What is expected and unexpected in John Green's The Fault in Our Stars?  

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hazel Grace meets Augustus Waters in the first chapter of Green's The Fault in Our Stars. The first step to their expected romance can be found in Hazel's attraction to Augustus, which is expressed as follows: 

"Look, let me just say it: He was hot. 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" (9).

The next thing that needs to happen in order for the expected love affair to start is for Augustus to declare his attraction to Hazel, which he does as follows:

"'Why are you looking at me like that?' Augustus half smiled. 'Because you're beautiful. I enjoy looking at beautiful people, and I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existences'" (16).

Augustus declares that he won't deny himself of simple pleasures, which also suggests that he won't allow anything he wants in life to get away. This subtle hint foreshadows that he won't let Hazel get away; therefore, the romance can be predicted and expected from this point going forward.

As stated in the previous answer, the death of Augustus is unexpected based on the fact that Hazel's condition seems to be worse than his throughout the novel. Another unexpected twist to be discussed, then, is the way Hazel and Augustus are treated when they meet her favorite author Peter Van Houten in Amsterdam. 

From emails apparently sent by Van Houten, the kids believe they are cordially invited to meet the author of An Imperial Affliction. Unfortunately, they discover that the one being cordial to them is not Van Houten but Lidweij, his assistant. Even though Van Houten does not invite Hazel and Augustus to meet him, it is completely unexpected for him to treat the kids with such angst and disrespect--especially when he says the following:

"Sick children inevitably becomes arrested: You are fated to live out your days as the child you were when diagnosed, the child who believes there is life after a novel ends. And we, as adults, we pity this, so we pay for your treatments, for your oxygen machines. We give you food and water through you are unlikely to live long enough . . . You are a failed experiment in mutation" (192-193).

No one expects an adult to speak to dying children like this. Even though Van Houten is a sorry excuse for a man, he crosses a line by saying what is in the above passage.

Furthermore, it is unexpected to see Hazel stand up for herself with such gusto when she holds Van Houten to task as follows:

"Listen douchepants . . . you're not going to tell me anything about disease I don't already know. I need one and only one thing from you before I walk out of your life forever: WHAT HAPPENS TO ANNA'S MOTHER?" (193).

The situation escalates quickly, and Augustus ends it by taking Hazel out of the house immediately. This scene between Van Houten and Hazel is certainly unexpected; however, the strength of the expected love and bond between the young lovers supports Hazel through this disappointing meeting.

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Two themes can be discussed in regards to prediction and expectation: love and death.

First, if you are in the beginning chapters of the book, you might be pondering what happens in regards to the relationship with Hazel and Augustus.  The flirtation found within the support group in the “heart of Jesus” should lead you to believe that Hazel and Augustus fall in love.  In short, they do fall deeply and madly in love with each other (so much so that Augustus gives Hazel his “wish” from the Make a Wish Foundation).

More importantly, though, John Green drops misleading hints throughout the book that it is Hazel who is the more critically ill cancer patient.  We are thrown this kind of red herring by the reactions of Hazel’s parents, the distress at taking her breathing machine overseas, and Hazel’s own persistent brooding.  The irony is that it is Augustus who is the most critically ill patient.  Augustus takes the opposite approach:  he never really discusses the progression of his disease.  The reader, then, is surprised to learn that Augustus’ latest medical tests “lit up” with the escalation of his cancer, that Hazel is called to assist Augustus at the gas station due to his severe infection, and that Augustus eventually dies.