The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green (Discussion with Kate Gavino)

The Fault in Our Stars

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Why is the book called The Fault in Our Stars?

It’s based on this quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, 

Cassius: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”  – Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

In this quote, Cassius seems to be arguing that it’s not fate that controls our lives, but rather that we’re in control, and that we are thus responsible.

The title The Fault in Our Stars seems to be saying the opposite. With the two main characters, Augustus and Hazel, John Green shows us of that sometimes we’re not in control of our lives.

Clearly Augustus and Hazel didn’t do anything to cause the cancer they have, yet they have to live with it. The book poses the question: is it possible to find happiness in life despite the fault in our stars?

Some themes of the book

  • Fear of death and nothingness
  • The realities of living with cancer
  • The necessity of suffering
  • Existentialism

All this heavy stuff! And yet there is COMEDY. John Green had me laughing with almost every page turn. I think that’s the beauty of this book, and why it’s so fun to read.

Notable quotes from the book:

fault in our stars quotes

When Hazel first meets Augustus in a support group, Augustus states that he fears oblivion, to which Hazel responds:

“There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle of Cleopatra, let alone you. “[p. 13]

Augustus, on his choice to hold a cigarette between his lips, but to not smoke it:

“It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.” [p. 20]

Hazel explaining her choice to be vegetarian to Augustus’s parents:

“I want to minimize the number of deaths I am responsible for.” [p. 28]

Hazon on falling in love with Augustus:

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” [p. 125]

Hazel on how she would tell her mother about the terrible incident with Van Houten:

“You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.” [p. 209]

Hazel’s Dad to Hazel on her hopelessness of oblivion, and how maybe there is something more to the Universe than they both understand:

“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?” [p. 223]

Hazel on her love affair with Augustus,:

“There is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” [p. 260]

Augustus in his letter to Van Houten:

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.” [p. 313]

Book chat with Kate Gavino

This week I’m chatting with Kate Gavino. She’s the artist behind Last Night’s Reading, the popular Tumblr blog,  and soon to be released book by the same name, Last Night’s Reading.

On her blog, she publishes drawings and quotes each week from live book readings in NYC. Here are two of her John Green illustrations:

john green fault in our starsjohn green fault in our stars

Bibliography:

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group; Reprint edition (April 8, 2014)

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The Fault in Our Stars Book Cover

 

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