The Fault in Our Stars

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Grenade Symbol Analysis

Grenade Symbol Icon
When Augustus is added to the picture, water’s symbolic nature becomes nuanced. It is no coincidence that Augustus’ last name is Waters. When Augustus dies, Hazel again describes the feeling of losing him in terms of being smashed by waves, but unable to drown. Through this experience, however, she comes to know the power of love, and is reassured that her family will survive through her own death. Water begins to represent the dual nature of suffering; that it is painful, but necessary for life. In his final letter to Van Houten Augustus describes the water in Hazel’s lungs as, “a desert blessing, an ocean curse.” Showing that water is both positive and negative depending on the circumstance. This idea also emerges in the setting of Amsterdam. The city, like Indianapolis where the bulk of the novel unfolds, is a canal city, and derives so much of its beauty from the water flowing through it. Yet Amsterdam is also constantly under the threat of rising waters. The Fault in our Stars’ epigraph, a line from the fictional novel within the story An Imperial Affliction describes water as “conjoiner rejoinder prisoner concealer revelator,” depicting the way in which water’s meaning shifts, and while it causes suffering it also leads to meaning and liberation.

Grenade Quotes in The Fault in Our Stars

The The Fault in Our Stars quotes below all refer to the symbol of Grenade. 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 6 Quotes

“I’m like. Like. I’m like a grenade, Mom. I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, Okay…I just want to stay away from people and read books and think and be with you guys because there is nothing I can do about hurting you; you’re too invested, so just please let me do that, okay?”

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker), Mrs. Lancaster
Related Symbols: Grenade
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

After realizing that she looks very similar to Augustus's deceased girlfriend Caroline, and seeing all of the condolence messages left on Caroline's Facebook wall, Hazel has a hard time interacting with her parents at dinner. Her mother accuses her of acting very "teenagery," and in this quote, Hazel tells her mom that she stays away from people because she is a "grenade" who could "blow up" (die) and unintentionally hurt those closest to her. 

After seeing that Caroline looks very similar to her, Hazel resolves to not engage in a relationship with Augustus, and Hazel becomes angry when her mother suggests she's been "going on dates." Hazel consciously stays away from people her own age, and particularly shies away from romantic relationships, so that she does not hurt people who may become attached to a girl with terminal cancer. She doesn't mind remaining close to her parents, because she knows their pain is inevitable. Hazel's metaphor of being a "grenade" is something that will guide many of her personal decisions towards Augustus throughout the novel. 

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“You are not a grenade Hazel, not to us. Thinking about you dying makes us sad, Hazel, but you are not a grenade. You are amazing. You can’t know, sweetie, because you’ve never had a baby become a brilliant young reader with a side interest in horrible television shows, but the joy you bring us is so much greater than the sadness we feel about your illness.”

Related Characters: Mr. Lancaster (speaker), Hazel Grace Lancaster
Related Symbols: Grenade
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

After Hazel's parents insinuate that she is dating Augustus, Hazel vehemently refutes this, stating that she is a "grenade" who could blow up (die) and hurt the people closest to her at any moment. In this quote, Hazel's father tells her that she is far from a grenade--she is the best part of his and Hazel's mother's life, and they wouldn't trade her for the world. 

Much of Hazel's worry about hurting Augustus stems from the pain she can see she is putting her parents through. Similar to Hazel's reasoning for her vegetarianism--she wants to minimize the number of deaths she is responsible for--Hazel wants to minimize the number of people she hurts when she loses her battle to cancer. In this quote, her father tells her that she causes them much more joy than her cancer causes her (or them) pain. This is Hazel's first step towards understanding that depriving oneself of love in the hopes of mitigating pain is not worth the struggle, and that she deserves to live her life to the fullest, without worry about what will happen after she is gone. 

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Grenade Symbol Timeline in The Fault in Our Stars

The timeline below shows where the symbol Grenade appears in The Fault in Our Stars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
...play the game, they approach a schoolhouse full of children being taken hostage. Suddenly a grenade is thrown, and Augustus dives on it, sacrificing himself to save the children. Augustus is... (full context)
Chapter 6
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
...refutes. When her mother again asks what is wrong, Hazel says she is like a grenade, and at some point she is going to blow up and harm those around her. (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...and hands the stuffed animal to Hazel. They reassure her that she is not a grenade. Mr. Lancaster tells her that she is amazing, and that she can’t understand the way... (full context)
Chapter 11
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
...thanks Augustus for the trip, but immediately thinks that she doesn't want to be a grenade. She immediately realizes that Augustus knows what he is getting into, and it was his... (full context)
Chapter 13
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
...to be mad at him, and in that moment realizes that he is now the grenade in the relationship. She understands that it is foolish to try to save others from... (full context)