‘The Fault in Our Stars’ uses human-relatable themes to tell the story of its primary characters, Hazel and Augustus. Though the novel follows a tragic story, it shows the happy-sad relationship between the primary characters. The story’s focus on the weaknesses and struggles of its characters made it become a popular attraction for teenagers and young adults.
Love and Friendship
Love and friendship are the primary themes of ‘The Fault in Our Stars.’ Throughout the novel, John Green showed how Hazel and Augustus sailed through their love for each other. The story focused on its primary character’s relationship and showed how it slowly progressed from mutual friendship to love.
On meeting Augustus, Hazel became attracted to him, and soon, she shared her most prized possession with him. On introducing him to ‘An Imperial Affliction,’ their relationship blossoms, and after they go to Amsterdam to meet Peter Van Houten, Hazel realizes she has fallen for Augustus. After professing their love for each other, Augustus reveals that his cancer is back. Hazel begins to navigate through the experience of seeing the person she loves fade from existence.
The novel shows how powerful friendships get. Isaac and Augustus had a strong bond that lived beyond Augustus’s death; this showed the value of their relationship.
Pain and Suffering
Though the novel showed moments of happiness and love in its characters’ lives, it focused more on their reality, pain, and suffering. As a novel that narrates the struggle of living with cancer, the story of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ perfectly portrays the suffering associated with cancer.
The novel’s attention to the reality of cancer made it an extremely relatable book. After Hazel met Augustus, she realized that she could not escape her life of suffering. On meeting Peter Van Houten, she got forced to confront her reality as Van Houten told her that her ailment was nothing but an effect of evolution; this made her realize that she could never escape the pain. She had to watch Augustus gradually become a shadow of himself; this ate away at her, and when he died, she felt trapped in a cage of her pain and suffering.
In ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ Hazel and Augustus tried to navigate a life of pain and suffering while simultaneously discovering their feelings for each other. Augustus was a person who believed that leaving a mark in life was crucial. However, Hazel argued otherwise, stating that the legacy left behind by great people will turn into nothing but scars. The novel showed how Hazel, Isaac, Augustus, and other teenagers struggled to find their identity in a world of cancer and pain.
Life and Death
Death is a primary theme in ‘The Fault in Our Stars.’ Though Hazel tried to show her strength amid suffering, she admitted that her death would bring undiluted pain to her parents and those around her. Seeing herself as a time grenade, she desperately tried to protect her family from the future impact of her death. With her life getting shorter and shorter, Hazel tried to resist falling in love with Augustus because she feared that death would only hurt him more. After Augustus revealed that he was dying from cancer, Hazel began to wish that her life was a bit different. The pain of watching Augustus die tormented her.
Coming of Age
One thing the novel talks about is maturity. The loss of innocence became a crucial turning point in Hazel and Augustus’s lives as they matured into adulthood. They realized that their lives would circle cancer, pain, and death.
Analysis of Key Moments
- Hazel’s doctor and mother advise her to attend a support group.
- On joining the support group, Hazel meets Augustus, a seventeen-year-old boy who had his right leg removed due to Osteosarcoma.
- Hazel and Augustus become friends. They exchange their favorite novels. Hazel gives him ‘An Imperial Affliction,’ and she collects ‘The Prince of Dawn.’
- Augustus gets frustrated by An Imperial Affliction’s ending but learns from Hazel that Peter Van Houten, its author, has moved to Amsterdam.
- Isaac, Augustus’s friend, gets dumped by his girlfriend, Monica.
- Augustus reveals to Hazel that he has tracked Peter Van Houten’s assistant, Lidewiji Vliegenthart, and has begun an exchange of emails with Van Houten.
- Hazel and Augustus start exchanging emails with Van Houten, and finally, they get invited to Amsterdam.
- Augustus uses his genie wish to get tickets for Hazel, himself, and her mother to see Van Houten.
- Hazel meets Van Houten but discovers he is a mean alcoholic. He refuses to answer her question, and in a fit of rage, she storms out of his house.
- Van Houten’s assistant takes Hazel and Augustus to Anne Frank’s house.
- Hazel and Augustus kiss for the first time.
- Hazel and Augustus lose their virginity to each other.
- Augustus reveals that his cancer had returned and spread throughout his body.
- On returning home, Augustus’s health deteriorates, and he dies.
- Van Houten tries to apologize to Hazel at Augustus’s funeral, but she rejects his apology.
- Van Houten’s assistant tells Hazel of the letters Augustus had sent to Van Houten, and on reading one, she discovers he wrote an obituary for her.
Style, Tone, and Figurative Language
‘The Fault in Our Stars’ employs a sad but vibrant tone but the melancholy switches when Hazels falls in love with Augustus and becomes a happy tone. Hazel’s straightforwardness made the story progress rapidly as she served as the narrator from a first-person’s perspective.
The story uses similes, metaphors, personifications, and allusions to create a delicately interesting word structure. Metaphors like Augustus’s use of cigarettes created an ironic portrayal of the story’s narrative.
Analysis of Symbols
An Imperial Affliction
The book ‘An Imperial Affliction’ has many metaphorical reflections on Hazel’s life. She admitted to the book being like a Bible for her because it was one of the few novels that understood what it felt like to be dying. Hazel stated that Peter Van Houten was a writer who understood death. After reading the book numerously, Hazel became addicted to the fate of the story’s characters; this makes her travel to Amsterdam in search of answers. However, on reaching Amsterdam, she got hit by reality as she discovered that Van Houten had no suitable answer to her questions.
In the novel, Augustus kept a cigarette pack. When asked about why he had a cigarette placed in his mouth, he stated that it was a representation of trying to prove that one had power over a force of evil. The cigarette symbolizes the belief that something can only harm a person when they let it hurt them.
Throughout the novel, Hazel always uses an oxygen tank. The tank represents the blockade that stood between life and death for Hazel.
What are the primary themes of The Fault in Our Stars?
‘The Fault in Our Stars’ implements many themes synonymous with teenagers; this includes themes of coming of age, love, and identity. The novel exploited the concept of pain in its characters’ lives.
What happens to Isaac in The Fault in Our Stars?
Isaac is August’s friend who had eye cancer. When Isaac got scheduled to undergo surgery, he and Monica broke up. The surgery was successful, but he lost his eye and became blind.
Does Hazel die in the Fault in Our Stars?
Though the novel did not show whether Hazel died or not, John Green revealed that she died one year after Augustus’s death.
What do Augustus’s cigarettes represent?
When Hazel got angry at Augustus for putting a cigarette in his mouth, he told her that the cigarette was a metaphor. He explained that having the cigarette in his mouth without smoking gave him power over death.