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. 27 May 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 May 27, 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 May 27, 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 May 27, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Fault-in-Our-Stars/.

The Fault in Our Stars | Symbols

Share
Share

Water

Water is used throughout the novel as both a symbol of life and death. Hazel battles water and fluids everyday as it drowns her lungs and causes her admittance to the hospital after her lungs fill with a liter and a half of fluid. At the same time that water threatens to kill Hazel, its beauty is celebrated. For instance, Amsterdam is a city built on water, flowing with canals. The first night Hazel and Gus arrive, they take in the beauty of the city with dinner at a restaurant that sits along the side of a canal. Even so, the danger within the beauty of water is acknowledged with the recitation of the end of the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot—"till human voices wake us, and we drown"—foreshadowing the pain to come, both in the meeting with Van Houten as well as with the reemergence of Gus's cancer.

Gus's Cigarettes

Gus's cigarettes are very clearly a symbol of his attempt to instill a sense of control over the cancer that eventually results in his death. When Hazel first meets him, he puts a cigarette in his mouth, and Hazel initially berates him for smoking after having cancer until he explains, "It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing." Later when Gus is in the midst of his cancer treatment, he tries to go out and buy a pack of cigarettes just to "do one little thing" himself. However, he ends up needing to be sent to the emergency room because of that trip, a sign he does not have control over cancer no matter how hard he fights against it.

An Imperial Affliction

The importance of An Imperial Affliction is in Hazel's treatment of it; she feels the book resonates with her views of living with cancer. Initially readers only learn the book concerns a girl with cancer who refuses to be defined by it. Readers don't know the title gives a hint as to the actual meaning behind the book. The title is taken from "A Certain Slant of Light" by the American poet Emily Dickinson and refers to despair; Hazel is overcome with despair, believing her cancer is only causing pain, not only to her but also to the people around her. When she finally realizes Van Houten is not the enlightened author she had constructed in her mind, she questions the message that life is essentially meaningless in the novel, precipitated by conversations with Gus. Her rejection of Van Houten and his novel is a recognition that her despair has changed into an acknowledgment of the power and persistence of her cancer without letting it destroy any happiness she manages to find.

Questions for Symbols

View all
Question 1 The reason many students fail exams is because they do not study. incomplete comparison lack of parallelism faulty predication dangling modifier 1 points Question 2 Scuba diving is where yo
essay on my hobby essay on corruption essay on over population
The smart city concept goes beyond the use of ICT for better resource use and less emissions. It means smarter urban transport networks, upgraded water supply and waste disposal facilities, and more e
Edit for Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers Practice 3 editing Paragraphs for misplaced and Dangling modifiers, Find and correct any misplaced or dangling modifiers in the following para graphs. (1) Car
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!

Ask a homework question - tutors are online