Love and pain in “The Fault in Our Stars”

The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green‘s most ambitious and heartbreaking story yet, being one of the most treasured and anticipated films of 2014. It brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling and yet tragic scope of being alive and in love. With its beautiful, insightful, bold and raw telling of what it really means to be alive and how pain comes part-in-parcel with both love and life, we’re taken on a journey to the deepest part of hearts, and the highest wonders of the stars and fate.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

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The film adaption of the novel was one of the most popular films of 2014, grossing over $300 million worldwide.

Directed by Josh Boone, the film features many famous actors and actresses including award-winning Shailene Woodley as protagonist Hazel Grace Lancaster; Divergent star Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters; and Paper Towns star Nat Wolff as Isaac.

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The Fault in Our Stars is the kind of story that touches the hearts of everyone and anyone who reads it, making us wonder just how much of our lives are put in the stars and in fate. It makes us question how much control we have over our own lives, and even then, how we accept the parts that we can’t. It makes us wonder if our fears are rooted in the things that we have no power over, or if we’re merely frightened by the things we unsure of and the unknown.

Most of the novel is built around these kind of ideas, and the debate over how much of our lives can we put down to fate or because of things we cause ourselves. It’s the reason for the books capturing title. It comes from Shakespeare‘s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, where Cassius says, “Men at some times are masters of their fates: / The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.” Hazel applies this to her own situation and concludes the exact opposite: the fault for their dying of cancer is not their doing, but fate’s.

Although these are more obvious themes tackled in The Fault in Our Stars, I found that there were many deeper meanings hidden between the pages.

One of these, is the idea that we’re all going to get hurt in life, especially even more so by the people we love, but we need to find those who are worth bring hurt over, and in the end, being hurt by them will be worth having loving them and been loved by them.

It’s the people and things we love most that also hurt us the most. I think it’s because we give a part of ourselves away to said things, and when something happens or if they leave us, they take a part of us with them. But in the end, we wouldn’t take back or take away the love we felt for them, not for all the hurt in the world, because it was worth loving them every second. This is a message I found when reading The Fault in Our Stars.

Hazel wouldn’t take back the love she feels for Augustus for anything, even though that love is the precise reason of her pain. The reason, as Augustus suggests in his letter to Peter Van Houten at the end of the novel, is that the pain you cause others when you leave or die is a mark that you mattered. He says he left his “scar” on Hazel, meaning her hurt her but he also had an effect on her life that she’ll carry with her always. That type of pain, the novel suggests, is necessary, and in fact it’s a part of joy, but you need to find those worth hurting over.

Augustus writes to Van Houten:

“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.” – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars.

This is probably one of the most famous lines in the novel, but it’s also one of the most important with what it conveys. One of Hazel’s thoughts, also supports this point:

“’Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”- John Green, The Fault in Our Stars.

The presence of hurt, and bad emotions and feelings, does in no way diminish the feeling of loving that person, and being loved by them. The pain and hurt you’re feeling, is worth it to having loved them.

To see my post on John Green’s novel, Paper Towns, click here.

To see my post on John Green’s novel, Looking For Alaska, click here.

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3 thoughts on “Love and pain in “The Fault in Our Stars”

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