she had to express her true feelings. Ryan took a gamble and sadly that gamble turned deadly.
I said earlier that Ryan’s tape feels like a side story and I say that because if you take out Ryan’s tape then the flow of Hannah’s story doesn’t change at all. With Ryan they are all the “Baker’s Dozen” but of you took Ryan off the list then they become the “Dirty Dozen” and the narrative still works out. Ultimately I’m torn about how to feel about Ryan and its only one other person on the tapes that I almost feel the same way about… but we’ll get to that other person in another entry.