The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
Contributed by Margherita Wickersham
Chapter 23
Summary

It is days after Gus’s funeral, and Hazel visits Isaac. Together, they play a video game while talking about Gus (Green 82). Isaac then informs Hazel that Gus had been writing something for her since the day they left Amsterdam. Intrigued by this information, Hazel is eager to find out the things Gus wrote and decides to drive to his house to find the writings. On her way, she discovers Van Houten sitting in the back of her family’s minivan, where he attempts to apologize for his prior rude behavior. He also explains about Anna, the character in his book, saying that she was his daughter who died of leukaemia at a very young age (Green 83). Hazel sympathizes with him but still kicks him out of the minivan after advising him to stop drinking and start writing again. She then reaches Gus’s house, but is unable to find his writings despite thoroughly searching.

Analysis

Hazel finally learns about Van Houten’s book and the character Anna. She also realizes that Anna was the author’s daughter who died of cancer. The death of Anna left Van Houten in a deep hole of alcoholism, despair, loneliness, and depression. His attempts to write the book was a way of giving her daughter a second chance at life. However, it became impossible for him to deliver on his wishes, with the failure devastating Van Houten and leaving him in a bad place. Similarly, Hazel also wants to give Gus a second life and intends to do this by searching for the things Gus wrote about her, but to no avail. She continues missing him and keeps the memories of him to herself. Despite all this, she differs greatly from Van Houten, as she clearly knows how to deal with Gus’s death.

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