The Fault In Our Stars By John Green

2227 words - 9 pages

In John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, cancer possess every character in distinctive ways, yet this isn’t the standard cancer book, because according to the protagonist, “cancer books suck” (Green 3). Or as Gwynne Ellen Ash views the novel as a, “learning to trust, and to love, while dying […] there is no sap here, no melodrama, no maudlin schmaltz.” This is about being able to cope with existence. It’s the full human experience—filled with the lightheartedness of life and the darkness of cancer. This disease is just that, a disease. It can consume and take over the physical body, but the mind is present. Hazel Grace Lancaster is sixteen years old and has been suffering from terminal thyroid cancer since she was thirteen. Hazel is depressed, “a side effect of dying” and isolates herself from others (Green 3). However, she learns through Augustus Waters, ex-cancer patient amputee, about the true meanings of life and love. Discovering a way to live with joy and laughter even amidst extreme pain is demonstrated through the use of themes, motifs, and symbols.

Several themes are included throughout the novel, such as, the necessity of suffering, the fear of oblivion, the insensitivity of the universe, and the importance of fiction. Hazel, Augustus, and their friend Isaac all have, and or had cancer, with that there is physical and emotional pain. The buildup of fluid in Hazel’s lungs deprives her of oxygen; at one point has her rushing to the emergency room. Isaac has to surrender his remaining eye, leaving him fully blind, and leading his girlfriend to break up with him. Augustus physically deteriorates so much so that he takes pain medication, which leaves him nearly inaudible; his faces agony for future, knowing he’ll never accomplish any of the heroic things he wants to do. The characters’ pain is simply a part of living; this pain is inevitable. The death of loved ones is also inevitable, which Hazel is consistently worrying about dispensing pain on her parents and those she cares for when she dies. Through Augustus, Hazel realizes that this pain isn’t something that should necessarily be avoided. Augustus teaches her that the pain you cause others when you die is a mark that you mattered. As Augustus writes, “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.” (Green 311). He hurts her but he also affects her life for the better, and with love that will always be with her. With death being inevitable, the fear of what happens after is at hand, and with that the potential that all that's there is, is oblivion. This is Augustus’s phobia, or as he words it, "I fear oblivion, […] I fear it like the proverbial blind man who's afraid of the dark." (Green 56). This theme is what motivates Augustus's desire to perform a heroic deed before he dies to validate his significancee. He worries that his significance and his consciousness will...

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