Connections Week 8 (Audrey)

Aaaaand here it is friends, the final chapters. 8 weeks goes by really quick, huh?
So, my final role here is that of the connector, so I present to you these connections between TFIOS and the real world.

  • We fight a lot with loved ones like Hazel and Augustus do in previous chapters, and a lot of times in fiction, tensions are abruptly ended because one party is in immediate danger, and the two suddenly lose sight of what they were arguing about in favor of taking care of each other. I don't know about you guys, but I've definitely had family squabbles come to screeching halts due to a more urgent matter, much like how Hazel and Gus' little fight seemed to end quickly once Gus was put in danger.
  • I'm very lucky to have not had any of my friends die prematurely, and I have never had to stand at a family member's funeral and speak about them. (Thank God, because if I did I would start crying before I even got to the podium) Unfortunately, this is something that happens a lot in real life. I volunteer for a summer camp for kids with cancer and their siblings, and as much as I love helping to take care of these kids, sometimes they don't all make it back for next year, and it's hard for everyone, especially people they've grown to love.
  • The small number of funerals I've attended were for older family members who died of age, peacefully in their sleep and such, and although it's sad it's incomparable to the death of a young person. No one at my great grandmother's funeral pretended to know her or say how much she meant to them, so why would people do that with younger people? If I die prematurely someday, I'm counting on you guys to call out people who do that, otherwise I'm resurrecting myself and haunting you until the Ghostbusters come and get me.
There's not a lot here I can really connect because I personally haven't experienced a lot like this, and I don't know about any of your experiences with this. So let me know (by Thursday of course) and I would say until next time, but of course... we're done here. So instead I'll see you all in class tomorrow!
Great job everyone!

Discussion Leader Week 8 - Kathy

Hi everyone! Hope y'all had fun finishing up the book! just kidding i know you didn't

So I have some discussion questions for everyone today. :)

  1. Why do you think Hazel switches from calling Augustus "Augustus" to calling him "Gus" in this section?
  2. Is the book entirely tragic or can it be viewed as uplifting?
  3. Does the ending of the book meet your expectations based on the set up given? Why or why not?
  4. Would you consider this book to be one of Hazel's hated "cancer books", or do you think it holds deeper meaning than just that?

And that's my final post for this project. It's a little sad... But at the same time it was a great experiment and it was so fun to blog about a couple of my favorite books.


The Final Summary

Well, my friends, the time has come.  My final post to you all in the form of summary.
I'm going to tell you all what went down from chapters 18-25 (The End)

Ch. 18:  We left of last time with a little fight between Hazel and Augustus.  The next morning, Hazel is awakened by a phone call from a very endangered Gus at 2:30 in the morning.  He went to the gas station to buy some more cigarettes.  He did this on his own... well because he wanted to do something on his own.  However, somehow his G-Tube fell out and as it turns out was infected. But! Augustus doesn't want Hazel to call an ambulance (why, I'm not entirely sure... it would dent his pride?)  So instead she rushes down to the gas station, studies his situation, and still ends up calling an ambulance.  However, EMT's don't see Hazel and Gus as they rushed down the road, and they end up getting momentarily lost.  Meanwhile Hazel recites some poetry for Gus, and ends up adding on her own words at the end saying (in turn) that so much in her world depends on him.

Ch. 19: Just some more awkward family stuff in Augustus' house.  Screaming children with no filters, motivational wall signs, and Augustus subtly mentioning that he and Hazel had *cough cough* happy naked time.

Ch. 20: Okay okay okay, so!  This is the last chapter that contains Augustus... alive. In his last days, he held a "pre-funeral" with Hazel and Isaac.  Basically he wanted to hear what they would say about him.  So they met in the "Literal Heart of Jesus" late at night, talked a small bit, then Isaac went up to a podium and gave his eulogy.  I personally loved his speech, he gave a bunch of backhanded compliments to Gus and Gus was loving every word of it, even cried a bit after.  Then, of course, it was Hazel's turn.  She almost immediately mentions that they are "star-crossed loves" (note: not "loveRs").  But the focus of her speech was the verying sizes of different infinities, and how she and Augustus had a "little infinity within a number of days."  All very sweet, but after that Gus is dead.

Ch 21: Okay, what I'm going to take away from this chapter (besides the fact that Augustus is dead, which we already know) is what goes on from pages 264-266.  Hazel talks about the numbers of people who Gus hardly knew and never mentioned that were posting all over his Facebook (she never said Facebook, but I'm assuming. Sue me.) page that they love him, and that the knew how hard he was fighting and blah blah blah.  If you remember correctly, we experienced something very similar to this in Looking for Alaska, where all of the other students were talking about how hard her death was for them, when they hardly knew her to begin with.

Ch. 22: So this chapter is like the Facebook dilemma but in funeral form.  A bunch of people Gus hardly knew showing up to his funeral (which isn't a bad thing, don't get me wrong) and then acting so distraught over his death, as though he meant so much to them (there's the bad thing). Soon after everyone had arrived, Isaac went up, gave his speech (different to the one he gave at the pre-funeral), then Hazel (who, surprisingly enough) gave a cliche Facebook post speech.  Now, she somewhat explains why she does this, "Funerals, I had decided, were for the living." (273)  She recognizes that gathering all of these people here weren't so they could remember Augustus, is was so they could let him go and move on, quite like most all funerals. BUT Someone else shows up to this funeral... a certain fat alcoholic old man, YES! Peter Van Houten!  He was sitting right behind Hazel during the funeral, and had a talk with her after.  He begins by offering her the completed ending of An Imperial Affliction.  He said that Augustus contacted him (while he was still alive of course, nothing Ghost-Bustery) and says that he would be "absolved" for the way he acted to Hazel if he attended his funeral and told Hazel the ending. However, Hazel shoots him down and says that he basically isn't worthy of writing an ending to that book because he is no longer the man who wrote that book, just a pitiful old man.

Ch 23: So here we have Isaac and Hazel playing blind video games again where, eventually, Isaac mentions that Augustus was writing his own ending to AIA.  Naturally Hazel flips out and begins this vendetta to find it.  However, once she storms into her car from Isaac's house, she finds a certain someone in her car... no it's not Gus.  IT'S VAN HOUTEN.  Not really sure how he found Hazel, or got into her car, but yeah... he was waiting for her in her car.  She, of course, insists he leaves, however he simply denies and begins rambling about one of the characters in his book, Anna.  This, however, doesn't faze Hazel and begins driving to Gus' to find his ending.  Long conversation short, Hazel and Van Houten somewhat make peace and she encourages him to sober up and write a sequel. Soon after, she's at Augustus' house and looks for his ending to no avail.

Ch 24: Here we find Hazel continuing her search for these pages of Gus' story, still nothing.    Then later that night Hazel discovers that her mom has been taking college classes to get a degree as a social worker... for about a year.  She was keeping this from Hazel because she didn't want her to feel neglected, like they were looking forward to a life after her.  However, Hazel is overjoyed by this. Hazel knew that there would soon be a life after her and that her parents would be able to live and have a life once she's gone.

Ch 25:  (Final chapter... I'm gettin' all teary eyed you guys (psych, I'm a liar))  Hazel soon realized that maybe the pages weren't written for her, and entertained the thought that he sent them to Van Houten. So, she sent an email to his old... I'm wanting to call her his PA? Lidewij, yeah I think she was his PA. Anyways, she emailed Lidewij asking if she knew anything about them, and if she could search Van Houtens.  She soon responds saying that she didn't know anything, but would go search Van Houten's.  Then most of the chapter is just Hazel waiting and waiting for a reply and an answer.  In the meantime, she and her parents go to the park, and have a picnic to celebrate Bastille Day (I don't even know where they hear about these "holidays").  Anywho, Lidewij finally replies saying that she found the papers and forced Van Houten to read them, not out loud just to himself, because they were meant for him.  Van Houten then requested that they be sent to Hazel, because there was nothing more he could add to them.  It turns out that these pages weren't really an ending to AIA, more just a letter to Van Houten... I can't really describe what the letter was about.  There's just so much in it, not that it's necessarily long, just a lot to take in.

Honestly I've just been sitting here for about 30-45 minutes trying to describe his letter, but I honesty cant.  If you've read the book you know what he says, if not, then I won't ruin the ending for you. Go read it.

At any rate, I'm afraid I've run out of material to discuss with you.  Can't exactly say I'll miss this because it is, in fact, a school graded assignment and no matter what the task I hate doing things that are required of me.  However, doing this wasn't unbearable.  That's really all I can give you.

I would say "Until next time" but... um.. yeah.
But thank you all for reading this! It really has been fun.

A Two Grenade Love Story...

Connections of pgs. 181-252

In chapter 12, Hazel and Augustus finally get to meet Peter Van Houten. When Van Houten finally gets around to letting them in, he asks Augustus,

"Did you close the deal with that chick yet?"
I want to point out that I think Van Houten, though only a piece of it exists and it is tiny, has a heart. Somewhere inside him he cares, but also he's kind of mad, therefore I don't always think he knows what he is saying, or can filter his thoughts from his speech. When they're finally in Van Houten's house and trying to get a word in between his genius but rude word vomit, they both say "Um." when he asks what they're questions are. We all know what they want to say, but they're in such shock from the amass of his callous behavior.

Later we find out that Augustus's cancer is indeed back, when Hazel hears Van Houten say this, she doesn't give it a second thought, because she automatically assumes he's referring to win Augustus had cancer, in past tense, not present. However, I find myself wondering if Augustus even told Van Houten, but not Hazel (yet) that his cancer had returned. Hazel's fixation on finding out what happens to Anna's mother after she dies (most likely), I believe, is based on the fact she's so worried about her parents. Perhaps it will comfort her, knowing that there is a life after a mother's child dies, that happiness is still a possibility, almost as if it proves that her mother will be okay, when it is Hazel's time to "leave". 

 Hazel's depression not only stems from the fact that she's dying, but from the fact that she's going to hurt people, (mostly her parents) and so she thought of her cancer in ugly ways.  Hazel's not being selfish and feeling sorry for herself, she hates herself for being the reason for someone's heart to shatter. So he can't hurt her much more, she is not there to complete her last dying wish, well she is, but she's there hoping to find a piece for peace for herself, knowing there's some peace potential for her mother. When Van Houten denies Hazel answers and her and Augustus leave, she cries. And cries harder when Augustus tells her he'll write her an even better epilogue. I think she cries because she sees even more how much Augustus loves her.He speaks to her the way an adult might speak to a toddler with an "owie". But, I think one of the purest forms of love stems from adoration. When one becomes a child in their lovers arms. Hazel is so strong, and though it be only for a second, she lets Augustus handle it, and lets her walls tumble down and her world crash.

Augustus and Hazel so hurt, literally and metaphorically, give Anne Frank a gift, it's a beautiful tribute to her. The young woman who still loved even though the world and life had become something that hated her. And people clap, because it's beautiful, it makes sense. No one thought of it,  most likely because the house had such dark events in it remain. Yet in all of the darkness, Hazel and Augustus manage to show one of the few lights, of Anne Frank's life: Young Love. Young love in which hope is still alive, and teenagers have not given up.

When Hazel finds out that Augustus' cancer has returned she panics. Although it put both of them in the same boat, we can all understand what Hazel is feeling. Think of the person you love, lets say something terrible happens to you, but later something terrible happens to them and they suffer from that. You're love is so great, that it becomes okay for you to suffer but unacceptable for them to. Even more so, because it almost hurts more to watch them suffer. 

Augustus has a theme of helping Isaac, insisting that "Pain demands to be felt." As well as other emotions, rather than get revenge for Isaac, to show he has his back, he helps him get his own. He lets him ruin his things. Like the egging of Monica's car. He lets him do it, because he knows how it will make him feel. Augustus has a way of seeing into other people and being intuitive about what's best for them. He enjoys watching Isaac more than even partaking, because he knows that with every egg he throws, he feels a little better.

Finally in Chapter 18, our illusion of a surviving, optimistic Augustus breaks. He knows his time is coming. Being strong is exhausting, and he finally breaks. All the way, and just like Hazel in Amsterdam, he becomes a child in his lovers embrace. Why is it, that at certain parts in our life, everyone, that when we are too old to be treated like a child, we are treated as such in our lover's arms most commonly? And in fact, crave it too in moments like these, though we may never admit it?

Week 7 Summary - Kathy

Chapters 11-15 Summary

Hi everyone! Kathy here with the summary for the latest section of The Fault in Our Stars!

In chapter 11, they arrive in Amsterdam. Hazel and Augustus retire to their respective hotel rooms for a few hours before dinner, which they have at a fancy restaurant, Oranjee, without their parents. They each have some champagne, which both have a higher tolerance for due to the cancer treatment they've both undergone. They talk a bit about a capital-S Something that occurs after life and what constitutes a life worth living. They go for a walk along the canal and Augustus tells Hazel about his previous relationship with his ex girlfriend Caroline, who died of brain cancer about a year prior to the events of The Fault in Our Stars. Hazel tells him that she doesn't want her to do that to him, but Augustus reassures her that "it would be a pleasure" to have his heart broken by her.

In chapter 12, they visit Peter Van Houten. Hazel chooses to dress like the protagonist of his novel An Imperial Affliction, Anna. They don't get a very warm welcome, as Van Houten doesn't seem happy to have them there and tells his assistant to tell them to leave immediately. However, she convinces him to let them stay on account of Hazel's cancer and the fact that they came all the way from Indiana for this moment. Van Houten is quite obviously a drunk and refuses to tell them of the fate of any characters of AIA, save for the hamster. He dismisses all of Hazel's other questions and refuses to answer even when she gets extremely worked up and angry at him. He continues to insult her and her cancer and finally Hazel tries to physically attack Van Houten but Augustus leads her outside before she can. He promises that he will write an epilogue for her and that it will be better than anything Van Houten could write. Van Houten's assistant then offers to take them to the Anne Frank house. Hazel and Augustus both have some difficulty with the stairs, but they both make it to the top and have their first kiss in a room full of strangers after Hazel decides that it's okay to kiss Augustus in the Anne Frank house because Anne Frank kissed someone in the Anne Frank house. The two go back to their hotel room and after a quick timeskip Hazel leaves a venn diagram on Augustus's nightstand that looks something like this (yes, this picture is in the book itself):

In chapter 13, they tell Hazel's mom about what happened with Van Houten and then Hazel and Augustus get some more time alone, but all Augustus wants to do is talk. He says that he had a PET scan while Hazel was in the ICU and that (this is painful to even type oh my gosh) he "lit up like a Christmas tree". His osteosarcoma has returned. Stage IV, terminal. It's spread to his hip, his liver, his chest, and various other places. Augustus promises to fight it for her and tells her that the reason he was fighting with his parents before leaving for Amsterdam was because he had to go off of chemotherapy to go to Amsterdam. Hazel tries to reassure him that he will get his epic battle, his reason for living, but Augustus won't accept that cancer is a heroic way to die.

In chapter 14, they return home from Amsterdam. They get champagne on the airplane as a cancer perk and Augustus has to sleep for most of the trip because of the pain from the cancer. When they return home, Hazel and her dad talk about how the universe just wants to be noticed and about AIA. Hazel begins her routine of hanging out with Augustus most of the time at his house as he goes through typical cancer treatment. Isaac comes over, too, and they discuss Monica and how she shouldn't have dumped Isaac. They then go and egg Monica's car because she deserved it. Hazel takes pictures, including the last picture she ever took of Augustus.

In chapter 15, Hazel and Gus have dinner with all of their parents. Hazel and Gus continue to talk about Amsterdam, which confuses their parents slightly. The next week, Gus ends up in the ER, but Hazel isn't allowed to see him because their family wants it to be family only. She ends up sitting in the waiting room just worrying about him. Two weeks later, they return to the park where Gus asked her to Amsterdam. He says that he now imagines himself as the skeleton, not the kids climbing on the skeleton sculpture. They drink champagne from Winnie the Pooh cups. It's quite possibly their last date.

Well, this section was immensely sad. Sorry about that. I'm not even going to try to say happy reading this time because it just gets worse.


TFiOS Passages!

Hey, everyone! So this week I've got to bring y'all some passages from chapters 11 through 17.  First though I'll just very quickly summarize what happened.  They went to Amsterdam, Van Houtan's a d***, Hazel and Augustus made out in the Ann Frank house, they bumped uglies in Gus' hotel room, Augustus has cancer again.  Finally, I'm extremely tires so I think this time I'll just stick to one passage per chapter, that's what? 7 passages? Yeah that's fine.

(Pg 162-163) "'Okay,' he said. 'Okay,' I said."
So this is a very short simple quote, but you guys need to recognize just how important this word is to them.  If you flip back a ways through your book you'll see that they use this word to symbolize the cliche "I'll love you forever and always until my dying days blah blah blah..."  So something you might want to think about, keeping this in mind, is why at that exact moment would they say this?

(Pg. 188)  "'The important thing is not whatever nonsense the voices are saying, but what the voices are feeling.'"  Okay so some of you might be mad at me for quoting such a terrible man, but realize that his character is amazing in making you think that he's a terrible man, kudos John Green.  Anyways, this one isn't necessarily connected to the book, however I wholeheartedly agree with this, not just in music (although I am so passionate about feeling the music rather than hearing the words) but in all literate conversations.  We all have the capacity to lie, or to just avoid the truth, to not say exactly what we're feeling, but if you just tune out the words themselves and listen to how they're saying these words, you can understand them so much better.  (And, yes, I know that this is the chapter in which Hazel and Augustus do the nasty, however if you want to read about things like that there's a whole dark corner of the internet just waiting to show you all it has to offer)

(Pg 214) "He was stroking my hair. 'I'm so sorry," I said. 'I'm sorry I didn't tell you,' he said..."  Now I'm sure that, without a bit of context, this would be confusing.  This was when Gus told Hazel that his cancer came back, that he (and a lot of other people) had know about it since Hazel went into the ICU.  However once he tells her this, one of the first things she says is "I'm sorry."  Why is this important?  Well, she could've been infuriated at Gus, and everyone else who'd known, for not telling her, for keeping her in the dark when the one man she loves is in worse condition than she is.  But instead, all she can think about, at least in this latest section of the book that we've read, is how horrible it must be for him.  I don't want to preach, honestly, but we all need to think about the situations in which we make our own mountains out of someone else's (not a perfect takeaway from the phrase "making mountains out of molehills" I know).

(Pg 225) "'How are they eyes?' 'Oh, excellent,' he said. 'I mean, they're not in my head is the only problem.' 'Awesome, yeah,' Gus said, 'Not to one-up you or anything, but my body is made out of cancer."  Four words; Get friends like this.

(Pg 232)"'You know we love you, Hazel, but right now we just need to be a family.  Gus agrees with that. Okay?' 'Okay,' I said.  And who do you think Hazel was actually saying "Okay" to? HmmMmMmmMMMmM?

(Pg 236)  "Gus squeezed my hand. 'It is a good life, Hazel Grace.'"  Now why of all times would he decide to say this?  Not when they were having that beautifully romantic dinner, not after they fell into each other (and back out.... and back into...), but when he is in the late stages of a very nasty cancer that could take him at any moment right after talking about the fact that he's dying.

Ohhhh no, this last chapter is just fighting and hurt and I'll be taking no part in it thank you.

But I'll see you all next week! In our final blog post EVER LoL (lots of love)

Week 7 Discussions! (Audrey)

Hey everyone! It's week 7 of 8 already, and we're getting to the really good but also sad part of the book ohmygooooood the book is going to come to a close soon. So, let's discuss chapters ten to fifteen!

  • What do you guys think of Hazel's t-shirt-- "C'est ne pas une pipe"-- and how she connects the same idea that it's merely a representation of the pipe, not the pipe itself, to An Imperial Affliction?
  • What is going through Hazel's mind when Augustus reveals that his cancer has returned? Since this makes Augustus a "grenade" now, how do you think she is taking the information and the sudden switch in relationship roles (as Hazel was previously the grenade, and now Augustus is.)?
  • What is the significance of the "Funky Bones" structure in the park? Did you realize what it meant in the beginning of the book? How do Hazel and Augustus look at them differently after all that has happened?
That's all I've got for tonight. Looking forward to next week! (hahahaaanonotreallythisbookispain)

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