By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead: Analysis of Characters Daelyn and Santana

In this essay, NQ will analyze the characterization of Daelyn Rice and Santana in the novel By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead, including aspects of why author Julie Anne Peters inserts these characters, and how Santana has an effect on the suicidal main character Daelyn Rice.

In the novel By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead written by Julie Anne Peters, Peters focuses on two main characters and their interactions and relationships throughout the course of the novel. The main character Daelyn Rice, is a suicidal fifteen year old girl who has been bullied to no return ever since she could remember. After her second suicide attempt without succeeding, Daelyn is broken way beyond repair and has not even spoken to anyone since her last suicide attempt. On the other hand, Santana is an outgoing young male who is fearless. Santana is forced to be homeschooled because of his severe reoccurring lymphoma.

Peters contrasts the qualities of Santana who wants to live so badly and lives every day like it is his last and someone like Daelyn who focuses every moment of everyday on trying to escape life and what the afterworld would be like for her. The insertion of Santana as a character tries to prove to Daelyn that many people long for what they cannot have. For example when Santana shows Daelyn the video of the memoir he recorded of his life, Daelyn is horrified. “My stomach churns,” Daelyn states as she watches the vivid and heartbreaking memoir. As the processes of chemotherapy take over, Santana is going through trauma just for the chance to live. This situation differs greatly for the destiny that Daelyn wants, but she believes more than ever that suicide is her only way out of the misery in her life.

As Santana struggles for life and Daelyn longs for death, the memoir video serves as a symbol to show Daelyn that in some aspects, some people would do anything for the life she has and for the parents who love her. Once Daelyn hears the story of how Santana’s father died tragically in a rock slide on his parent’s wedding day, Daelyn says, “A ribbon of guilt twists my stomach. I’m all Kim and Chip have too.” Daelyn is starting to feel certain emotions such as guilt that she has never felt before, after meeting Santana and his mother Ariel and hearing their story. When encountering Santana, she has to tell herself repetitively, “STOP FEELING, stop caring”(p168). This shows that Santana had evoked feeling out of Daelyn that she was extremely unfamiliar with throughout her life.

Over all, in a way, Santana did withdraw Daelyn from some of her suicidal feelings. Never did he withdraw her mind from completely from the idea of suicide itself, but Santana served as a distraction and also sparked a higher level of thinking for Daelyn. At the end of a long while, Santana has Daelyn actually speaking to him and Daelyn starts telling him more personal things about her life, such as her previous suicide attempts. Santana had a positive effect on Daelyn in a way that he gave her something that she never had before. Santana gave her a companion, and even though the book ends on suspense- in the sense that you never know the true fate of Daelyn, her developed relationship with Santana perceives one to believe that she had lived her life out to the fullest just as Santana had showed her and taught her, or that she could have blown it off and ended her life. Peters leaves this ending exclusively up to the reader’s opinion, although the strong confiding relationship Daelyn had makes the reader’s decision an even more complicated one.