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The Fault in Our Stars Essay
Transcript of The Fault in Our Stars Essay
The physical toll on the two main characters is the starting point for their relationship. The way the two are able to discuss their suffering leads to the mental connection that they share that no one else understands. Inevitably this leads to an emotional bond that is agonizing when one loses the other.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green effectively explores death through its physical, psychological, and emotional manifestations.
By: Sarah Minutillo
The Fault in Our Stars Essay-Redeeming Death
Death is most obvious in the physical deterioration of the body, for that is what people can see; the symptoms of death can be the hardest to control and hide. A cancer patient is unable to control the pain they feel from the cancer and how their body responds to it. “I was left on the shore with the waves washing over me, unable to drown” (Green, 105). That is how Hazel Grace described cancer, her cancer in particular. It’s hard to control any form of pain. “That’s the thing about pain… it demands to be felt” (63). The suffering from the physical deterioration of their bodies can leave them helpless and in excruciating pain. There are methods to numb the pain, but some methods aren’t seen regularly every day.
A carry-around oxygen tank or a prosthetic leg can be pretty normal in a hospital setting, but out in the real world, they stick out like a sore thumb. “I could feel everybody watching us, wondering what was wrong with us, and whether it would kill us, and how heroic my mom must be, and everything else” (144). Hazel Grace and Augustus are not regular teens. They have an illness that people too often use to isolate them and make them feel uncomfortable about. Fortunately, they found each other; another person who knows exactly what they are going through. The worst way to handle any sort of pain is to go through it alone. Whether it’s the pain shown on one’s face, the equipment they carry around, the vomiting, the fainting, the weight loss, or the blood, death is most obvious to the observer by the way it changes the physical body.
Instead of suffering “apart” as two individuals, the two main characters face the psychological consequences of dying by talking and thinking about it together – “what happens to us when we’re dying” - they “get” each other. To Augustus, if he wasn’t remembered greatly, he wouldn’t consider himself remembered at all. He is able to tell Hazel “…there is no glory in illness. There is no meaning to it. There is no honour in dying of” (217). Augustus yearned to be a hero in some way before he died. He wanted to be remembered. Being a cancer patient made that a million times more difficult. From his perspective he wouldn’t be able accomplish something that would make him “news worthy”. Hazel, though understanding, didn’t agree and was able to respond to him with, “I just want to be enough for you, but I never can be. This can never be enough for you. But this is all you get. You get me, and your family, and this world. This is your life. I’m sorry if it sucks” (241).
But as genuine as Hazel can be, she can have her doubts as well. To have death looming around every day can only negatively affect the mind. “…and I just don’t want this particular life...” (121). Sometimes life can be overwhelming, especially as a teenager, and very confusing. Throw in a little cancer, and life takes on a whole new spin, “…depression is not a side effect of cancer. [It] is a side effect of dying” (3). It was something Hazel and Augustus had to face. But facing it together gave them the support that they needed to be strong. Depression, withdrawal, and denial all mark the physiological reactions to death.
The emotional scar of death is in the loss of someone who was deeply loved. Many people fear falling in love in general, but Hazel Grace fears falling in love because of the limited time she has left. “…I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties” (99). Nobody wants to fall in love with someone who is going to die, or be the one who’s dying. Because when they’re gone, it’s over, it is the end and there is no way to get it back. Hazel Grace struggled with wanting to love Augustus and not wanting to be the one that leaves him behind and hurts him. But you really can’t help who you love. “You realize that trying to keep your distance from me will not lessen my affection for you” (122). And though Augustus knows that he will experience potential heartbreak in Hazel’s death he is still willing to take the risk in loving.
Significance is not measured in how many lives one touches, but purely how deeply they are touched. “Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity… You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful” (260). Though Augustus never became a well-known hero to the world, to Hazel he was her everything and she was his. “But then I wanted more time to fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar” (313). Death takes its greatest toll in the emotional wreckage - fear, anger, sadness and hopelessness. But it is through the emotional involvement that one may be inspired to great deeds. The true sacrifice that Gus makes is in taking Hazel to Amsterdam, knowing that he is relapsing. He has put her life above his own.
The physical, mental and emotional aspects of death in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green are effectively portrayed. Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster’s physical suffering essentially brought the two together. They were able to support each other, understanding exactly how the other one felt. But as the story tells us, death is inescapable, nothing lasts forever and the emotional anguish, undeniably, must be felt. The physical and psychological damage we experience in dying can bring out the best in us through self-sacrifice, service and love.