The Fault in Our Stars

Augustus’ Cigarettes Symbol Analysis

Augustus’ Cigarettes Symbol Icon
When Augustus takes out a cigarette after support group and puts it in his mouth, Hazel is mortified by the thought of a cancer survivor actively partaking in an activity that is known to cause cancer. But Augustus’ explains the cigarettes are a metaphor—he stays in close contact with the carcinogenic cigarettes, but never lights them, simply keeping them between his teeth. The ability to keep the cigarette in his mouth, but never light it stands as an act of control. Metaphorically, the cigarettes become a means through which Augustus gains a sense of control over his cancer. The cigarettes, however, become a source of control for more than just Augustus’ cancer, as he uses them in different situations to feel control in light of a number of different fears. The presence of cigarettes diminishes as Augustus loses control over his cancer and slips toward his death at the end of the novel. When Hazel finds Augustus at the gas station shortly before his passing attempting to buy cigarettes, he has lost control over his body because of his cancer—he no longer walks on his own, he is incontinent, and he has vomited on himself. His condition in conjunction with his attempt to buy cigarettes and ultimately failing suggests that he has finally succumb to his cancer, and there is no more controlling the outcome of his life.
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Augustus’ Cigarettes Symbol Timeline in The Fault in Our Stars

The timeline below shows where the symbol Augustus’ Cigarettes appears in The Fault in Our Stars. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
Just then, Augustus pulls out a cigarette and places it in his mouth. Hazel is taken aback by the cigarette and angrily... (full context)
Chapter 5
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
...approach their destination, Hazel thinks of the cemetery down the road. Augustus pulls out a cigarette and puts it in his mouth. Augustus cryptically asks what they are missing in Indianapolis.... (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 the hospital during treatment. He... (full context)
Chapter 13
Life and Death Theme Icon
...back to the hotel room, Augustus takes a seat in a chair and puts a cigarette in his mouth. He reveals to Hazel that just before they left he had a... (full context)
Chapter 16
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
...He is no longer muscular and gorgeous, but he still smiles and smokes his unlit cigarettes, and his eyes are still alive. (full context)
Chapter 18
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
...to call for help. Augustus tells her that he wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes because he lost his pack. He says he wanted to buy another pack on his... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Being Different Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
...a bad guy, it just wants to be alive. She promises to get him his cigarettes. He asks her to read him something, so she recites William Carlos William’s Red Wheelbarrow.... (full context)
Chapter 22
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Philosophy Theme Icon
...he can hear her. She opens her clutch purse and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. She then slips them into the coffin. She whispers to his body that he can... (full context)