What is the significance of the title?

The title The Fault in Our Stars is an allusion to a line from Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Ceasar: “Men at some times are masters of their fates: / The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.” This line suggests that humans are responsible for the misfortunes that befall them, but Green, and therefore Hazel, argues throughout the novel that the opposite is true. Fate, or “the stars,” brings tragedy that no one can see coming or make sense of. The title also hints at the idea that Hazel and Augustus are star-crossed lovers, their relationship doomed to suffer from fate’s cruelty.

Why does An Imperial Affliction end mid-sentence?

While Peter Van Houten refuses to explain his choice to end An Imperial Affliction mid-sentence, Hazel suspects this ambiguous ending represents either the significant deterioration of the protagonist’s health or her untimely death from cancer. She feels that this choice reflects the true nature of death in that it can come right in the middle of one’s life. At the same time, however, Hazel desperately wants to know what happens to the other characters in the novel, and this curiosity ultimately inspires her to seek answers from the author.

How does Hazel change throughout the novel?

Throughout the novel, Hazel becomes increasingly open to loving and being loved by others despite the pain that her death may cause them. She initially fears that she will be a “grenade” to those around her, a perspective which leads her to largely isolate herself. Meeting Augustus, however, encourages her to adopt a new outlook on the relationship between love and loss. Hazel realizes that the short time she had with Augustus is worth the pain she feels in the wake of his death. This experience ultimately changes the way she feels about the impact that her own death will inevitably have on others. 

How does Augustus die?

Although Augustus is in remission when the novel begins, his osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, returns in full force and appears in the lining of his chest, his left hip, and his liver. He admits to Hazel on their last day in Amsterdam that he gave up chemotherapy to go on their trip, saying that he knew it would not work. Augustus’s condition continues to worsen, causing him to become wheelchair-bound and develop an infection in his G-tube. Eventually losing control over his own body, the cancer stops Augustus’s heart and he dies in the ICU.

Why does Peter Van Houten attend Augustus’s funeral?

To Hazel’s dismay, Peter Van Houten appears at Augustus’s funeral. He explains that Augustus wrote to him in his final days, telling him that his poor behavior would be forgiven if he attended and told Hazel what happened to Anna’s mother. Hazel refuses to accept this reasoning and tells him to leave her alone. Van Houten appears again, however, in the backseat of Hazel’s car and emphasizes that he simply wants to apologize for the way he treated them in Amsterdam. He lost a young daughter of his own to cancer, an event which inspired An Imperial Affliction, and this detail allows Hazel to view him in a more sympathetic manner.