The Fault in Our Stars

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The Fault in Our Stars Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Hazel’s mother wakes her up at 10am. She tells her mother that sleep fights cancer, and that she was up late reading the book Augustus had given her, which is particularly violent, but somehow enjoyable. Mrs. Lancaster says she knows that Hazel likes Augustus and she knew the support group would pay off. Finally, her mother says she has to go to class, gleefully adding that it is Hazel’s thirty-third half birthday. Hazel’s mother is thrilled about the occasion, but Hazel is not. Her mother grabs Hazels childhood bear, Bluie, from the shelf and asks her what she wants to do to celebrate. She decides to call her friend Kaitlyn and go to the mall.
Hazel gets enjoyment from the book by knowing that it brings Augustus so much pleasure. Her mother is excited because Hazel is getting out and meeting people like a “normal teenager”, but by handing her Bluie, her mother’s desire for her to still be a child shows through. The celebration of Hazel’s thirty-third birthday show the way in which Hazel’s impending death changes the way they think about her life. The brevity of her life drives her mother to celebrate it in shorter increments.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
After class, Hazel’s mother drives her to the mall. Before meeting Kaitlyn, she goes to the bookstore and purchases the two sequels to the Price of Dawn. As she waits in the food court for Kaitlyn, she sees two young kids playing on an indoor playground. They are climbing through a plastic tunnel, and Hazel thinks of Augustus’ existential dilemma over basketball.
Hazel’s interest in Augustus is shown when she buys the other two books, even though she admits it is not her style of literature. Because she is facing the immensity of her death, Hazel thinks about normal things, like children playing, in a deeply philosophical way. The kids in the tunnel, who are healthy, do not think about the meaning of their actions the way Augustus and Hazel do.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
At 3:32 Kaitlyn shows up. She greets Hazel enthusiastically in a British accent, saying, “Darling…How are you?” She is wearing big sunglasses, and a coat that fits her body perfectly. She tells Hazel she wishes she still went to high school with her because the boys have become “downright edible.” She asks Hazel about her health. Hazel tells her it’s good, and wants to tell her about Augustus because she knows it will surprise Kaitlyn that anyone as disheveled as her could meet a boy, but she does not say anything.
Kaitlyn is the epitome of a “normal teenager”. She contrasts Hazel because she goes to high school, fits her clothes perfectly, and spends her time thinking about boys, not death. Commenting on the fact that Kaitlyn will be surprised she could attract a boy shows how Hazel's cancer has lowered her self-esteem.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
Hazel and Kaitlyn then go shoe shopping. Kaitlyn is particularly picky about shoes, and Hazel notes that she is the only person she knows with toe-specific dysmorphia. Kaitlyn then grabs a pair of “strappy hooker shoes” and says, “Is it even possible to walk in these? I mean, I would just die—”, she pauses then and looks at Hazel as if to say “sorry.” Kaitlyn continues shopping while Hazel sits on one of the benches. She wants to read Augustus’ book, but decides that would be rude. When Kaitlyn is done she suggests they go to another store, but Hazel says she is tired.
The awkwardness after Kaitlyn's comment shows how cancer and disease can make the healthy uncomfortable. Things they take for granted, like normal figures of speech, take on new meaning in light of Hazel’s cancer, which comes between the two girls. Hazel’s desire to read Augustus’ book shows that her interest in him is taking on a more important role than her friendship with Kaitlyn.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
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Hazel calls her mother and tells her to pick her up at six. She notes that her “perpetual nearness” makes her feel uncomfortable. Her relationship with Kaitlyn also makes her uncomfortable, like there is a distance between them. Hazel states that normal social interactions are just depressing because it is so obvious that others feel awkward and self-conscious around her.
Although Hazel’s mother insists that she have normal teenage interactions, she is always right there, making Hazel uncomfortable and unable to realize her passage into maturity. In this passage, she clearly states that her health makes her different than others, and has a negative effect on their relationship.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
Hazel finds a bench and sits down to read The Price of Dawn. The main character of the novel, Max Mayhem, is constantly killing enemies and saving good guys. By the end of the novel, Mayhem is shot seventeen times while trying to save a blond, American hostage. Hazel knows that the series, however, will go on because Mayhem’s cohorts will continue his legacy. In the end, however, Mayhem lives.
Although it is not explicitly stated, the reason why Augustus likes these violent novels begins to become clear. Max Mayhem is an indestructible hero, and it later becomes clear that Augustus admires his strength and heroics and builds his philosophy of life off of heroic models like Mayhem.
Themes
Life and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
As Hazel finishes the book, a young girl comes up to her and asks her what is in her nose. Hazel explains that it is called a cannula, which gives her oxygen to help her breathe. The little girl’s mother swoops in, mortified by her daughters questions. Hazel explains that its alright for her to ask and offers the girl if she wants to try the cannula on. The girl tries the cannula on, and without it, Hazel feels the burden of her lungs. The girl thanks her and her mother takes her away.
Hazel’s reaction to the girl shows that she is used to these kinds of interactions, and is not afraid to educate people about her cancer. The girl’s mother’s response, however, shows the way in which people are alienated and afraid of illness. Through the book, Hazel works to normalize the experience of illness.
Themes
Life and Death Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon