The Fault in Our Stars | Study Guide

John Green

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The Fault in Our Stars | Chapter 12 | Summary

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Summary

Gus and Hazel awaken the next morning and dress to meet Van Houten; Hazel dresses up in an outfit very similar to the one Anna wears in An Imperial Affliction. They reach the home of the author only to find him to be extremely unhelpful, unpleasant, and insulting. Hazel explodes at Van Houten, asking repeatedly for the answers to her questions about how the book turns out and what happens to the characters at the end, and when he fails to answer them, she and Gus leave, demoralized and without any answers. Lidewij is so upset with her boss she quits working for him and follows them, offering to take them to the Anne Frank House in an attempt to make up for the awful visit. While Gus is hesitant, Hazel agrees, not wanting to have the trip ruined just because of an unpleasant old man. They reach the house, and Hazel forces herself to climb to the top despite the lack of an elevator. She and Gus discuss the horrors of the Holocaust, and she kisses him passionately for the first time. They look up and an entire audience is watching and cheering them. Hazel asks Gus if he wants to return to his room, and they head back to the hotel.

Analysis

Despite the horrible outcome of the morning, having been insulted by an author she had up until that point idolized, Hazel quickly recovers, realizing Van Houten was not the man she'd imagined but instead is an old, angry alcoholic. She is quick to take up Lidewij's offer in order to save the trip. At the Anne Frank House, Hazel is struck by the struggles of Anne Frank. Her resolve to make it to the top of her house is in part a feeling she owes Anne Frank for her death and the privilege of seeing her last family home.

In part their visit to the Anne Frank House puts things in perspective—Hazel remarks on how Anne Frank survived in this house but didn't make it to actual liberation, so even when you do everything right it sometimes does not actually work out. Sometimes, no matter what you do, life is not fair. She has the insight that life is not worth living if she is going to live in fear of causing pain to others. To her, living life means loving Gus fully. For the first time she indulges Gus's hero fantasy that he can fight for the weak and benefit humanity in some large, heroic way as he had spent the morning indulging her dream to understand the end of An Imperial Affliction and what happens to the character in the book after Anna dies. To Hazel, the idea that these characters in the book she has come to love go on to have nothing else in their life is devastating to her because of what she feels will happen to her parents and the people she loves when she dies. She starts to realize that sometimes, dreams have to be indulged even if they can never be completely fulfilled.

At the end of the chapter, after Hazel and Augustus have sex the night before, Hazel leaves Augustus a note of a Venn diagram with two circles. One is a large circle labeled "Virgins," and the other is a smaller circle with a small amount outside of the large circle of virgins labeled "seventeen-year-old guys with one leg." The Venn diagram is a reference to an earlier diagram where Augustus drew the second smaller circle entirely inside of the larger Virgin circle. By leaving this note, Hazel is acknowledging that despite the cancer that has taken his leg and the one that prevents her from fully breathing, they are able to love each other both mentally and physically.

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