The Fault in Our Stars | Study Guide

John Green

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The Fault in Our Stars | Chapter 2 | Summary



Hazel and Gus drive to his house, and along the way he says he is in high school, and Hazel tells him she is already in college due to the amount of time she has spent at home. She tells him how her remission was dependent on the administration of an experimental drug called Phalanxifor, and she is unsure how long the cancer will be in partial remission.

They reach Gus's home, and he introduces his parents. Apparently they like to give "Encouragements" to him. The little sayings are part of their strategy to help their son through his cancer. Hazel likes Gus, especially because his questions to her are about her interests and her normal teenage life rather than about the cancer she is fighting. She tells him her favorite book is An Imperial Affliction, and he promises to read it in exchange for her reading The Price of Dawn, a book based on his favorite video game. She agrees.

Despite numerous indications that Gus likes her, Hazel continues to be unsure about how real it is. He drops her off at her house, asking to see her the next day. Hazel says she will call him after finishing his book.


In contrast to Gus, who refuses to acknowledge that cancer has defined him, his parents believe his cancer has made them all stronger, citing phrases such as: "Without pain, how could we know joy?" Neither Gus nor Hazel connects to this sentiment. Rather, Gus is obsessed with being remembered postmortem while Hazel doesn't want her illness to define her or hurt the people around her. From her perspective, Gus's parents are friendly but distant and disconnected from her emotionally. She doesn't identify with them or their encouragements, only with Gus himself. This social distance from adults continues throughout the book with Hazel's parents, Van Houten, and Lidewij all getting little attention and concern from the teens except when the teens need something from these adults.

The chapter is structured around Hazel and Gus's first interactions through Hazel's point of view. As a result, we see what it is about Gus that Hazel finds attractive, and learn through Gus's questions and Hazel's thoughts what is important to Hazel. One of the most important items in her life is the book An Imperial Affliction because of how "the author, Peter Van Houten, seemed to understand me in weird and impossible ways." By giving it to Gus to read, she is giving him an insight into herself.

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