Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

When we brought up The Fault in our Stars in class today I got super excited to have the chance to talk about my favorite book on the blog! The title of the book comes from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. In The Fault in our Stars, Augustus and Hazel are both cancer patients who fall in love. Augustus has been in remission for a while, but Hazel is still very sick. Augustus receives an email from their favorite author, Van Houten, who he has emailed with the details of their situation, which describes the complexity of their situation in terms of stars, or fate. The email reads as follows:

"Dear Mr. Waters,

I am in receipt of your electronic mail dated the 14th of April and duly impressed by the Shakespearean complexity of your tragedy. Everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia: hers, that she is so sick; yours, that you are so well. Were she better our 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!)[...]"

So basically, stars = fate. In this email, Van Houten is arguing that Cassius, and by extension Shakespeare, was wrong when he said that people should take the blame for what happens in their lives and not blame things on fate. Van Houten says that this is wrong because people can't control their fate. (This reminds me of Unbearable Lightness...) Hazel and Augustus's fate just turned out to be really horrible, but that's not their fault.

Hazel and Augustus are star-crossed lovers in every sense of the word. Hazel refers to herself as a grenade, saying that she could explode any time and leave a path of devastation in her wake. She tries to cut Augustus out of her life in order to minimize casualties when she inevitably dies, but their love is too strong and they can't stay away from each other.

So my question for you guys is: Do things happen in life because of people or because of fate? Both? To what degree do you think the two affect each other?


Bonnie Cash said...

I think that sometimes we might think that people come and sway our decisions, but overall our fate has always been decided. People might come along that feel like they're swaying our decisions, but in reality they've come along for a reason. Fate met you with a task or a person so you can learn something or gain knowledge, good or bad. While sometimes we feel we meet people out of stroke of luck or fate, it usually applies to everyone. We've met everyone because our fate is already determined and they're a crucial part of our lives. Everyone is here to teach us something, we just have to figure out what that is.

Tiffany Tavassoli said...

The role of fate in people's lives is something I rally like discussing and it interests me greatly. I think that what Bonnie had to say is really true. I think that people that comes in our lives could be considered a phenomenon that occurs by "chance." I think that these people that we meet along the way in our lives define the chances that eventually lead up to our fate. I think that no matter what happens, fate will always triumph in the end. The people we meet only help us to get one step more towards are fate. Going back to the Unbearable Lightness of Being, all of those chances and coincidences that led up to Tereza and Tomas being together did happen by luck, but the series of chances it took to get them together explains the power of fate. Fate will act whatever way it must to make sure that people reach their destiny in life.