The Fault in Our Stars

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Life and Death Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Fault in Our Stars, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Life and Death Theme Icon

The young people in The Fault in Our Stars confront the issue of dying on a daily basis. Although the characters try to live by their support group mantra, “Living our best lives today”, every action, relationship, and experience is cast in the shadow of their impending mortalities. The theme of life and death unfolds through Hazel’s relationship with Augustus. It is no mistake that Hazel first forms a bond with Augustus through a dialog about death and oblivion during their support group. Both Hazel and Augustus are particularly sensitive when it comes to their own mortalities. They are forced to confront questions that most young people do not have to face, but their concerns revolve around common existential dilemmas, for example, how do you find meaning in life and death? How do you leave behind a legacy? How does one’s death affect others? Is there an afterlife, and if not, what is there? Their development as characters occurs through the exploration of these questions.

Their personal concerns around death develop along different trajectories. Augustus is afraid of fading into oblivion after he dies, that his life will be meaningless, and nobody will remember him once he is gone. After bringing this fear up in the support group, Hazel responds by intellectualizing the fact of her impermanence. She states that everything will die, that there was a time before consciousness and there will be a time after it. Despite her intellectualization, however, she is still deeply conflicted around the issue of her own looming mortality. Unlike Augustus’ self-centered fear of fading into oblivion, Hazel views her approaching death as an event that will severely damage those around her—like she is a grenade waiting to explode. She is primarily concerned with protecting those around her from the pain of her death. This concern causes her to distance herself from her peers and family, which limits her desire to do the things normal teenagers do. Her fear of hurting others through her passing leads to her obsession with the fictional novel, An Imperial Affliction. She identifies with the book because it presents an accurate portrayal of death and dying, but Hazel becomes obsessed by what happens after the novel's abrupt ending. Hazel longs to know the fate of the family in An Imperial Affliction after the main character passes, believing this knowledge will give her insight into the impact her death will have on her family.

Hazel and Augustus come to terms with their impermanence through their relationship. Augustus is able to realize his one act of heroism by sacrificing his wish from “The Genie Foundation” to take Hazel to Amsterdam. In a meta-textual sense, this act allows him to survive after death, as his story is told in the novel and will continue being accessed by readers of The Fault in Our Stars. Within the text, however, his legacy lives on with Hazel and her parents. Hazel also develops new understandings of life and death through her relationship with Augustus. Through their relationship, she is able to step out of her isolation and live her life for the first time, even in the face of her impending death. When Augustus’ cancer comes out of remission and he passes away, she is able to experience what it is like to lose someone you love and work through it, which allows her to come to terms with the fact that her family will be able to make it through her own death. Hazel also comes to understand that death is an event that allows us to value life. She demonstrates this understanding during Augustus’ eulogy when she says, “without pain, we would not know joy,” she understands that death is an event that allows us to live and love to the fullest. In the end, it becomes clear that life is defined by our relationships with others, and the importance and meaning of these relationships is demonstrated through the pain felt when a loved one dies.

Life and Death ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Life and Death appears in each chapter of The Fault in Our Stars. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
How often theme appears:
Chapter length:
Get the entire The Fault in Our Stars LitChart as a printable PDF.
The fault in our stars.pdf.medium

Life and Death Quotes in The Fault in Our Stars

Below you will find the important quotes in The Fault in Our Stars related to the theme of Life and Death.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time thinking about death.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker), Mrs. Lancaster
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

Hazel's mother becomes worried about her daughter, who seems increasingly despondent as of late. Mrs. Lancaster urges Hazel, who has terminal cancer, to see a doctor about treatment, since depression can be a side effect of a cancer diagnosis. In this quote, Hazel refutes her mother's logic, saying that depression is actually a side effect of dying rather than of cancer.

This opening to the novel shows the reader how Hazel typically spends her time: resting, reading, and thinking about her own impending mortality. It does seem that she has depressive symptoms, which is understandable given her terminal cancer. This passage has a certain resigned, even sarcastic tone to it, suggesting that though Hazel's rumination on the topic of death is not exactly healthy for her mental state, her diagnosis is something she has accepted. It also shows that her parents are frequently concerned about her, and devote much of their time to caring for their daughter. We can also surmise that Hazel likely does not interact with many teenagers her age, since she rarely leaves the house for fun. 


Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Fault in Our Stars quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

There is only one thing in this world shittier than biting it from cancer when you are sixteen, and that’s having a kid who bites it from cancer.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker)
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

After attending the support group for several weeks, Hazel no longer wants to go since she does not find it helpful, but continues to attend according to her mother's wishes. In this quote, Hazel acknowledges that whatever she is going through, her parents are going through an equal amount of emotional pain, if not worse. 

Throughout the novel, Hazel shows that she frequently does things not for her own sake, but for the wishes of her parents. Her parents' whole lives revolve around Hazel's medical care, and she is grateful for their love and attention. She considers her mother her best friend, and as much as she despises the support group, she is willing to put up with more sessions as long as it makes her mother happy. This shows that Hazel, despite thinking sometimes that she is a selfish teenager, is really very sensitive to her loved ones' emotions and needs, and is usually willing to put aside her desires to fulfill those of her parents. 

There was a time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be a time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker)
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

In the support group one day, a boy tells the group that his greatest fear is oblivion: that no one will remember him after he is gone. In this quote, Hazel, who finds the anxiety around death and mortality to be exhausting, expresses her nihilistic views by pointing out that oblivion is not only likely, but certain. 

While many people, like Augustus's parents, cope with hardships using religion and encouraging words, Hazel chooses the exact opposite: she chooses to believe that death and oblivion are inevitable. By embracing nihilism, and choosing not to believe in anything at all, Hazel imagines the worst possible outcome so she cannot be scared or disappointed by what is to come. Though this concept of total oblivion after death comforts her in its absolutism, it also leads to circular preoccupations where all she can do is read the same book and think about the same things as she, in her mind, hurtles mindlessly towards death. In this quote, she takes a bitter tone in asserting that most people ignore their own oblivion--something that perhaps, she wishes she, too, could do. 

Chapter 2 Quotes

Cancer perks are the little things cancer kids get that regular kids don't: basketballs signed by sports heroes, free passes on late homework, unearned drivers licenses, etc.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker)
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

Augustus is a horrible driver, and Hazel is shocked that he even has a license. Augustus says that he failed his test four times, but on the fifth, the instructor told him his driving was unpleasant, but not technically unsafe. Hazel, getting into the swing of Augustus's flirty banter, tells him his license is probably a cancer perk. In this quote, Hazel explains that "cancer perks" are ways in which kids with the disease get certain things in life due to their illness. 

At this point in the novel, Hazel is much sicker than Augustus is, but "cancer perks" are something that they both share as teenagers with the disease. Augustus's driving is unsafe due to his difficulty driving with his left leg since he has a prosthetic right leg. Hazel, who takes an oxygen tank with her everywhere she goes, can commiserate with getting special treatment. Though the perks are nice, both Hazel and Augustus would agree that they would rather be healthy than get things they don't really deserve for free. Though Hazel still retains some friends from middle school, she has a hard time relating with them due to her situation, and finds comfort in being able to talk to Augustus about what it is like to be a teen with cancer. 

“That’s exactly what we found with families at Memorial when we were in the thick of it with Gus’s treatment…Everybody was so kind. Strong, too. In the darkest days, the Lord puts the best people into your life.”

Related Characters: Augustus’s parents (speaker), Augustus Waters
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

Hazel has dinner at Augustus's house after support group one day. His parents ask them how it went, and though both teenagers despise the group, they agree that the people there are "nice." In this quote, Augustus's father notes that people were very kind at Memorial, where Augustus was treated for his cancer. He also expresses his dependence on religion to see him and his family through their son's illness. 

Like many people suffering hardships (such as having an ill family member), Augustus's parents turn to religion to cope with their son's cancer diagnosis. Augustus, though not religious himself, goes along with his parents' aphorisms and wishes to make them happy. This is similar to Hazel's wish to constantly please her parents, even when asked to do something she does not want to do. However, Augustus's preoccupation with oblivion and other nihilistic concepts show that he is not religious like his parents, and exhibits his wish to grow into his own person. Both Hazel and Augustus are at odds with their own beliefs, their parents' wishes, and the cancer that governs their day-to-day lives. 

Chapter 4 Quotes

Cancer kids are essentially side effects of the relentless mutation that made the diversity of life on earth possible.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker)
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

Hazel reads An Imperial Affliction for the umpteenth time, and reflects on how closely it aligns with her personal philosophy. In this quote, the character Anna notes that children who have cancer--a disease where a person's cells multiply uncontrollably, impairing the functions of organs--are simply a "side effect" of the cell mutation that accounts for the diversity of life on earth. 

Hazel has no tolerance for platitudes about cancer, which place the sick on a pedestal and laud them for being brave and heroic for fighting the disease. Hazel sees nothing heroic about her struggle, which consists of going through treatments that she and her parents hope will prolong her life--something anyone, brave or not, would go through. She appreciates the frankness of An Imperial Affliction, and feels comfort in the notion that her illness is just a biological product of the nature of life on planet earth. Unlike people who turn to religion to reason why someone got an illness and how they will be cured of it, Hazel prefers to turn to cold, hard logic and reason to tell herself that her terminal illness is not fate, but rather a statistical expectation of science. Her cancer has nothing to do with who she is, but rather the basic biology of her body. 

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. 

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. 

“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. 

Chapter 7 Quotes

Everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia: hers, that she is so sick; yours, that you are so well. Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/But in our selves.”

Related Characters: Peter Van Houten (speaker), Hazel Grace Lancaster, Augustus Waters
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

Augustus gives Hazel a letter that Van Houten sent, and she reads it when she gets home. In this letter, Van Houten replies to what appears to be a letter that Augustus wrote him, asking for advice on what to do with Hazel, whom he wants to date but who wants to keep him away to protect Augustus from her death. In this quote, Van Houten points out that perhaps Hazel is right to protect Augustus's feelings, since they both have hamartia (fatal flaws) due to their conflicting health prognoses. He then gives the title to the novel with a Shakespeare quote from Julius Caesar, in which Cassius notes that fault is not in fate, but in people. 

Van Houten's flowery prose is a foreshadowing of the pretentiousness with which he will greet Hazel and Augustus in Amsterdam. Hazel is touched that Augustus wrote to her favorite author asking for love advice about her, and changes her mind about wanting to go to Amsterdam after reading it. This passage is particularly heartbreaking in the context of the novel because as it will soon turn out, Augustus is actually sicker than Hazel; they are still star-crossed lovers, but not for the reasons they first appeared to be. Augustus, unlike Hazel, Van Houten, and Cassius, does believe that there is some "fault in their stars," and that he and Hazel deserve to spend time together despite what their prognoses might say. But for the time being, he respects Hazel's wish to remain apart. 

Chapter 10 Quotes

I could feel everyone watching us, wondering what was wrong with us, and whether it would kill us, and how heroic my mom must be, and everything else. That was the worst part about having cancer, sometimes: The physical evidence of disease separates you from other people.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker), Augustus Waters
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:

Hazel and Augustus are allowed to board the plane to Amsterdam before other passengers because they need "a little extra help." In this quote, Hazel expresses that she feels exposed and vulnerable being watched by the other passengers due to the clear evidence of her illness.

Hazel often feels uncomfortable with her interactions with people who do not have cancer or who are outside of her family because they treat her as if she is a fragile invalid. She hates the feeling that the other passengers are feeling sorry for her and her mother, or that she is particularly brave just because there is physical evidence that she has a disease. More than anything, Hazel wants to live with her illness in peace, and the gawking, stares, and awkwardness from others turn her inward and cause her to isolate herself from most people her own age. It is this sense of isolation that both brings her closer to and pushes her away from Augustus: he understands what she is going through, but she doesn't want to pull him into her circle of sickness. 

You could glance at Augustus and never know he was sick, but I carried my disease with me on the outside, which is part of why I’d become such a homebody in the first place.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker), Augustus Waters
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:

Hazel is embarrassed by the looks that she, her mother, and Augustus are cast as they are helped onto the airplane due to her oxygen tank. In this quote, Hazel thinks about the fact that someone could look at Augustus and surmise that he is any normal seventeen-year-old boy, but she is clearly ill. It is for this reason that she has retreated into herself and often stays at home. 

Much of Hazel's dislike for living with cancer stems from the fact that people treat her differently due to her clear illness. If she was like Augustus, and had a cancer that no one could see, she would perhaps be more outgoing and be able to balance being a teenager and being a cancer patient much better. However, she cannot stand the pity in people's eyes and how fragile they seem to think she is. Though weak in body she has a strong spirit, which no one seems to notice--besides Augustus. It is only due to their immediate bond and shared understanding of living with cancer that she first begins to break out of her shell to get to know, and come to love him. 

“I’m in love with you,” he said quietly.
“Augustus,” I said.
“I am,” he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasures of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have and I am in love with you.”

Related Characters: Augustus Waters (speaker), Hazel Grace Lancaster
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:

After Mrs. Lancaster falls asleep on the flight to Amsterdam, Hazel and Augustus remain awake. Hazel reads and recites some poetry aloud to Augustus. Abruptly, he then tells her that he is in love with her, and that he doesn't care about oblivion or future pain, but only cares about being with her. 

In this quote, Augustus speaks as beautifully to Hazel as if he himself were reciting a poem. Though he is eloquent and confident, and frequently speaks in clever, flowery language, it is clear that he has thought about these words for a very long time. Though Hazel is preoccupied about how her potential death will affect Augustus, in this quote he tells her that he doesn't care about any potential pain, since, according to their shared beliefs, everyone is doomed anyway. Since many of Hazel's friends have fallen away since she left school, she is shocked at Augustus's pursuit of her time and affection. At this point Hazel doesn't know that Augustus has received a diagnosis of cancer even more grim than hers. Like Augustus once told Hazel when they first met, he wants to spend all his time absorbing beautiful things, and what he wants for his last few months alive is to spend them with Hazel. 

Chapter 11 Quotes

It looked like an old painting, but real—everything achingly idyllic in the morning light—and I thought about how wonderfully strange it would be to live in a place where almost everything had been built by the dead.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker)
Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:

Hazel, Augustus, and Mrs. Lancaster marvel at the old-world beauty of Amsterdam when they arrive. In this quote, Hazel notes that everything feels as if it has come out of a painting, and thinks about how wonderful and strange it would be to live in a city "where almost everything had been built by the dead."

Hazel and Augustus often wax poetic about the nature of dying and the nature of oblivion--Augustus fears being forgotten after death, and Hazel has come to accept it, saying that oblivion is an inevitable part of living and dying. Hazel is entranced by the idea that people who died long ago are still alive in the architecture and beauty that they created in Amsterdam. Here, Hazel realizes that memories of the dead can come in a lot of different ways, even if specific names and events are not remembered. It is this concept that will lead her to profess her own love to Augustus, since she now realizes that in its own way, their shared existence will be remembered. 

Chapter 12 Quotes

Van Houten pursed his lips. “I regret that I cannot indulge your childish whims, but I refuse to pity you in the manner to which you are well accustomed.”
“I don’t want your pity,” I said.
“Like all sick children,” he answered dispassionately, “you say you don’t want pity but your very existence depends on it…sick children inevitably become arrested: You are fated to live out your days as the child you were before you were diagnosed, the child who believes there is life after a novel ends.”

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker), Peter Van Houten (speaker)
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

When Hazel and Augustus finally greet Van Houten at his home, they are shocked and disappointed to see what a cruel man he is. He refuses to tell them what happens at the end of An Imperial Affliction, saying that it is ridiculous to think that an author knows what happens to characters after the end of a novel. In return, Hazel refuses to believe that he doesn't know. In this quote, Van Houten nastily replies that Hazel's refusal is due to her stunted growth, which is caused by pity from her parents and others because of her status as a "cancer kid."

While Van Houten says a number of horribly offensive things to both Augustus and Hazel, this quote might be the worst. By refusing to indulge in what he dubs Hazel's "childish whims"--her desire to know what happens at the end of the book--and saying that she is the product of the very pity that keeps cancer kids alive, Van Houten is essentially saying that without pity Hazel would be dead, and by refusing to "indulge" in that pity, he is saying she doesn't deserve to live. He says that she will be an immature child until the day she dies--which he implies will be soon--and yet refuses to grant what he essentially brands to be her dying wish. This shows that Van Houten is not just a cruel man to Augustus and Hazel but also a pessimistic person who all but states he doesn't think it is worth spending the resources to keep children with cancer alive.

Chapter 13 Quotes

“You get to battle cancer,” I said. “That’s your battle. And you’ll keep fighting,” I told him.

“Some war,” he said dismissively. “What am I at war with? My cancer. And what is my cancer? My cancer is me. The tumors are made of me. They’re made of me as surely as my brain and my heart are made of me. It is a civil war, Hazel Grace, with a predetermined winner.”

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker), Augustus Waters (speaker)
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:

Hazel and Augustus go back to Augustus's hotel room in Amsterdam after meeting Mrs. Lancaster at a cafe. There, Augustus reveals to Hazel that his cancer has returned, and has in fact metastasized throughout his body. In this quote, Hazel attempts to comfort Augustus by telling him he can fight it, but Augustus feels that he's already lost the battle.

Though Hazel is vehemently against the usual cancer platitudes, they are all she can think to repeat when Augustus tells her his cancer has returned. Throughout the whole time they have known each other, Hazel has always believed that she was the sicker one, and that she needed to keep Augustus at an arm's length to ensure that he wouldn't get hurt if she died. Now, it seems that Augustus is the one who is suddenly sicker, and who cannot be consoled with any "encouragements." Hazel now has a taste of what her parents are going through, when they realize that their daughter is fighting a battle they cannot help her fight. 

Chapter 20 Quotes

I took a few breaths and went back to the page. “I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million… There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker), Augustus Waters
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

On Augustus's "Last Good Day" shortly before he dies, he has Isaac and Hazel deliver him eulogies. In Hazel's speech here, she makes a play on "Zeno's paradox" that Van Houten rambled at them about, using it to tell Augustus that the short time they had together might as well have been an infinity. 

As terminal cancer patients, Hazel and Augustus are constantly and acutely aware of how little time left they have on earth, compared to other people their own age. Though Hazel resisted Augustus' advances at first to ensure he avoided her as a "grenade," once they both decide their love is worth getting hurt over if one of them dies, they are able to enjoy their time together and glean comfort from the other person, particularly as Augustus's cancer rapidly progresses. Instead of being preoccupied by the quantitative time they have together, as many people are regarding their time on earth, they instead focus on savoring whatever time they do have, accepting that everything is relative.

Chapter 24 Quotes

“Would you like to share a memory of Augustus with the group?”
“I wish I would just die, Patrick. Do you ever wish you would just die?”
“Yes,” Patrick said, without his usual pause. “Yes, of course. So why don't you?”
I thought about it. My old stock answer was that I wanted to stay alive for my parents, because they would be all gutted and childless in the wake of me, and that was still true kind of, but that wasn't it, exactly. “I don’t know.”

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker), Patrick (speaker), Augustus Waters
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:

When Hazel attends the support group after Augustus' death, she is asked to share a memory of Augustus, and tells the group leader that she wishes she would die. In response, he asks Hazel why she doesn't. In this quote, Hazel realizes that her previous reasons for staying alive--keeping her parents happy--have changed dramatically.

Before Hazel met Augustus, she mostly kept to herself, read, and hung out with her parents. She didn't really believe there was a purpose to her life, since she was destined to die young. Essentially, she was waiting to die, living only to make her parents happy and to avoid making too many others unhappy in the process. When she met Augustus, however, she saw the beauty of interpersonal relationships and began to appreciate the simple act of living itself. As seen by how stumped she is in response to Patrick's question, she is surprised by how much her outlook on life--and death--has changed. 

Chapter 25 Quotes

I missed the future…I would probably never again see the ocean from thirty thousand feet above, so far up that you can’t make out the waves or any boats, so that the ocean is a great and endless monolith. I could imagine it. I could remember it. But I could never see it again, and it occurred to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker)
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 305
Explanation and Analysis:

As Hazel waits for Lidewij to respond about whether or not Augustus sent Van Houten drafts of a sequel before he died, Hazel thinks about all the things she will never do in life, thinking that she already "misses the future." However, she figures that this is only human, since humans always are fated to dream bigger than what they have experienced.

As Hazel begins to think of the permanence of Augustus's death, and all the things that he will not be able to do (like finish a sequel), she begins to think of all the things that she herself will never do, or never do again. However, she realizes that she is grateful for the experiences she has been able to have in her life, like seeing the ocean from an airplane, and realizes that these ambitions and wishes might have the same veracity even if she was healthy and able to do as she pleased. She feels more connected to human nature, a natural part of the cycle of life and death, and less like a "side effect" of mutation. 

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.
I do, Augustus.
I do.

Related Characters: Hazel Grace Lancaster (speaker), Augustus Waters (speaker)
Page Number: 313
Explanation and Analysis:

Hazel receives the letter Augustus wrote to Van Houten, in which he tells Van Houten that pain in life is unavoidable and that one of the best ways to be remembered is to leave scars in the form of love lost. In this quote, he writes that he likes his choices, and hopes that Hazel likes hers. In response, Hazel replies in her mind, "I do, Augustus. I do." 

Though Hazel spent so much of the novel resisting her attraction to Augustus because she was afraid of hurting him, in this letter, Augustus writes brazenly that he was not afraid, or regretful, of hurting Hazel with his own death. Though he was previously scared of oblivion, his love of Hazel made him realize that the love and pain she would continue to carry with her was his own small but important mark on the world. Through this realization, Hazel also comes to see that she should not feel guilty for being a "grenade," for as her parents tell her over and over again, they value and love her presence much more than they are in pain over her cancer. By reading this letter, Hazel is able to have closure over her relationship with Augustus, which, though "star-crossed," was an important part of the universe, and not just a "shout into the void."