The Fault in Our Stars | Study Guide

John Green

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The Fault in Our Stars | Chapter 10 | Summary



The morning of the flight to Amsterdam, Hazel and her mom drive to pick up Gus for their flight, intercepting part of an argument with his parents, but Hazel is unable to make out the reason behind it. They reach the airport and head to the gate, upon which Gus runs to grab a hamburger, not returning for an hour. They board the plane, and Gus explains he didn't want to sit there with people looking at the three of them. Hazel probes further, and it's clear he didn't want to eat with people staring at Hazel while he ate next to her. He says people who stare at cancer victims "piss me off." The plane takes off and Gus, never having taken a plane before, is delighted. After Detroit, Mrs. Lancaster dozes off and Hazel and Gus watch the movie 300, afterward discussing death and poetry. Gus proclaims his love to her by stating, "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things." He waits for her reply, but she says nothing. She says she felt "like everything was rising up in me, that I was drowning in this weirdly painful joy, but I couldn't say it back."


Gus and Hazel continue to become closer to each other. However, by this point it is clear Gus has problems of his own at home he is not currently sharing with Hazel. She does not ask him what he was arguing with his mother about; she accepts him for who he is. This is in contrast to Augustus who, once on the plane, continues to pressure her to admit and act on her feelings for him. While she continues to refuse to do so, upon his request she recites to him the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" from memory. The poem is in part a commentary on indecision acting as a form of decision or on not letting your fears rule your actions because the outcome will be regret. The poem is a reference to how Hazel is working on accepting her feelings for Augustus at this time despite her reluctance to tell him. It foreshadows Hazel's decision to embrace her feelings for Augustus in order to fully live her life.

The issues associated with the public perception of illness arise once again when Augustus abandons Hazel and her mother at the gate. Despite having lost a leg to cancer, because he is able to pass as "normal" he would prefer to do so rather than sit with Hazel and her mom while they endure the pitying stares of the surrounding onlookers. Augustus is most bothered by the idea that, as kids suffering from cancer, they are martyrs, and Hazel's mom is a saint for taking care of them. The problem is this is not reality. Despite what his parents' encouragements state, suffering does not necessarily make you stronger. Yet he is expected to play the part of a silent but strong sufferer, and Augustus is unable to do so, in part because he knows at that point he is once again dying from cancer, this time with no real hope of remission.

As Augustus comes to terms with his death, he becomes more and more obsessed with the idea he will be known as a hero after his death. Augustus and Hazel watch 300 on the plane because of its heroic themes. Even the trip to Amsterdam itself is an attempt for Augustus to feel as if he is sacrificing himself for Hazel in a heroic gesture. Rather than stay in Indianapolis and receive treatment, he insists he needs to take Hazel on a trip to Amsterdam to fulfill a lifelong dream even though it will cost him days or even weeks of his life.

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