The Fault in Our Stars | Study Guide

John Green

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Course Hero. "The Fault in Our Stars Study Guide." October 3, 2017. Accessed August 15, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Fault-in-Our-Stars/.

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Course Hero, "The Fault in Our Stars Study Guide," October 3, 2017, accessed August 15, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Fault-in-Our-Stars/.

The Fault in Our Stars | Chapter 6 | Summary

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Summary

Hazel tells her mother of the plan she has worked up about traveling to Amsterdam. Based on Dr. Maria's recommendation, Mrs. Lancaster will have to travel with them in order to keep an eye on Hazel's health. Hazel becomes concerned she will probably have to make out with Gus, which concerns her. Despite finding him attractive, she's very confused by the developing closeness of their relationship, and beyond anything else she does not want to hurt him, like the death of his ex-girlfriend, Caroline Mathers, did. Getting closer to Gus just makes him vulnerable to more hurt when she dies. She calls Kaitlyn for advice, then looks up the timeline of the struggles that Caroline's parents and Gus must have gone through. She notes that her shoulder is still hurting and now she has a headache.

During dinner that evening, she explodes at her parents after they ask her what is wrong, explaining her fears of hurting more people than necessary. She retires to her room to read in solitude. She thinks she should just spend time with her parents and stay at home so no one outside the family gets hurt by her. She texts Gus that she can't kiss him and hopes he understands. He does. Her parents come in to explain that the joy of having her far outweighs the pain of losing her. She falls asleep and wakes up with a screaming pain in her head.

Analysis

Hazel is excited by the thought of getting to meet Van Houten in Amsterdam. However, this also means she is going to be spending a lot of time with Gus, becoming closer and more attached to each other. Her previously self-imposed solitude had acted, in part, as a barrier to avoid meeting and hurting new people. At the same time, she continues to want to be involved with him. In a parallel with Isaac and Monica, Hazel and Gus begin to tell each other "okay" is their "always." Hazel is torn between her feelings for him and her desire to limit the amount of pain she feels responsible for.

The author describes the turmoil and intensity of this guilt Hazel feels with the image of a bomb or grenade, a powerful image of sudden, unexpected explosions. Hazel thinks she's a ticking bomb ready to go off and ruin the lives of the people she loves the most. Most people go through some guilty feelings at the outset of romantic relationships. The "what if's," the doubts, the potential for a damaging breakup—all these questions often prevent the relationship from developing. Most people approach these situations with care and deliberation. If one of those involved has a good chance of dying imminently, imagine the escalation of the intensity of these same feelings in this person, someone like Hazel. Green's use of the bomb metaphor communicates this intensity in a powerful way.

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