Has a decision you’ve made ever impacted your life greatly? The answer is yes, the decisions you make affect your life everyday. Throughout this essay you will learn how the decisions and choices you make affect your future life. This is shown in Divergent written by Veronica Roth, 13 Reasons Why written by Jay Asher, Go ask Alice written by Beatrice Sparks and The Hunger Games written by Suzanne Collins.

Divergent, written by Veronica Roth is a fiction book based around a girl named Tris. This text outlines where Tris is in a situation where she needs to make a decision that will affect the rest of her life. She grows up in abnegation and has a choosing day, where she must choose which faction she’d like to go in for the rest of her life. She has the choice to stay in abnegation, with her family or to go to candor who value honesty, amity who value kindness, erudite who value knowledge or dauntless who are the protectors. Tris has grown up in abnegation who value selfless traits. She never thought she fitted where she grew up, and this feeling intensified when she took a test to see where she should go. She received erudite, abnegation and dauntless. Receiving this meant she’s divergent as the lady who supervised her test told her. Tris was warned and went home even more unsure. She was divergent, a person who didn’t fit into the society she lived in, a person that was feared by the government.  She had a choice to make on where she would choose, now based on where she’d be safest.

A decision that will affect the rest of your life is shown when Tris is at the choosing ceremony. She has 5 choices. She is about to choose abnegation, to stay with her family. In the last second she chooses dauntless. Dauntless is the daring, brave and dangerous faction which is a completely unknown situation to Tris. She made this rational decision out of knowing what she isn’t instead of knowing what she is.  After she chooses dauntless, the supervisor says, “Dauntless” announcing her decision to everyone seated in the ceremony. As she turns her parents shocked faces show their confusion. However at this point Tris is happy about her decision as she is naive to the danger she has put herself in, but only she could know that. The decision to choose dauntless outlines a decision that affects the rest of your life as that is her new home, there is no going back.

The readers learn from this situation in the text that Tris is brave and trying to figure out who she is. She thrusts herself into a dangerous situation without knowing the outcome, the writer made this a key point in the book to make the readers feel nervous. Its nerve racking as you don’t know what will happen next. The unknown happens and it makes you read more, to find out what happens. It gives an insight to another society, very different to the one we live in. Tris lives off her fears, carrying immense guilt for being who she is, for example, shooting her friend Will which happened because she’s divergent. The film gives inside to competition for your life, hard choices, putting yourself first and how it feels to be an uncontrollable person in a controlled society. 

13 reasons why written by Jay Asher is a fiction book, following the life of Clay Jensen who comes home to find a box with tapes containing “13 reasons why” his friend Hannah baker had killed herself two weeks earlier. He is shocked, confused and curious. Hannah baker had been a new student. She had one friend, called Kat, which they had a going away party as Kat was moving away. At this party Hannah meets clay and they end up kissing. After this night Clay is in love with Hannah but too shy to act on his feelings, because of this Hannah believes he doesn’t like her and moves on. She meets Justin Foley, they kissed once in a park and after he starts a rumor that she is a slut, this hurts Hannah. After this Alex Standall gives her “best ass” on a “hot or not” list, which triggers Jessica Davis, Alex’s former girlfriend to spread the rumor that it was Hannah’s fault her and Alex broke up. This hurts Hannah even more as these were her former friends, causing Hannah and Jessica to get into a fight, where Hannah slaps Jessica. After this, Hannah figures out she has a stalker called Tyler Down. Courtney Crimson helps Hannah find this out, then spreads rumors about finding sex toys in Hannah’s room during their plan to expose Tyler. Hannah, already fed up and upset about the negative attention she’s received for no reason, goes on a date with Marcus Cooley for a fundraiser. He tries to take advantage of her due to the rumors going on around, and calls her a tease when she says no. This cause’s Zach Dempsey to try and comfort her but makes advances on her as well. She says no to him and because of this Zach takes away her notes of encouragement from the only class in school she looked forward to, The bullying she had been through, leads her to write a note saying she considering suicide and published it anonymously. It was criticized harshly and that was the last straw for her.

In this situation, Hannah has a choice to end her life or to stay strong through the bullying she’s received. Quote, “How many circles can I walk in before I give up looking? How long before I’m lost for good?”. This quote is from Hannah’s poem. After nobody came to her rescue from her cry for help she decides her life isn’t worth living. The decision she made that day, did not only affect her future life but everyone around her. Everyone around her felt shocked as they didn’t see it coming. They didn’t know how much they’d hurt her until she was gone.

The writer wants you to learn from the mistakes made by the characters. The characters who spread rumors, weren’t nice and were careless to Hannah’s feelings. The writer wants the readers to get a real insight into what happens when you do these things to someone, how they feel and how they respond to the negativity flung on them. What happens is unknown as everyone reacts differently. But for Hannah’s story, Jay Asher wants everyone to know that she couldn’t handle the bullying and if she can’t a lot of other people can’t handle it too. This gives an underlying message to not ‘play with fire’ as it can create numerous problems for yourself and have great impact on those around you. The readers response ranges from saying, “don’t read it, it has suicide” to, “Hannah was bullied and it wasn’t right what happened to her”. If you have the first thought, it means you can’t handle the emotional roller coaster Hannah went through, or don’t want to face it. By writing this book, Jay Asher wants you to face it, in the realest way possible. Jay Asher wants these ‘hard to talk about’ topics to be open and comfortable as they’re a dominant hurdle in the society today. There is an underlying dark, tense and anxious mood to the book with the theme that you are responsible for your actions, this is shown by the  devastating outcome (Hannah’s death) due to her peers thoughtless bullying.

Hannah from “13 reasons why” relates to Tris in ‘Divergent’ because they have a similar choice and they make opposite decisions. Hannah lets the bullying consume her to the point where she chooses to take her own life over fight for it. Tris chooses to go into dauntless, a dangerous faction which is risking her own life but she chooses to fight the danger she is in from being divergent. Tris trains, gets inside help and doesn’t give up even when she’s in jeopardy, whereas Hannah decides it’s too much for her to handle and doesn’t fight hard enough. The relationship between the two characters tells two different stories, one positive and one negative but both outline how a single decision can affect the rest of your life.

‘Go ask Alice’ is a fiction book written by Beatrice Sparks. Following the life of 15 year old Alice. Alice’s downward spiral starts when she chooses to go to a party with a friend. She is unaware that it would affect the rest of her life. She drinks cola laced with LSD and experiences a pleasurable trip. Over the next following days she uses more drugs, loses her virginity and has concerns that she might be pregnant. Her worries trigger her to steal sleeping pills then later get a prescription. Alice makes a friend called Chris who continues using with her, they gets jobs in a boutique where they meet Shelia. Shelia invites them to a party, which they get introduced to heroin. Under the influence both girls get raped by Shelia and her boyfriend, leading them to be traumatized. They return to their home town where Alice receives social pressure from her ‘friends’ to do more drugs, she doesn’t want to do them but falls into peer pressure and gets caught in a police raid ending up on probation. She soon after runs away and experiences being homeless, continues using and supports her habit through prostitution until a priest reunites her with her family. Alice is now determined to stay away from drugs and do the right thing, and has resentment from her friends, including being threatened when she returns to school. Her former friends drug her and Alice suffers a bad trip resulting in mental and physical damage, where she goes to a psychiatric hospital. Upon her release she is free from drugs, is happier, makes new friends and has a better relationship with her family. 3 weeks later, Alice dies from a drug overdose, premeditated or accidental is not known.

An example where a decision that affects your future in ‘Go ask Alice’ is when Alice chooses to continue to take drugs after she was drugged at her first party. She chooses to hangout with the crowd that does drugs. She chooses do drugs with this crowd. It was her decision, whether or not she was thinking about the consequences. Alice soon after becomes addicted and lets her life fall apart to support her addiction. Quote, “I remembered how much I hated shots when I was in the hospital, but this is different, now I can’t wait, I positively can’t wait to try it again. No wonder it’s called Speed! I could hardly control myself, in fact I could have if I had wanted to, and I didn’t want to.” This quote vividly provides evidence that Alice enjoyed what she was doing, she wanted to do it. Alice let herself get addicted to drugs and continued to try more until she had gone too far. After she started she has clearly proved that once you start using you are influenced to continue on the road to addiction.

The readers learn about how a drug addiction can control your life in ‘Go ask Alice’. How it can change you for the worse, and have a massive negative impact on your life. The writer wants you to know how an innocent girl like Alice, had one experience that changed her instantly. The writers intention behind this was to symbolize that it doesn’t matter who you are before, drugs can change you for the worse as it did for Alice. This is seen throughout the book as Alice continues on her drug path and her life falls apart as she does. This theme creates the awareness that you can let something influence you can not know how much it’s changed you until afterwards.

Alice in ‘Go as Alice’ relates to Hannah from ’13 reasons why’ as they approach their situations differently but end up choosing the same ending for them. Alice chooses to put herself in the situations that lead her into a downward drug spiral whereas Hannah is a victim and is in situations out of her control and doesn’t want to be in them. Both Alice and Hannah let the negative result from their situations lead them to make the choice of letting it consume them. This outlines ‘A decision that affects your future’. Whether Alice takes her life or falls back into old habits, she still let the outcome of the situation be negative, which is the same as Hannah as it implies throughout ’13 reasons why’ that the bullying she received is why she took her own life.

‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins is based on a girl named Katniss. She lives in a society where there are 12 districts that serve the capitol. The districts are poor and the Capitol is rich. Every year two people from each district get picked to go to the capitol and fight for survival out of entertainment for the capitol. A boy and girl is picked, and Katniss’s little sister is chosen along with an acquaintance of Katniss, Peter. In the situation Katniss decides to volunteer to be chosen instead of watching the potential high risk of her sister dying. Katniss has no idea what situation she’s throwing herself in but she chooses to out of saving her sister. This outlines where ‘decisions affecting your future’ is outlined. Quote: “At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. I means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love”. This quote is Katniss reflecting on her decision has the shock has sunk into everyone. Her sacrifice has changed how she is seen. She is admired by others but Katniss see’s herself as a survivor as she has spent her whole life revolving her life around the survival of her family. The decision Katniss made to take her sisters place, will affect the rest of her life with major impact. This is because its a guaranteed death in her eyes but she shares this perspective as she doesn’t know her own strength.

The readers learn that Katniss had undeniable strength that she doesn’t know about but discovers. The act of sacrificing herself over her sister is a brave decision. This can be interpreted by the readers that people have strengths they don’t know about which can be brought out in certain situations. This was the writers intention, to shine light on what you are capable of when survival is on your mind. This can be related to everyday life when you go into survival mode in an extreme situation. Katniss’s love for her family and friends also comes to light as she put herself in jeopardy to keep them safe.

Katniss from ‘The Hunger Games’ relates to Tris from ‘Divergent’ as they both put themselves in situations where they are aware their life is at risk which relates differently to Alice in ‘Go ask Alice’ as Alice is aware of the danger she is in when she puts herself in the situations she does. All three outline ‘Decisions that affect your future’ as they all suffer in different ways after following through on their decisions. Alice in being mentally unwell, Tris in having to kill her friend and lose her family and Katniss in being under intense pressure to save everyone around her when she doesn’t believe she’s capable of doing so. These situations were created by the Writers to show the underlying theme of the importance of making smart decisions and thinking of the potential consequences that will be triggered. By doing this it also shows that maybe the characters made their decisions fast and ‘in the moment’ without thinking of the future, by reading their stories it gives the readers insight as to why smart decision making is very important.

In conclusion Tris from Divergent, Hannah from 13 Reasons Why, Alice from Go ask Alice and Katniss from The Hunger Games all show a situation where the decisions/choices affect the rest of their life. The characters are thrown and throw themselves in situations that they have a decision to make, which affects their future life dramatically. The choices they make in certain situations can relate to the readers in their own life as the readers will experience similar situations. For example when Katniss sacrifices herself she decides that out the the survival of her family, this can relate to people who make similar decisions like these for those they love. Situations like these relate to the readers giving them a more symbolic and an imaginable experience reading the book and increases level of understanding they have for the characters choices made throughout the book. The writer intentionally made several situations relatable to the readers to create this connection between the characters and the readers. The characters make their decisions out of bravery, awareness and love for the people around them, however the level of happiness they feel affects their decision in a negative way, leading to death in cases such as Hannah and Alice. The readers can relate to making decisions because of these reasons, for example a mother choosing to feed her child first. The point of making the readers to be able to relate to the characters is to build the understanding of why the intentions behind decision making can effect the decisions everyone makes. This shows that depending on your circumstances, decisions that you will make in your life are unknown until the situation is sprung on you, which is shown throughout the four books, ’13 Reasons Why’, ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Divergent’ and ‘Go Ask Alice to effectively make you aware of the importance of thinking before your actions and decisions as they will effect your future.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Greysea, the individual examples that you discuss for your texts are valid and show your theme. However, I am not sure that you need to outline the plot for each text first, especially when you are explaining individual scenes/sections after this.

    What would be beneficial to extend are your final lines on the multiple lessons that the reader/viewer learns about “how the decisions and choices you make affect your future life.” For example, you give some interesting statements about “putting yourself first and how it feels to be an uncontrollable person in a controlled society” and “you are responsible for your actions” etc. but you do not fully explain these final lines (which occur throughout the essay).

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