Why do some people choose to end their lives? Well for most people, it is because they are no longer happy; they have lost everything that makes their lives worth living. In Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, a girl named Hannah Baker commits suicide and leaves behind tapes that explain the thirteen reasons why she was unhappy with her life. Before she dies, she sends these tapes to some of her classmates, including Clay Jenson. As he listens to Hannah’s voice while he wanders through his town, he begins to see it and the people in it through her perspective. He begins to understand why she ended her life. Although he was too late to save Hannah’s life, he realizes he may know another classmate who might just need saving.
Here in America, we are proud of our individual rights and freedoms. We like to be able to make our own choices about where we live, where we work, whom we marry, and whom we vote to be our leader. However, sometimes it is challenging to have to make all of your own decisions, especially when it is something you are not accustomed to doing. For example, when slavery was abolished in America and slaves were set free from captivity, many of them had difficulty adjusting. As slaves, although their lives may have been terrible, they at least knew what they had to do to survive. Once they were set free, no one told them what to do or when to do it anymore; they had to make their own decisions, and that meant having to find their own food and shelter.
Similarly, in Matched by Allie Condie, the people are like slaves to their society. Just about every part of their life is carefully controlled. Citizens in this future society cannot choose where they work, where they live, whom they marry, what they wear, what they eat, or even when they die. However, most people, like Cassia have always been happy in their society. It always seems to choose what is best for them. That is, until the day of Cassia’s Matching Ceremony. This is a ceremony in which society chooses the perfect mate for a person who wants to get married. When Cassia’s best friend Xavier appears on the screen as her match, she is happy, until she begins to fall in love with Ky. For the first time, Cassia begins to doubt her perfect society. Now she has a choice to make. She can take the easy path and submit to her society where she will be well-taken care of or she can venture out into the unknown in order to fight to be with the one she loves.
Sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas. That’s why we did an exercise called Bad Idea Farming in class. We came up with a problem that needs fixing and thought of bad ideas to make it happen. I know this may sound strange, but it helped us think in better and more creative ways. Of course, many of the ideas were ridiculous, but some, the more we thought about them, turned out to be great ideas.
Like Bad Idea Farming, Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono provides a new method of thinking. It teaches a more efficient way for people to think, especially as a group. Each hat represents a different way a person should analyze a subject. The white hat only looks at pure facts, the red hat is for the emotional view on a subject, the black hat is to reveal flaws in an idea, the yellow hat shows the good parts of an idea, the green hat is for more ideas, and the blue hat is to plan the way one thinks about a problem. This thinking method provides a better way of finding solutions to the problem. At a meeting, people can use the six hats to look at a problem in the same way. It helps reduce arguing and makes people think more productively because everyone’s minds are focused on a specific aspect of a subject. It is also a helpful tool to an individual because it helps a person organize his or her thoughts and come up with more ideas.