I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar.

Hazel reads these words from Augustus to Van Houten in the letter that Lidewij sends to her at the end of the novel. The brief quotation touches on two separate ideas. First, it speaks to Augustus’s desire to be remembered after his death, which is a main preoccupation of his throughout the novel. Here he says he left his “scar” on Hazel, and the word suggests something permanent that won’t disappear with his death. It’s not the mark he wanted to leave for much of the novel—he always dreamed of doing something heroic—but it nonetheless satisfies his desire to have made an impact that will survive him.

The quotation also emphasizes the dual nature of pain in the story. The “scar” is not, of course, a physical one he leaves but an emotional one, and the metaphor suggests that a wound, and therefore pain, have been inflicted. In this sense it refers to the fact that Hazel will be hurt by Augustus’s death. The pain that leaves this scar, however, isn’t necessarily harmful, because it signifies that Hazel genuinely loved Augustus and that he mattered to her. This variety of pain is actually a major concern of Hazel’s for much of the story as she worries that she’ll hurt others, specifically her parents, with her death. Hazel’s relationship with Augustus changes her view of this kind of pain, however. As she comes to realize that she wouldn’t trade the pain of losing Augustus for the comfort of never having fallen in love with him, she comes to understand that this pain is actually desirable, or at least not something to avoid. The scar left by losing him is something she would prefer to have.