Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "The Fault in Our Stars Study Guide." Course Hero. 3 Oct. 2017. Web. 9 Dec. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Fault-in-Our-Stars/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2017, October 3). The Fault in Our Stars Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 9, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Fault-in-Our-Stars/

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "The Fault in Our Stars Study Guide." October 3, 2017. Accessed December 9, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Fault-in-Our-Stars/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "The Fault in Our Stars Study Guide," October 3, 2017, accessed December 9, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Fault-in-Our-Stars/.

The Fault in Our Stars | Plot Summary

Share
Share
See Plot Diagram

Summary

Hazel

Hazel Grace Lancaster is a 16-year-old diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer. Her cancer is currently being managed with the use of an experimental drug called Phalanxifor that is able to shrink the tumors in her lungs to a reasonable size. While she can survive with the aid of oxygen and daily doses of the drug, she exists in what feels like her own world. Even though she should be enrolled in high school, she is now taking college classes, no longer keeps in contact with most of her friends, and lives with the fear that any day could be her last. As a result, much of her social interactions revolve around the time she spends at the cancer support group she reluctantly attends. While she is trying to move past the idea she is an embodiment of her illness, discussion of cancer and dying preoccupy most of the attendees, and she finds only one person she can really relate to because of it.

Gus

Isaac is a 17-year-old diagnosed with retinoblastoma that took his right eye. He introduces Hazel to Augustus "Gus" Waters by bringing him to the support group after Isaac learns the cancer has also affected his left eye and he will be blind in two weeks. Augustus, or Gus, suffered from osteosarcoma that caused him to lose his right leg, but he is currently cancer-free. He initially notices Hazel because of her physical resemblance to his ex-girlfriend Caroline, but he quickly becomes attracted to Hazel's distinct personality. He invites her over to his home that evening to watch V for Vendetta because he says she reminds him of Natalie Portman.

Hazel accepts and goes over to his home but remains suspicious of his motives, unsure if he does this with a lot of girls. Even so, by the end of the evening they exchange books with the promise to call once they have finished. Hazel gives him her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, and he gives her a book based on his favorite video game, The Price of Dawn. Hazel goes home and rereads An Imperial Affliction, and we learn it is not a book principally about cancer but rather about death and the pain people dying transmit to those they care about most. The only way to deal with this, according to the book, is to look at the big picture. Everyone dies, and one day the human race will disappear and all "will have been for naught." Hazel feels the author understands her own feelings surrounding cancer.

The next morning, Hazel goes to the mall with one of her friends from high school, Kaitlyn, but feels awkward around her, so she decides to sit alone and finish The Price of Dawn. That evening she calls Gus and they talk briefly, but Hazel refuses to talk to him more until he finishes An Imperial Affliction. The next day she calls him to talk about the book but hears Isaac breaking down in the background. She goes over to Gus's house for support and finds them playing The Price of Dawn video game. Isaac's supposedly devoted girlfriend Monica broke up with him, saying she felt terrible breaking up with a blind guy but she also couldn't deal with his illness. When Gus asks her for advice, Hazel says Isaac's explosive reaction is most likely justified. Gus responds to her with a quote from An Imperial Affliction.

A few days later Hazel gets a call from Gus telling her that he is waiting for her by her house. They have a Dutch-inspired picnic, and he tells her he is going to use his "Wish" to take her to see the author of her favorite book, Peter Van Houten, in Amsterdam. The Wish refers to an organization, the Genie Foundation, which grants one wish to seriously ill children. Hazel is ecstatic, but a few days later the hospital must admit her to drain fluid from her lungs. The doctors worry she is not healthy enough to take an international trip and suggest she stay grounded. Her parents agree, and Hazel becomes depressed, unable to see how she can live a life worth living if everyone permits the cancer to restrict her. In the end her doctor and her parents capitulate with the understanding her mother will go with them to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam

They arrive in Amsterdam and go to see Van Houten, who turns out to be an angry, unpleasant older alcoholic. Hazel is crushed. Along with Van Houten's assistant, Lidewij Vliegenthart, they decide not to let him ruin their visit and instead go to the Anne Frank House, where Hazel and Gus kiss for the first time. After, they decide to return to Gus's hotel room and make love.

The next day Gus must tell her his cancer has returned, except this time it has metastasized throughout his entire body. His death is near. They return to the United States, and Gus immediately starts treatment; however, his health quickly declines and soon he is confined to a wheelchair, exhausted and obsessed over the idea he will die without any acknowledgment of doing anything worthwhile in his life. Hazel becomes increasingly frustrated with him; she tells him he really matters to her and that should be enough. He decides to hold a prefuneral attended only by Isaac and Hazel, who read their real eulogies to him. Not too long afterward he passes away.

Funeral

Hazel attends his funeral and discovers Van Houten has come as well. He tries to explain what happens to the characters in Anna's life after her death at the end of An Imperial Affliction, but Hazel no longer wants to hear the explanation and refuses to talk to him anymore, realizing that rather than being an author with a unique insight into death he is just an angry, bitter, alcoholic father ruined by the death by cancer of his daughter years before.

A few days later while spending time with Isaac, she learns Gus had been writing her something prior to his death. She searches his house fruitlessly and realizes he must have sent the pages to Van Houten. She contacts Van Houten's assistant, Lidewij, who is able to find the letter and send the pages to Hazel. It is a eulogy written for her stating real heroes are not those people who are publically recognized for their deeds. It is people who, like Hazel, take notice of things, of people, and really pay attention. Those are his final words.

The Fault in Our Stars Plot Diagram

Climax123456789Rising ActionFalling ActionResolutionIntroduction

Introduction

1 Hazel meets Gus, and she likes him immediately.

Rising Action

2 Hazel and Gus spend a lot of time together.

3 Hazel tells Gus she wants to go to Amsterdam.

4 Gus elects to use his Wish to visit Amsterdam with Hazel.

5 Hazel's lungs fail, but she gets to go to Amsterdam.

6 Hazel becomes disillusioned with Van Houten.

Climax

7 Gus and Hazel go to the Anne Frank House and kiss.

Falling Action

8 Gus passes away.

Resolution

9 Hazel finds the eulogy Gus leaves her.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Fault in Our Stars? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!