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.

-Kathy

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.
Scott






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.

-Kathy

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)
Scott







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)

Week 6 Passages - Kathy

I'm here to bring you through some important passages from chapters 6 through 10 of The Fault in Our Stars. :)

Passages I found interesting/symbolic/important:

Then I found myself worrying I would have to make out with him to get to Amsterdam, which is not the kind of thing you want to be thinking, because (a) It shouldn't've even been a question whether I wanted to kiss him, and (b) Kissing someone so you can get a free trip is perilously close to full-on hooking, and I have to confess that while I did not fancy myself a particularly good person, I never thought that my first real sexual action would be prostitutional.
 This reveals so much about Hazel's character. Her low self esteem is show in the last sentence and her constant worry prevails.

Funny quote to break the tension!
"Oh, my God. I've seen him at parties. The things I would do to that boy. I mean, not now that I know you're interested in him. But, oh, sweet holy Lord, I would ride that one-legged pony all the way around the corral."
No commentary needed on this one. It's just thrown in for laughs. :)

"I'm like. Like. I'm a grenade, Mom. I'm a grenade and at some point I'm going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?"
My dad tilted his head a little to the side, like a scolded puppy.
"I'm a grenade," I said again. "I just want to stay away from people and read books and think and be with you guys because there's nothing I can do about hurting you; you're too invested, so please just let me do that, okay? I'm not depressed. I don't need to get out more. And I can't be a regular teenager, because I'm a grenade."
This shows more about Hazel's character and her fear of letting people down. It's foreshadowing, but maybe not in the way we expect.

On Tuesday, they told me I'd go home on Wednesday. On Wednesday, two minimally supervised medical students removed my chest tube, which felt like getting stabbed in reverse and generally didn't go very well, so they decided I'd have to stay until Thursday. I was beginning to think that I was the subject of some existentialist experiment in permanently delayed gratification when Dr. Maria showed up on Friday morning, sniffed around me for a minute, and told me I was good to go."
This provides a lot of insight into much of Hazel's life so far.

Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves." Easy enough to say when you're a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.
This is where the book gets its title. :)

 It's not that I had some utterly poignant, well-lit memory of a healthy father pushing a healthy child and the child saying higher higher higher or some other metaphorically resonant moment. The swing set was just sitting there, abandoned, the two little swings hanging still and sad from a grayed plank of wood, the outline of the seats like a kid's drawing of a smile.
Hazel's depression seeps through here. She insists that she is not depressed, but she so clearly is, especially in this passage.

 Twelve-year-old leukemic Michael had passed away. He'd fought hard, Lida told me, as if there was another way to fight. Everyone else was still around. Ken was NEC after radiation. Lucas had relapsed, and she said it with a sad smile and a little shrug, the way you might say an alcoholic had relapsed.
The day to day life of cancer patients is depressing.

"Kinda," I said. But it wasn't that. The truth was, I didn't want to Isaac him. "to be fair to Monica," I said, "what you did to her wasn't very nice either." 
 "What'd I do to her?" he asked, defensive?
 "You know, going blind and everything." 

 "But that's not my fault," Isaac said.
 "I'm not saying it was your fault. I'm just saying it wasn't nice."
This is funny, but in a very morbid way.

"I'm in love with you," he said quietly. 
 "Augustus," I said.
 "I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you."
Please think and comment about this quote below - what it means for the plot, for Augustus's character, and for Hazel's character as well as for their relationship.

(not so) Happy reading!
Kathy
 

Discussion Leader: Week 6 (I think?!)

Hi guys,
Hope everyone enjoyed their reading for the most part. :) So:

1. At this point do you think Hazel loves Augustus? Do you think she's in denial that she does? Or that she's afraid to love him due to the repercussions of her dying at some point? All of the above? Explain.

2.What is a kiss on the cheek to you? Does it differ based on the person it comes from and also the way they completed the action?

3. What takes place in the Anne Frank house? Why? (This question might be too early, sorry left my book in the car, it's too late to get it)

4. In the section you read, what part of the book spoke volumes to you?

Good Luck guys! Goodnight!
~Autumn

Week 6-Summary (take two) (Audrey)

Hi all! It's been kind of a weird week on account of my week mix-up, sorry about that. I'll just go over everything again, in a bit more detail this time.
Hazel's cancer story isn't very complicated-- she has thyroid cancer that had spread to her lungs. The cancer causes her lungs to fill with water which would kill her over time. In the novel, she's on a clinical trial of a medicine called Phalanxifor that lowers the amount of fluid in her lungs.
Augustus' is similar, he used to play basketball until he learned he had osteosarcomaa type of bone cancer. His leg was amputated and he is cancer-free at this point in the novel. Augustus admits that because of his prosthetic leg, he failed his driver's test three times, but he passed anyways as a "cancer perk", an incentive given to cancer victims out of pity.
Hazel and Augustus trade favorite books. Hazel stays up all night reading The Price of Dawn and buys the next two in the series when she goes out to the mall with Kaitlyn for her thirty-third half birthday. After Kaitlyn leaves, a little girl comes up to Hazel and asks to try her breathing tubes on. Hazel assures her mother it's fine and smiles as the girl thanks her and leaves.
Later, Hazel describes the plot of An Imperial Affliction, a book about a young girl named Anna with bone cancer, her one-eyed mother, and the "Dutch tulip man" whom Anna believes is a con man. Her mother falls in love with the Dutch tulip man and starts to test a treatment for the cancer when the book ends mid-sentence. She talks to Augustus, who is riveted with the book and continually asks spoiler-esque questions about the book, much to Hazel's amusement. As they're talking Hazel hears someone sobbing on the other line, and Augustus explains Isaac was having a breakdown. Hazel drives to Augustus' house to help comfort him.
Isaac rants about the futileness of life and death and basically has an existential crisis about suffering and loss. Augustus encourages him to throw/break some of his possessions to make him feel better, which Isaac does until he wears himself out, collapsed on the floor.

Connections! (By Scottayyy)

Oh, the feels! Oh, the absolute feels!!!

So, this week I'm here to make some connections from chapters 6-10.  (Oh, and I think that one of my jobs as the "Connector" entails me connecting things in the book to real world events, however I am unaware (and honestly don't care enough) of such events to do so, so I'll simply continue doing as I was taking the form of most relate-able comedians ("If I had a nickle for every time...")

(Pg. 91) Now, I don't know how many of you have had cancer and then were offered the trip of a lifetime and all you needed was your parents consent because you were, at the time at least, a minor.  But there will always come an occasion when something so spectacular could happen to you, and all you needed was just one "yes" from your parents, teacher, boyfriend, girlfriend, (I could go on all day listing things so I'll just say ) etc. and what they give you isn't a "yes" or a "no," instead they remove the responsibility from themselves onto someone else.  Not fun.

So, I'm not gonna recap all of the family drama from pages 98-99, but all I wanted to point out is that I've had my parents complain that they want me to speak out more about myself, at least to them, to be more "teenagery" and the one time I finally do, my mother gets upset with me and gave me this look that seemed to be saying "Oh my God, why are you acting like this? I didn't do anything, what's your problem?" I'd be surprised if someone told me they haven't experienced this.

(Pg. 101-102)  You don't need to be in a (cancerous) relationship to read through this text conversation and not go "Awwwwwww." Because, come on guys, that was adorable.  We may not all have a Gus Waters in our lives,someone who understands that there's pain in your life and chooses not to run from it, but to it because he knows it will make you happy even for a moment, but if you do know someone even remotely close to that, don't let them go.

The next chapter (chapter 7) is just Hazel having a literal brain meltdown from lack of oxygen and wishes she was dead.  Gus comes and stays at the hospital waiting room until he knows she's okay, blah blah blah, yes it's all very sweet but (at least for me) not very connection heavy.

(Pg. 117)  Again with the parents!  Even though Dr. Maria said it's up to Hazel whether or not she goes to Amsterdam, but really it was up to her parents who said no because one of the other doctors said no.  Don't get me wrong, I'd be pissed off too if that was me, however what we need to realize is that they care so much for their daughter that they need 100% safety approval for something like this.  Put yourself in their shoes, would you send your cancer infested child on a trip to another country if there was a maximum 80% guarantee of their safety? If you just said "yes," then you sir/madam must rethink taking on the role of parenthood.


Okay so, this is just a comment on the story itself.  Unlike the rest of my fellow bloggers, I have yet to actually finish this book, so I DON'T KNOW HOW IT ENDS.  And as I read that small paragraph on page 128, all I could think was "Oh that one author guy is probably gonna say some s*** like 'There are no answers, my dear!  You the reader are supposed to leave then ending to your own imagination!'" or something like that.... I can't be the only one who thought that?

Like chapter 7, chapter 9 was really great to read, but I didn't find much that I could relay to y'all as far as relations to life are concerned.

(Pg. 137-138)  God, I love going off on random tangents like the scrambled egg dilemma.  And sometimes we all need to think about things as irrelevant as that.  Just to get away, even for a moment, from all of the horrible things (from your perspective) we go through each day.

(Pg. 144) Oh my god, if you see someone carrying around an oxygen tank or they have fake limbs, DON'T STARE AT THEM.  First off, it's just plain rude to stare at anyone, second if you want to see people with fake limbs and oxygen tanks, there's this awesome thing called Google.

I'd like to think of chapter 10  as a date between the two of them.  No, it wasn't the most romantic thing in human history, but they got to see new sides of one another (emotionally you sick o's) and shared small but very meaningful pecks on the cheek.  Like most cases in these books, I'd be surprised if any of you have experienced these things exactly as they were written, however I'd also be surprised if you said you'd never experienced this kind of a date.  It can't be this big extravagant super expensive dinner and going to see cirque du soleil.  It can't. It's just this simple, not even a date, date that means the most.

And I'm so tired right now that I can't even begin to describe it to y'all so I'm gonna say "Goodnight fellow patrons of the world," and have a wonderful week.






Discussing Okays, Cigarettes, and Grenades

Hey loves,
 We've begun reading...

Here are some questions to think of after you read:


1. What do you think of Hazel and Augustus's "okays"?
2. Do you think Hazel loves Augustus? Is she afraid of something? If there is, what is something subconsciously bothering her?
3. What other meanings are there behind Augustus' metaphor?
4. Is Peter Van Houten right? Is time a slut? Does it screw everyone? What is your experience of such a statement? What to you think the phrase means for them? Does it truly apply to them? How so?
5. Hazel explains she's a grenade, would you have feelings like hers? What do you think Augustus thinks of her words?
6. BONUS: How would you feel as a friend of someone like Hazel, or put in Augustus' shoes?

~Autumn~







Week 5 Connections - Kathy

Hello everyone! This week we read the first five chapters of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, thus beginning the second part of this blog project. I'm here to bring relevant real life connections. This post may not be as long as my connections post for LFA was, but we'll see. :)

Right off the bat, we get Hazel's diagnosis with depression. For me, this hits home. "Late in the winter of [her] seventeenth year" would be February or March, and she would be sixteen (in your first year, you're zero, etc.) I was diagnosed with depression in the past couple of weeks, or late in the winter of my seventeenth year, and I know that this is a huge connection to real life for many people.

Cancer is a huge theme and it affects one in three of Americans, so statistically you or someone you are very close to has been affected by cancer. If not, consider yourself lucky.

Hazel establishes herself as very critical of religion with her criticism of support group and the assumption that praying to God will fix anything. Many of us have gone through times like this - everything seems so grim that religion seems like a fraud entirely. As well, she criticizes the idea of Support Group in general. I can understand this. After a while, the motivational BS you get even just as a regular teenager gets entirely ridiculous. I can only imagine how bad it must be for Hazel.

"There is only one thing in this world shittier than biting it from cancer when you're sixteen, and that's having a kid bite it from cancer." This establishes the pain of death but also the pain others feel when you die, especially if you die young. I haven't personally experienced this, but I have friends who have and family friends who have lost children to cancer and other diseases. My grandma lost a daughter to cystic fibrosis and it was harder on her and my grandpa than on anyone else.

"A nonhot boy stares at you relentlessly and it is, at best, awkward and, at worst, a form of assault. But a hot boy...well." So many girls I know think like this. While I can't relate - as I honestly don't judge guys based on their looks; it just doesn't happen with me - I get the general concept and it's extremely relateable.

Augustus's fear of oblivion is something I experience on a regular basis, but I also experience Hazel's response - knowing that one day we will all be dust. And that thought is comforting. However, I do fear not making a mark, not making a change, dying a lowly death - this is a recurring theme both in this book and everyday life.

Ironically, Hazel's deep connection with An Imperial Affliction is something I experience with John Green's novels, especially Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, although I often do "preach" about their greatness if only because I hope others will find the same solace I do.

Okay, I'm a little ashamed to admit this, but Isaac and Monica's make-out session against the side of a church is something I entirely understand. My boyfriend and I had our first kiss at a church camp. You realize you're in a place of worship, but you honestly just don't care. And that's very relateable, especially since Isaac has little time left with his eye.

Hazel's instant connection with Augustus is something I am lucky to have experienced. The mental connection in which she knows that he wrote his number in the book he gives her, their mutual understanding of each other, etc. is something I have experienced with my boyfriend for years and I've experienced other couples with the same "mental synchronization".

Hazel's aversion to death and counting exactly how many murders are committed in the book she reads is something I would definitely do, being as nonviolent as I am.

"Kaitlyn had the kind of packed social life that needed to be scheduled down to the minute." While this seems a little extreme, I have friends like this. Actually, Kaitlyn reminds me strongly of Autumn, especially with some of the interactions they have. They're friends, but it's just a little bit off due to mixed interests. No offense, Autumn - Hazel and Kaitlyn are still friends, and so are we.

Hazel had a bad lecturer at one point in her 20th Century American Poetry class, something that I'm sure many college students can easily relate to.

Augustus freaks out over the end of An Imperial Affliction, which is very similar to what I did at the end of this book when I read it the first time.

Isaac's need to break something during the Night of the Broken Trophies is something that I, among every other member of my family, have experienced in times of severe emotional distress. Augustus and Hazel do everything they can to help, but there is truly nothing until the pain has been felt.

The invisible third space Hazel feels when she's on the phone with Augustus is dead on. I feel that all the time when I Skype with my boyfriend or call a friend I'm close to. You're physically at home, but you feel like you're with them in some strange third space.

Augustus's "grand romantic gesture" with taking her to the park and making all things Dutch in order to ask her to the Netherlands is something many girls dream about and few experience. It's a running theme among books, romantic movies, and the general idealization of a relationship. Unfortunately, most boys are not Augustus, nor are they any other romantic hero. And, in a way, neither is Augustus.

That's all for this week. Happy reading!

Week 6? Summary (Audrey)

Hi all,
Before we start, I need to say some stuff about the project as a whole. Baker, it's an awesome idea, but we definitely need to organize these posts because this is definitely not working. Or at least it needs better organizing, one a singular book, because this is driving me crazy.
On to the summary!!
In chapters 2 to 4 (if I'm reading this right-- Kindle pages are a bit different than physical ones) Hazel visits Augustus' house to watch V for Vendetta (excellent movie, btw) and takes an interest at his parents calling him Gus. She likes the idea of one person having two names, one of the reasons Augustus calls her Hazel Grace.
Hazel recalls her cancer story as Augustus recalls his, and both involve long extensive medical histories and "cancer perks" that are given to them out of pity. Hazel and Augustus trade favorite books-- She gives him An Imperial Affliction and he gives her The Price Of Dawn. Hazel meets with her friend Kaitlyn at the mall, and Hazel buys the two sequels to the book Augustus gave her.
In chapter four Hazel summarizes An Imperial Affliction and explains that it ends in a cliffhanger, literally mid-sentence with no solid closing. Later on, she goes and meets up with Augustus and a recently-dumped Isaac at Augustus' house. They discuss the futileness of sacrifice through the video game they are playing, and Isaac snaps. Augustus encourages him to break things to make himself feel better.
Until next time!
Audrey

TFOS: Discussion Leader

Welcome! Welcome! To the 2nd part of this groups blog, where we will discuss John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, a tragic "teen" novel where our main character Hazel, a victim of lung cancer, finds herself in the company of a very dashing cancer survivor, Augustus Waters (or just Gus).  And, without spoiling too much, they go on a very emotionally confusing, almost torturous, experience together.

But I'm not here to summarize!  I'm here to give you all a few questions to think about as you will inevitably reflect on what you've just read.

So there's a lot to discuss in these first few 90 pages, however, I'm juts going to try to cover the most important.

1.  In the beginning of the book we find Hazel Grace (yes, I'm going to be calling her that all the time because it's just much catchier than just Hazel) being guilted into going to her cancer support group in the "literal heart of Jesus."  However it is the meeting just after she is really complaining about going that she meets Augustus. For the readers who believe in soul mates, I suspect that Hazel Grace and Augustus would've ended up together regardless of their meeting in the support group that she almost missed.  However, if they'd never met, how different would Hazel Grace's life be without him? Better? Worse?

2. Now, when Augustus invited Hazel Grace over to his place while Isaac was having his break up melt down, even I was feeling the sheer awkwardness of the moment.  However, Augustus was keeping totally cool throughout the whole thing.  What do you think that says about him?  Is it good or bad that he wasn't phased himself at the brokenness of his friend?

3.  So, I've got mixed feelings about Augustus using his Wish to send him and Hazel Grace to Amsterdam.  I mean that's an unbelievably nice thing to do for someone, regardless of you loving them or not.  If someone did something like that for me, on that massive of a scale, I would feel indebted to them forever, and I know that wouldn't be their desired outcome.  I know they'd want me to just be happy that it happened.  Would you say that Gus was too nice, or was he doing what he felt was right?

I know the last time I was the discussion leader I had a lot more questions for you all, but I'm afraid I'm fresh out of ideas this time.  But I'll see you all next week!  Have fun thinking!!
Scott

Forgiveness, the Labyrinth, the Great Perhaps, and the Sum of All Our Parts: A Summary

The Colonel, Takumi, and Pudge are moving on to the next stage of grieving. They are becoming more used to the fact that Alaska, unfortunately, has left them. It is less of a shock, and they are coming to terms with the loss, the impact she had on them, and what she has left them with together as a whole. Takumi leaves a note for Pudge confessing that he saw her the night she died as well. He apologizes for letting her go. He didn't know she would really leave. There is some blame for Takumi as well, and they can all share it. Pudge writes his final, answering Alaska's question. The only way out of the Labyrinth is forgiveness. Alaska was so afraid of her mistake of being inactive at the right time, that she became active at all the wrong times, creating an impulsive eccentric Alaska. Pudge explains that he sees this, and for Alaska maybe that's all she could do. But Pudge is going to try to take a different route and continue to survive and search for a Great Perhaps. He explains that he will forget her slowly. But she will forgive him, and he will forgive her for only thinking of herself. But despite that, she loves them all. Because she is not just a body. She is the girl that taught them all something, especially Pudge. Who she taught how to be brave, sometimes. She is her green eyes and curves. She may be recycled through the Earth for all to benefit from. But she couldn't have been because of her mind, experiences, and relationships. "There is a part of her greater than the sum of her knowable parts." The parts no one could see, but things she said to them that stay with her loved-ones forever. Words, experiences, and wisdom, all passed down from person to person. He isn't sure if he believes in an afterlife. Teenagers are energy and energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it changes shape but never leaves. Pudge believes there's another 'Somewhere" out there, he's not sure what it is, but he feels it must be beautiful. Such a place, where the greater parts of people go, that cannot be destroyed. The parts of people that continue to move throughout the world in different forms of words, thoughts, and wisdom.They thrive, in the hearts of those filled with life. They are an energy, within them.

Autumn

Passages- Week 5 (Audrey)


Hello again! Now that we're finished with Looking for Alaska, it's time to start on the next John Green novel, probably his most popular, the Fault In Our Stars (named for the quote from Ceasar; "the fault, dear brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.")


Passage #1: (pg 3)

Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever , they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.)

A very simple line, but one that holds a lot of weight for the themes in the book. Like John Green's previous books, the work is focused heavily on death, depression, loss, and other common teenage problems that are encountered every day.

Passage #2: (pg. 10)

“There will come a time,” I said , “when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this”— I gestured encompassingly—“ will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness , and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”

This passage is more wordy, but very important. Hazel talks a lot about death and the inevitability of it. Like I said, it's a common theme in the book. It's a very existential crisis-y point of view, one I think everyone experiences every now and then. The only thing that bugs me about this is that it's very... flowery language for a sixteen year old to have said on the spot. Either this was a slight mishap on John Green's part, or Hazel has been saving this speech and perfecting it for a long time. Thoughts?

Discussion Leader - Part 4, Looking for Alaska

Kathy here to lead discussion about the last part of Looking for Alaska.


  1. Was Alaska's death a suicide? Note that this is not a yes or no answer. You have to give reasons for your answer.
  2. Is 'the labyrinth' a relevant concept in day to day life and how, especially as teenagers? Do you believe that forgiveness is truly the answer?
  3. How does Pudge's character develop as a result of Alaska's death? Is this a coming-of-age novel?
  4. BONUS QUESTION: Do you see any symbolism in the knock knock joke Alaska tells Pudge earlier in the story (the one where she tells him to start it)?

I hope these questions will lead to further insight! Happy reading TFiOS beginning this week!

-Kathy


Caraphernilia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz_7WD_-WdU




1. Caraphernilia (adj.) A broken-heart disease whenever someone leaves you but leaves all their things, and unwanted memories behind.

'She left me with caraphernilia'

2. A Pierce The Veil song

Sunshine, there ain't a thing that you can do that's gonna ruin my night.
(But, there's just something about)
This dizzy dreamer and her bleeding little blue boy.
Licking your fingers like you're done and,
You've decided there is so much more than me.
And baby, honestly it's harder breathing next to you, I shake.
I brought a gun and as the preacher tried to stop me.
Hold my heart it's beating for you anyway.


What if I can't forget you?
I'll burn your name into my throat.
I'll be the fire that'll catch you.
What's so good about picking up the pieces?
None of the colors ever light up anymore in this hole.



Nobody prays for the heartless.
Nobody gives another penny for the selfish.
You're learning how to taste what you kill now.
Don't mind me, I'm just reaching for your necklace.
Talking to my mom about this little girl from Texas.



What if I can't forget you?
I'll burn your name into my throat.
I'll be the fire that'll catch you.
What's so good about picking up the pieces?
None of the colors ever light up anymore in this hole.



Just give her back to me.
You know I can't afford the medicine that feeds what I need.



So, baby, what if I can't forget you?
(What if I can't forget you?)
Collide invisible lips like a shadow on the wall,
And just throw, oh no.
You can't just throw me away.



So, what if I can't forget you?
I'll burn your name into my throat.
I'll be the fire that'll catch you.
What's so good about picking up the pieces?
What if I don't even want to?



Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh.



What if I can't forget you?
I'll burn your name into my throat.
I'll be the fire that'll catch you.
What's so good about picking up the pieces?
None of the colors ever light up anymore in this hole.



Just give her back to me.
You know I can't afford the medicine that feeds what I need.
So, baby, what if I can't forget you?
(What if I can't forget you?)
I'd better learn to live alone.



What's so good about picking up the pieces?
What's so good about? What's so good about?
What's so good about picking up the pieces?
Oh.


"You can't just make me different, and leave.." Connections

Hello again, I feel like I may have gotten one of the best parts of the book to make connections on. Despite it being a tad bit sad, it's also beautiful. Before I read this quote, I had no words to describe being changed by someone you love, and that love leaves. I had no words. But Pudge gave me some.

(P.170)
   I stood up and stared down at him sitting smugly, and he blew a thin stream of smoke at my face, and I'd had enough. "I'm tired of following orders, a**hole! I'm not going to sit with you and discuss the finer points of her relationship with Jake, godda** it. I can't say it any clearer: I don't want to know about them. I already know what she told me, and that's all I need to know, and you can be a condescending p**k as long as you'd like, but I'm not going to sit around and chat with you about how godd***ed much she loved Jake! Now give me my cigarettes."


"You don't even love her!" he shouted. "All that matters is you and your precious f***ing fantasy that you and Alaska had this good***ed secret love affair and she was going to leave Jake for you and you'd live happily ever after. But she kissed a lot of guys, Pudge. And if she were here, we both know that she would still be Jake's girlfriend and there'd be nothing but drama between the two of you--not love, not sex, just you pining after like, 'You're cute, Pudge, but I love Jake.' If she loved you so much, why did she leave you that night? And if you loved her so much, why'd you help her go? I was drunk. What's your excuse?" The Colonel let go of my sweater, and I reached down and picked up the cigarettes.




So, the whole situation sucks there's all these emotions, which come with loss. Anger, bitterness, hate, angst, fear, sorrow, pain, aching, heartbreak, and just plain utter loss for words. Someone loving a taken dead girl does not want to hear about the relationship she had, which was not him. Pudge is stuck; he does want to know. But he also really doesn't. It's an even split. Either one of those 2 options leave scars. With what the Colonel says, I think that, Alaska loved multiple people and in different ways, after thinking long and hard about the way Alaska reacted to Jake and the words Pudge used to describe him, as Alaska most likely saw him...

I don't think she loved Jake. She loved the idea of him: a mature, model-esque, hot guy, who caters to her sure, and treats her like the most beautiful thing in the world. But when it came to Pudge, I think he was a bit of a mystery to Alaska as well. She knew boys like him, he was the typical inexperienced, a bit nerdy boy. She wondered why though. She had engaging conversation with Pudge, and shared her thoughts, her mind with him. Even though he didn't quite understand hers, she still showed him. Speaking about the Labyrinth, the book collection, the tragic losses in her life.

(p.172) I wondered if there would ever be a day when I didm't think about Alaska, wondered whether I should hope for a time when she would be a distant memory--recalled only on the anniversary of her death, or maybe a couple of weeks after remembering only to have forgotten.

With such mystery in a loved-girl, now stuck in death, does that wound ever scar? Or stay always? Being scratched at the seams and stitches, bleeding every so often. Perhaps silently, unnoticeably, but still bleeding.

(p.172) She made me different.

"You can't just make me different and then leave," I said out loud to her. "Because I was fine before, Alaska. I was fine with just me and last words and school friends, and you can't just make me different and then die." For she had embodied the Great Perhaps--she had proved to me that it was worth it to leave behind my minor life for grander maybes, and now she was gone and with her my faith in perhaps. I could call everything the Colonel said and did "fine". I could try to to pretend that I didn't care anymore. but it could never be true again. You can't just make yourself matter and then die, Alaska, because now I am irretrievably different, and I'm sorry I let you go, yes, but you made the choice. You left me Perhapsless, stuck in your good***ed labyrinth. And now I don't even know if you chose the straight and fast way out, if you left me like this on purpose. And so I never knew you, did I? I can't remember, because I never knew."



Pudge, doesn't know what's out "there" but his subconscious does hope she exists out "there" somehow. He saw the world, his life, society, emotions, love, friendship, and intelligence all differently. Because she gave him a part of her. But now it's almost as if he wants to tear it out, like it's burning him. She's not there to make the piece fit better. Now Pudge is left with a bittersweetly painful wound in his chest. That was not healed. That was not finished being"sewn" together. It turned to clumsy stitches with memories, thoughts, and lessons from her to scratch at the stitches on their ways both in and out. Pudge knew her pretty well, but he shouldn't beat himself up about it too much. I'm not so sure it was possible to even fully, completely know Alaska. My connection is Earlier in the the book she said the point was not to figure her out. With what Alaska had gone through, that was her defense mechanism. It's mine too. I often find myself saying after someone says, "I'm just trying to make sense of you or figure you out." That is the point. I don't want you to fully know me, It gives me an edge on everyone else. Alaska doesnt what people to see the darkest parts of her. Because she's a good actor, despite the demons she keeps. Connection: Like when she talks about her home life, she doesn't want others to see with their naked eye, the scars and wounds it left. Pudge said he feels different. And i've been there, exactly I don't know if anyone else has but I have.

With no closure, when a loved one leaves or "leaves", with questions unanswered and pieces of them you've now made into yourself. I found myself saying, you can't just change me, and then be gone. You cannot just switch pieces of yourself with some of mine. Because you no longer know what to do with the pieces that are yours, they sit and fester. They hurt they bleed. You forgot what you used and had them for anyways. And now there are holes where they took pieces of you. The ones you knew better. And your missing things. But you can't put a finger on what that actually is. I think  this is how Pudge feels.


Pudge and the Colonel are trying to figure out how drunk Alaska was that night (p.179) I wonder if Alaska was an alcoholic. Or a soon to be. She may have been the best drinker among them, but how and why did she get there? Because the Colonel has not reached the level of intoxication Alaska was at. And it isn't a "fun" drunk to them. What was it to Alaska? Did she enjoy being that drunk? Or did she do it to rid herself of the Labyrinth for a while?

I don't think Takumi, or the Colonel or Pudge ever fully knew Alaska, because she was a mystery. It's what made her so amazing yet was her protection as well. Their school life  and friendship was derived of solving the forever mystery of Alaska Young. However, it could not be done. But they still tried. And they all changed. Grew wiser, more confident.Despite her end "All" decision, she left the boys with wander of the world. Of life. While they may remain sad for now, I think they take Alaska's existence in their heads, and use it to get them by in life. That is my take, what are your thoughts?

~Autumn




Passages (Pg. 137-177)

Okay so from this point on, I'm not gonna be happy about the book, just because it gets so intensely sad, at least for me.  And, if anything, that's a compliment to the book, because it's a rare occurrence that an event makes me emotional, let alone a book.  But anyways, I'm gonna find a few meaningful passages and be done for the night.

So shortly after Alaska's death is announced to the whole school, Pudge is thinking to himself,
               "It's all my fault.
I thought. I don't feel very good.
I thought. I'm going to throw up." (Pg. 139)
Now, being that this is a one-way conversation, I don't know if any of you readers have experienced death, let alone a death of someone so, so close to you, but in my case, it's almost impossible not to blame yourself for it.  So to our dear readers, and to my fellow bloggers, please take a minute to remember those you've lost, give them another moment of your time.

"The whole passage was underlined in bleeding, water-soaked black ink.  But there was another ink, this one a crisp blue, post-flood, and an arrow led from 'How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!' to a margin note written in her loop-heavy  cursive: Straight & Fast."  (Pg. 155)
Not only is this quote Pudge & Alaska's "thing," but what she wrote after the quote has planted a thought much darker than death itself into the heads of Pudge and the Colonel.

"The Colonel sat down next to me in religion class, sighed, and said, 'You reek of smoke, Pudge.' 'Ask me if I give a s***.' [said Pudge]"  (Pg. 157)
We knew that the Great Perhaps, whatever it would be, was going to change Pudge for the rest of his life. Granted, grief, even a grief this strong, will fade eventually, but the bitterness is something that stays with you forever.

"I had wondered who called, and why, and what made her so upset. But I'd rather wonder than get answers I couldn't live with." (Pg. 160)
I think we all need to realize this.  Curiosity is one of the hardest things to fight in our human nature, but sometimes, I think, we need to step back and think about whether or not this is one stone we should leave unturned.

I know there's so much more we could talk about in these chapters, but I imagine that if you're reading this for the first time, you've got enough thinking to do without our help.  So I'll be seeing y'all next week for the final passage of Looking for Alaska!
Take care, everyone
Scott

Week 3 Summary (After-14 Days After)

Hey everyone! Not the brightest part of the book, but I'm here to post a summary.

This section starts with After. They wake up, the Colonel with a hangover, to the Eagle knocking on their door, which is unusual to begin with at Culver Creek. They are ordered to go to the gym, which they do after being reassured that they aren't in trouble but that something terrible happened. At first, they think Hyde has died. Pudge rather constantly brings up the fact that he made out with Alaska in disbelief. When Hyde appears at the gym, they begin to panic, soon realizing that Alaska isn't there. Pudge insists on waiting until Alaska gets there to start, but he soon realizes what has happened yet continues to beg the Eagle to wait.

The Eagle announces that Alaska died in an accident and Pudge flees the gym and throws up. He instantly begins blaming himself for letting her drive drunk and then convinces himself that she's alive and she's just playing a trick on them; this is the only way he can cope with her death. Pudge returns to the gym to see the Colonel screaming "I'm so sorry" over and over again and all of Alaska's friends mourning, or as he puts it, "disintegrating". The Eagle approaches Pudge and Pudge says that he thinks Alaska is pulling a prank, but the Eagle says that he saw her after she hit a police cruiser without swerving or braking and the steering wheel of her car went through her chest.

Pudge struggles with her death for quite some time. He focuses on the fact that she said "To be continued?" after she made out with him. He realizes that he will never know her last words, as the Eagle said her death was instantaneous. He hugs the Colonel for the first time and they mourn together.

Miles calls his parents and informs them of Alaska's death, as he just needs someone to pick up the phone. He then compares his loss to a man losing his glasses and being informed that the world has run out of glasses. It's a beautiful metaphor, as it perfectly describes both his fear and how irrational he believes the situation is.

Pudge and the Colonel continue to mourn as they see Alaska in everything around them at Culver Creek, such as bufriedos and cigarettes. They go through the stages of grief - especially denial and anger to start with. The Colonel leaves to go on a walk to nowhere in particular.

Various visitors try to comfort Pudge, but all he can think is that an instant of blinding pain doesn't feel instant, that none of these people really knew Alaska. Pudge comes up with a standard lie - that he and the Colonel hadn't seen her between going to bed and her death. Pudge ponders that he is in a love triangle with one dead side, given that he is still technically dating Lara.

Pudge has a nightmare about her a few days after her death. It starts off as a good dream, but he soon has to relive her death even though he never lived it.

The Colonel returns about two days after going for his walk. He had walked forty two miles each way, taking forty five hours. He walked until he got too cold and then came back without any sleep, admitting that he has dreams similar to Pudge's. The Colonel copes by memorizing the capitals and populations of all the countries in the world.

Six days after Alaska's death, the students of Culver Creek attend her funeral. Most take a bus, but Takumi, Lara, the Colonel, and Pudge take Takumi's car to avoid the spot where she died. They finally begin to progress to the later stages of grief, somewhere between acceptance and depression for a while. Pudge laments the fact that she has a closed casket funeral and that he will never see her again. It was Alaska's request - her mom had an open casket and she didn't want them to see her dead.. Pudge admits that he loves her present tense and he ponders whether death is worse than his position.

Pudge and the Colonel have to return to Alaska's room to get anything they don't want her aunt to find. Pudge tries to find The General in His Labyrinth, which was Alaska's favorite book, and he keeps it. Near the quote "'How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?'", Alaska recently wrote "Straight and fast", which leads them to speculate that she may have committed suicide. They are both depressed by her unfinished Life's Library - one garage sale to another, ashes to ashes.

They return to school the next day and the Colonel and Pudge have to deal with the everyday trials of school without Alaska, which includes several students mourning her when they hardly knew her. In religion class, Dr. Hyde brings Alaska's question of how to get out of they labyrinth into class.

The Colonel then comes up with a theory, which basically is that Jake calls and they have a fight about her cheating, so she rushes off campus to drive to Nashville and reconcile the relationship. A few miles in, she sees the cop car and she realizes how she's going to get out of the labyrinth and kills herself. Pudge is convinced that this is ridiculous, but it's the best explanation they have. They come up with a game plan to figure out what happens, but Pudge doesn't really want to go along with it - he's too depressed. The Colonel makes him, though.

They go to the police department to talk to the police officer who saw her die and he says that he's never seen someone so drunk that they didn't even swerve. He affirms that Pudge won't get any last words and that her blood alcohol level was .24 (3 times the legal limit for adults in California). He also reveals that she had white flowers in the backseat - the same flowers she got from Jake, or so Pudge assumes. The cop convinces them that it definitely could have been a suicide. The section ends with Pudge just wanting to let her remain dead and not turn her into a selfish b*tch, but the Colonel insists on continuing the search and Pudge grudgingly agrees, ending the section.

Well, long summary. Hope I covered everything!

-Kathy

Week Three Discussion (Audrey)

Hello, everyone! Another week, another section, and this week I'm here to lead the discussion!
So, to quickly recap, Alaska was killed in a car crash, and now Pudge and Colonel are going about their time grieving and looking for answers as to what happened to her.

Now I have some questions for you.

  • What do you think happened to Alaska? The Eagle said there was a jackknifed car and that she ran into it. Was she asleep? Was she drunk and her motor skills were hindered? Was she suicidal? I'm curious to see what you think. John Green himself said he doesn't know what happened, so I know everyone's opinion will be different and there are no wrong answers.
  • What is the symbolism behind the "straight & fast" note in Alaska's book? Why did she write it in after her room was flooded?
  • Pudge makes a lot of remarks on page 156 about why Alaska would have killed herself. ("About hurting me? About wanting me and not him?"/"...not thinking of her promise to me, not thinking of her father or anyone, and that bitch, that bitch, she killed herself.") Is this justified? Explain.

Week 2 Discussion



Hello again friends, 
 My fellow John Green lovers and I have completed another week of reading. We've read pages 73-118. A lot of new things have come to light in this section. Especially about Alaska, but about the rest of the characters as well. We're given more clues about Alaska's past and of the themes throughout Looking for Alaska.





  • John Green makes a metaphor between rain, drizzle, and a hurricane: "So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane." What is so significant about this quote?  What does it tell us about Alaska? What does it tell us about Pudge, and what does it tell us about the two of them together and compared?


  • A lot of the poetry and quotes, and the things Alaska says about herself have reoccurring theme/s. What is/are they? Why? (Depression, love, sadness etc)





  • How does Alaska feel about Pudge? How would you describe her feelings for him as compared to her boyfriend? What makes you say that? 




  • Why do you think "The Night Of" she suddenly left? What was Alaska doing? What was going through the Colonel's mind and Pudge's when they let her go? 


  • Was there any foreshadowing to Alaska's death?







Let me know your thoughts,
Autumn

Connections! (Pg. 55-AFTER)

Hey guys! It's Scott again, now, as the Connection's MASTER, I can't promise I'll do quite as good a job as Kathy, but I'll do what I can... for your sake!

Now, when last we saw dear Pudgie, he received one of the most heartbreaking anticlimaxes in literature history.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I've definitely been a part of such devastating events, and trust me, it's horrible. When you get so close to something that you're almost certain it's going to happen.  It's going to be such a big thing that once it happens, life will never be the same again, and everyone will be so happy! And- and- and... and...... oh, wait it's not actually gonna happen? Well okay that's cool too. (P.S. not cool too)

 Then, our poor friends have broken one of the schools main rules, NO SMOKING ON CAMPUS. Now sure, they've all smoked on campus time and time again, but what made this time so "special" was they were finally caught by the Eagle himself.  There was a short exchange between him and the group, they were all sentenced to meet in "jury" and he was gone (after Alaska picks up the half burnt cigarette and smokes it a bit more in defiance).  We all have an Eagle in our life right? That one guy (or girl) for whom we're always looking over our shoulder whenever we're doing anything remotely against the rules, a "big brother" so to speak.  But I've never really seen the Eagle to be an antagonist to be honest, or even my Eagle.  Both in the story and in real life, I know that they're busting whoever they can because they're simply trying to keep the law, not because they're out to get me or anyone else for that matter.

Have you ever had a friend, or anyone really, try to set you up with someone?  Weird right?!  Even if you know the person, you feel like if the relationship works out then you're going to be indebted to them forever on any relationship matters.  When Alaska begins to talk about getting Pudge together with Lara, all I can think is, "Oh man that's gonna be super weird... Lara's all accent-y, and Pudge really loves Alaska, so it's gonna be all love triangle-y... aww man."  Now, what does that have to do with any connections to the real world? Well nothing really I just wanted to bring that up.

Oh my gosh the "triple and a half date" (pg. 60).  So there's Pudge with Lara, Alaska with what's his face, and the Colonel with Sarah... and Takumi can come too.  Pudge is there to be set up with Lara, but the entire chapter he's really only talking about how much he's suffering seeing Alaska with what's his face!  I have been in this situation so many times, and if you tell me you haven't you're a dirty liar.  Whether you're with someone else or not, we've all had to hang around as the third wheel with the person we really want to be with, because you'll do anything to be near them. Sure that's a bit sappy but it's true.

(Pg. 67) P.S. I don't care who you are, you use your language class as space out time.

(Pg. 72-73) Ever been told a secret, like a groundbreaking secret?  One that you know if you told someone else you would ruin everything? 'Course you have, this is life we're talking about.  I mean, I'm 16 and I already have things I'm taking with me to the grave, and then Takumi has to go and tell Pudge that Alaska, poor sweet (marginally insane) Alaska, ratted out Marya.  Alaska told Takumi who told Pudge who couldn't tell anyone!!

Guys it happened! Thanksgiving eve! Oh these chapters yes! (Pg. 80) So Pudge and Alaska are alone once more and they just have the best of times! Alaska gets to drink some wine, Pudge gets to look at Alaska, Alaska gets to sabotage WW's, Pudge gets to look at Alaska, Alaska figured out what the labyrinth is, Alaska goes porn hunting, ....Pudge gets to watch some porn, Alaska (somewhat) admits that she likes Pudge!!!! Okay okay okay, I need to relate some things here.  We know (we allllll know) that Pudge loves Alaska, and now we know that Alaska likes Pudge, and they just get to spend all of this perfect alone time together and they're just happy and ugh!  When you're with the one you love,but you're not "with" them, you're just happy to be there right?  You're not obligated to be the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend and you can just truly be yourself because what's the harm right? That's what we see here, pure, untainted friendship with just a kick of something more.

(Pg. 92-98)  Now, I'm not a very popular guy (you can trust me on that), but even I've been invited to a friends house had had to say "yes"" out of fear of hurting their feelings.  Granted Pudge and Alaska  were invited to the Colonel's so they were all close friends and no one was "offish" at that point so there was really no awkwardness, but we all know that Pudge and Alaska would've been just fine together... alone.

Okay so now we get to the pre-prank! (I'm not gonna site the pages because this kind of goes everywhere (and you should know what I'm talking about (assuming you read the book like a good little soldier))). If you as me, this would definitely go under Mile's category of the Great Perhaps.  All of his friends got together, did something they reeeeally shouldn't have, and Pudge got a little sleeping bag action.  Whether you've had your Great Perhaps or not (I'm pretty sure I haven't (if I had I'm gonna be really sad)), you will and you'll remember it for the rest of your life, so make sure it's a good one.

Okay, I'm not happy about this, and if you we're, get out now please.   "The Last Day" chapter (Pg. 125)... Pudge was right there, he finally had Alaska, sure she was drunk but that just makes it easier to do the things that you've wanted to do but wouldn't let yourself (for whatever reason that may be).  They were making out (on a dare but still, I'm counting it) and we all felt that moment of bliss, it was pure happiness, and you thought that nothing could go wrong ever again (sounding familiar? (if it isn't then look at the first connection again)) and- and- and-... wait, she's drunk, and VERY upset about something... and she's getting into a car. Not to point out the obvious, but foreshadow city b**** foreshadow-shadow city b****.  I know you all read past that chapter, if you didn't then you're not reading correctly, please see a manual to commence proper reading techniques.  Anyway, it's hard to relate to a situation like this, I really hope none of you were put into this kind of situation, but if you were, I'm really sorry, and I'm really hoping that you got your senses and took control of the problem that was made to self destruct. But, I feel that there's a lesson to be learned from this, a morbid lesson, but a lesson none the less.  If you're feeling happy, in one of the happiest moments in which you've ever been, check your situational surroundings. Think about what could go wrong to ruin it, get a clear head, and do what you need to to contain that beautiful happy moment.

So just like last week, I'm almost out of time, and I'm about to pass out from exhaustion.  Thanks all for taking the time to go through this blog, I think I speak for everyone who's a part of this when I say we'll make it through this Labyrinth of John Green... some day.

See y'all later.








Week 2 Passages

Hi everyone! Kathy here with passages from pages 56-110!

First and foremost, this section was super important to character, relationship, and plot development in general. Along with that comes some really great passages and quotes. The one that caught my attention most was:

Just like that. From a hundred miles an hour to asleep in a nanosecond. I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not f*ck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane. (88)
This passage is extremely important to the development of Alaska and Pudge's relationship. It shows how unattainable he thinks she is and how highly he thinks of her. It's an illusion that she's putting up for him, in my opinion, and it's going to break. What do y'all think about this, specifically what it says about Alaska's character and Pudge's idealization of her?


Bonus passage! You don't have to think as critically about this one. I just wanted to include it, as it is also important to Pudge and Alaska's relationship, which is a critical theme for both the book and this section in particular.
Her hand just above my knee, the palm flat and soft again my jeans and her index finger making slow, lazy circles that crept toward the inside of my thigh, and with one layer between us, God I wanted her. And lying there, amid the tall, still grass and beneath the star-drunk sky, listening to the just-this-side-of-inaudible sound of her rhythmic breathing and the noisy silence of the bullfrogs, the grasshoppers, the distant cars rushing endlessly on I-65, I thought it might be a fine time to say the Three Little Words. And I steeled myself to say them as I stared up at that starriest night, convinced myself that she felt it, too, that her hand so alive and vivid against my leg was more than playful, and f*ck Lara and f*ck Jake because I do, Alaska Young, I do love you and what else matters but that and my lips parted to speak and before I could even begin to breathe out the words, she said, "It's not life or death, the labyrinth." (81-82)
So I included this because it, too, is incredibly important to Alaska and Pudge's relationship, especially Pudge's side. I'd just like y'all to think about it, but not necessarily speak to it directly in your responses.

Kathy

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