“Why would a dead girl lie?”: Hannah Baker as Willful Child ‘come to voice’ in 13 Reasons Why


  • Amber Moore University of British Columbia, Canada




13 Reasons Why, Sara Ahmed, bell hooks, métissage, young adult literature, willful child


This paper examines representations of hostile and benevolent sexism in the young adult novel 13 Reasons Why (Asher, 2007), and how the female protagonist, Hannah Baker, resisted such manifestations of rape culture. Hannah exercised such resistance by taking on a willful girl-child (Ahmed, 2014) subject position through the creation of her métissage of taped testimonial messages recorded for thirteen peers who in some way influenced her death by suicide. As such, her project enabled Hannah to ‘come to voice’ (hooks, 1994) particularly in response to three sexist characters – Tyler, Bryce, and part-time narrator, Clay.

Author Biography

Amber Moore, University of British Columbia, Canada

Amber Moore is a SSHRC-funded PhD candidate and Killam Laureate at the University of British Columbia, studying language and literacy education with the Faculty of Education. Her research interests include adolescent literacy, feminist pedagogies, teacher education, and trauma literature, particularly YA sexual assault narratives. She also enjoys writing poetry and creative nonfiction.


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How to Cite

Moore, A. (2018) “‘Why would a dead girl lie?’: Hannah Baker as Willful Child ‘come to voice’ in 13 Reasons Why”, Papers: Explorations into Children’s Literature, 26(1), pp. 22–39. doi: 10.21153/pecl2018vol26no1art1088.