Last Updated 06 Jan 2023

The Themes of Death and Love in the Book The Faults in Our Stars by John Green

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In his book The Fault in Our Stars, John Green deals with the themes of death and love. The cancer-struck teenager Hazel Grace Lancaster is diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 13. As her mother forced her to attend a cancer support group, she meets Augustus Waters, who turns out to be the love of her life. They both are passionate about reading books, so they bond by sharing their favorite book, and encouraging the other to read their favorites. Gus arranges for him and Hazel to Travel to Amsterdam to meet her favorite author, as she hopes to have her questions answered. Unfortunately, he turns out to be an alcoholic, who has passed the prime of his existence. The fear of leaving Gus behind grows stronger, as l-labels cancer grows and makes her weaker.

She describes herself as a grenade that is ready to explode, which describes her fear of hurting everyone around her with her death which is inevitable. As Gus reveals that his cancer is back, stronger than ever Hazel's life takes another turn for the worst. Suddenly she was the one having to deal with Gus deaLh. As he died, Hazel receives a letter from her ex-favorite author Van Houten, which turns out to be pages written by Gus, trying to persuade Van Houten to write a sequel to Hazel's beloved book "An Imperial Affliction". The novel mainly focuses on the grief and pain the comes with cancer, or deadly illnesses in general. Hazel's illness makes it hard for her to bond with other people, and socialize at all, duo to her knowing that her death also has tremendous consequences for her beloved.

The fact that she will die and leave her family and friends behind, fills her with a feeling of guilt. Even though she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at such a young age, she cannot help to view herself as a burden to other people. Her love affair with Augustus brings her great joy, not only because she has her first relationship, but at the same time gains a friend that shows her the joys of life, and how to live with her destiny. She can finally show feelings towards others. Without a doubt, Hazel struggles with her faith. But as her life progresses she realizes, that even though she will die at a young age, dying is inevitable. Sadly at the time were people start showing you the compassion you always wanted, you are probably already dead, but that is the time, when it shows that you mattered and had an influence.

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Hazel goes from viewing herself to be l’the grenade that explodes and injures everyone nearby", to being a strong and independent young girl, who is ready to face her faith. Death is terrifying for everyone. The uncertainty of what happens after is something everyone will have to struggle with at some point August biggest fear is not death itself, but oblivion. The fear of oblivion plays a big role in the novel. This theme carries throughout the novel, as Gus desires to perform heroic acts before he dies to proof his significance. He fears that his significance dies with his consciousness, which is the case with many people. As Hazel points out in the support group, everyone will die at some point, but deaths immediacy to the terminally ill means they cannot avoid considering what death involves.

As both Hazel and Gus have a very present fear of oblivion, this is another point they share in their opinions about cancer and dying. What the novel suggests, is that one person's death does not consign their significance and relationship to oblivion, what ultimately makes our life matter, are the relationships we formt Another important theme of the novel is the necessity of suffering. Hazel, Augustus and Issac all have to endure a lot of physical and emotional pain, Hazel's lungs lead her to intense pain and breathing problems. Isaac loses his eyesight which causes his girlfriend to break up with him, Augustus suffers physically to the point where has to use medication so strong that it leaves him nearly incoherent.

At the same time he cannot accomplish any of the heroic acts, he put his mind up tDi But the most significant type of pain described in the novel, is the pain of losing a beloved one. This leads to Hazel's metaphor of the exploding grenades as it turns out, she becomes a victim of this kind of pain when Augustus becomes weaker. At last, she comes to understand that you cannot avoid this type of pain, simply because you cannot avoid having loved ones stolen from you by natural causes. As the novel progresses she understands that you should not avoid this kind of pain. She would never take back her love for Augustus, even though that is exactly what caused her tremendous pain. In that matter, it can be viewed as a blessing and a curse at the same time. In Augustus' words, he left a "scar" on Hazel, meaning he had an effect on her life. It is up to interpretation whether it has been positive or negative. Last but not least cancer itself is an important theme in the novel.

The novel gives us an unusual perspective on cancer. We get to see cancer patients as they are, kids. Perfectly normal individuals who struggle with their own problems growing up. Unfortunately, the sickness casts a shadow over their childhood, and happy memories can quickly turn into nightmares. But the novel also shows cancer for what it is, a cruel and terrifying illness that destroys lives, Augustus used to be a clever, small, charismatic, and loving young man, he turns into a shadow of himself throughout the book. Hazel witnesses all the stages of cancer on herself and her surroundings, and she gets to see what cancer really can do to people. The novel does not hide what cancer really is, and it does not end with a happy ending, in that way it is possibly one of the most realistic cancer-themed novels of our time.

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