The Fault in Our Stars

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Caroline Mathers Character Analysis

Augustus’s former girlfriend, Caroline Mathers died from brain cancer. Although Caroline does not appear in the novel, Augustus tells Hazel about Caroline’s decline and eventual passing. The details of her death shows the realities of cancer, working against the misrepresentation of those who are diagnosed with cancer as more heroic, spiritual, and noble than normal people. As she died, Caroline became selfish, impulsive, and cruel, showing the true and horrific nature of cancer.

Caroline Mathers Quotes in The Fault in Our Stars

The The Fault in Our Stars quotes below are all either spoken by Caroline Mathers or refer to Caroline Mathers . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of The Fault in Our Stars published in 2014.
Chapter 5 Quotes

“Oh,” he said. “Caroline is no longer suffering from personhood.”
“Oh,” I said.
“Yeah,” he said.
“I’m sorry,” I said. I’d known plenty of dead people, of course. But I’d never dated one. I couldn't even imagine it, really.
“Not your fault, Hazel Grace. We’re all just side effects, right?”
“Barnacles on the container ship of consciousness,” I said, quoting AIA.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker), Augustus Waters (speaker), Caroline Mathers
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

Hazel asks Augustus about his ex-girlfriend, Caroline. In this quote, Augustus tells her that she is "no longer suffering from personhood," meaning that she died of cancer. Hazel is shocked at the notion of having had someone you dated die, and to cope with the awkwardness, they quote a book that they both now love, An Imperial Affliction.

Hazel's greatest fear as a terminal cancer patient is that her death will cause pain to the people she loves, namely her parents. Augustus brushes off any unintended pain Hazel might have caused by quoting AIA, which Hazel responds to with another quote. When Hazel begins to have feelings for Augustus, and it becomes clear that he is falling for her, her immediate thought is not to give in to what she wants, but rather to ensure that Augustus, who at the time appears to be healthier than she is, is not caused pain by losing another girlfriend to cancer. These are issues that most sixteen-and seventeen-year-olds don't have to deal with, but that Augustus and Hazel understand of each other in a way that no one else in their lives does. 


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Caroline Mathers Character Timeline in The Fault in Our Stars

The timeline below shows where the character Caroline Mathers appears in The Fault in Our Stars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
...was pre-diagnosis, and had felt juvenile and sloppy. Augustus shares that his last kiss with Caroline Mathers , his ex-girlfriend who’d died of cancer. Hazel can’t imagine losing someone you were in... (full context)
Chapter 6
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
After hanging up with Kaitlyn, she goes online and looks up Caroline Mathers . She realizes that Caroline looks like her. Thousands of people had left condolences for... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...him”. She puts on some music to block out her parents and goes back to Caroline Mathers ’ tribute page. The comments on the page make Hazel worry that after she dies... (full context)
Chapter 11
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
Hazel asks Augustus about Caroline Mathers . Augustus puts a cigarette in his mouth and tells her he met her at... (full context)