The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
Contributed by Margherita Wickersham
Chapter 8
Summary

Finally, the doctors have the conclusion of the fluid buildup in Hazel’s lungs. They relate the situation to the side effects of Phalanxifor, and luckily not due to the emergence of new tumors or an escalation of the cancer. Unfortunately, both her parents and the doctor deem her unfit for international travel (Green 28). While at home, Hazel regrets her condition, which seems to have ruined her desire to travel. She even wishes that she could exchange her sick days for some healthy ones. Hazel weeps while looking at the swing made by her father in the backyard, where it now looks sad and lonely, with no kids playing on it, since she has no siblings.

Gus is also concerned about Hazel. He decides to call them over to her house and talk about her sadness. Gus also suggests that they sell the swing set, and together they have fun in creating an advertisement. For instance, Hazels suggests that they write “Lonely, Vaguely Pedophilic Swing Set Seeks the Butts of Children.” Gus also gives Hazel some of the reasons that makes him like her, saying that she is “a hot girl who creates an adjectival version of the word pedophile” (Green 38). The words from Gus touch Hazel so much that she finds it hard to breathe. He then reads a little from An Imperial Affliction and she thinks to herself that “as he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.” He also sneaks a kiss on her cheek, perfecting the love moment.

After some time, Hazel receives an email from Van Houten’s assistant on her upcoming trip to Amsterdam. This information confuses her and she decides to call her mother who explains that together with the doctor, they made the decision to allow her to make the visit, which thrills Hazel.

Analysis

Hazel finds Gus interesting due to his capability to take charge of a situation that seems impossible. During the moments when Hazel feels helpless, Gus always seems to find a way of cheering her up. For instance, Hazel finds herself helpless considering her inability to go to Amsterdam. In turn, Gus finds the desperately lonely swing set as a source of glum to her, and he then suggests that they sell it, thus successfully diverting her sadness. This physicality gives Hazel some control over her troubles that previously seemed to have no possible solutions.

Again, despite being kept alive by the drugs, Hazel continues to lack the feeling of actually living or experiencing her life. But Gus helps her gain some control over various issues, which eventually makes her happy. Nonetheless, going to Amsterdam seems to be a big issue, considering how her similarity to the character, Anna, in her favorite book. To Hazel, meeting Van Houten is very important, as she needs to know what happens to those relating to Anna, especially her friends and family. This information is crucial since it will help her understand the exact experience her loved ones will have following her death. However, the decision of her parents and the doctors to object to her traveling attempts sends her into a deep depression, as she loses hope of getting the information she really needs. This experience relate to the different issues most people with terminal illnesses undergo. Many never get the chance of knowing or understanding the pain their loved ones will encounter after the moment of their deaths. Nonetheless, having a chance to learn such issues should be granted so that the individuals may plan well before dying.

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