The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Eight days after the pre-funeral Augustus dies. His mom calls Hazel at 3:30 am to tell her Augustus is gone. Her parents come in and hold her, and as they do, Hazel knows that they are terrified that they will experience her death soon too. She calls Isaac who curses God, and when she hangs up with him, she realizes there is no one else to call, and the only person she wants to talk to about Augustus’ death is Augustus himself. Hazel notes that the last days they’d spent together were in recollection, but now the even the pleasure of remembering is gone because there is no one to remember with.
In the despair of having lost Augustus, Hazel can’t help but think of her own death and the way it will impact her parents. Isaac curses God, which depicts his anger, but also reveals that he has a belief in God. Hazel begins to experience the loss of the person she loved. In this moment, she realizes she is losing more than just Augustus, but also all of the memories they shared.
Themes
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Life and Death Theme Icon
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Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
Hazel remembers the nurses in the hospital asking her to rate her pain on a scale of 1 to 10. One time when she was experiencing immense pain that could have been a ten, she held up nine fingers. Later the nurse told her she was a fighter because she called a ten a nine. She says that she was saving the ten, and that Augustus’ death was it. She describes the pain as a waves tossing her against the rocks again and again, leaving her face up in the water, un-drowned.
Through her description of the pain as a 10 on the scale, Hazel reveals that losing Augustus is the worst pain she’s ever experienced. Hazel uses the image of drowning to describe the pain she feels, continuing the symbol of water as it relates to Hazel’s suffering. It also connects to Augustus’ last name, Waters, because he has become the source of her greatest pain.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
Later, she calls Augustus’ phone and lets it ring until it goes to voicemail. After the message begins recording, she listens to the silence wishing for the secret “third-space” she used to experience while talking to him. She goes on his wall page where people are already writing messages to him. The messages from healthy people frustrate her. One of the people who posted wrote, “I bet you are already playing ball in heaven.” Hazel imagines Augustus’ witty responses to the post, and notes that the posts say more about the people posting them than they do Augustus.
The silence as she wishes for their “third space” metaphorically represents the fact that Augustus is gone and the emptiness Hazel feels because of it. The messages frustrate her because healthy people are unable to understand what dying of cancer is really like. Hazel suggests people are posting for their own sake to feel better about themselves, rather than out of a true love or understanding of Augustus.
Themes
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Augustus’ parents call Hazel to tell her the funeral will be in five days. She doesn't want to go because she imagines the room full of people who didn't really know Augustus, but she knows she has to go. After the phone call she goes back to his wall and writes a post about the way in which Augustus had not died after a lengthy battle with cancer, but had died from a battle with human consciousness. She waits for people to respond, but nobody does. As she waits, she remembers Van Houten’s letter, in which he states, “writing does not resurrect. It buries.”
Hazel does not want the deep relationship she had with Augustus to be interfered with by people who didn’t really know him as she did. Her post attempts to tell the truth about Augustus' life and death, but people are not interested in her philosophy, because they are more interested in assuaging their own pain than honoring Augustus. Van Houten’s idea that writing buries returns to the idea that there is a difference between a representation of a thing and the actual thing. This idea reflects the reason why Hazel gets upset with the posts, which “bury” the real life Augustus lived.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
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