The Fault in Our Stars | Study Guide

John Green

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The Fault in Our Stars | Chapter 13 | Summary



The next day, August and Hazel wake up and tell Mrs. Lancaster the events of the day before. Mrs. Lancaster quickly leaves them alone, giving Gus a pointed, knowing look before she goes. Hazel and Gus go for a walk, and he tells her his cancer has come back, that it has metastasized and is all throughout his body and nothing much can be done. He attempted to restart treatment prior to their trip but felt it was not worth missing the trip. He apologizes for not telling her sooner, and she forgives him.


With Gus telling her of his cancer, Hazel realizes in an instant that the need to try to save people from her own death was pointless as she herself would never be able to stop loving and caring for Gus. Gus just did the thing to her she was most afraid of doing to others, and she realizes living life and feeling love is worth the pain.

As she and Augustus walk back to the hotel room, whereupon Augustus tells her of the cancer that has spread throughout his body, Hazel ponders Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of psychological needs. His hierarchy states that in order to achieve self-fulfillment, it is necessary to first have your basic and psychological needs met. By this measure then, neither Hazel nor Augustus would be able to be self-fulfilled because of their cancer. In order to achieve self-actualization, it is necessary to first fill the lower categories before being able to move to a higher level of needs. Hazel initially disagrees with this idea, as "according to Maslow, I was stuck on the second level of the pyramid, unable to feel secure in my health and therefore unable to reach for love and respect and art and whatever else." The idea that an individual does not need to fill the lower levels of the pyramid in order to achieve self-fulfillment finds conflict during Augustus Waters's decline later in the book. While when he initially tells Hazel about his diagnosis, he is able to comment on art and love, but his decline is marked in part by the disappearance of these comments, paralleling his increasing frustration with his lack of heroism. On one hand, despite her cancer Hazel feels she is able to achieve a sense of self-fulfillment; however, at the same time she cannot help but watch as Augustus's decline means his ability to reach these higher needs declines as well.

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