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?