8 Reasons I Fell In Love With “The Fault in Our Stars”

(Sort-of spoilers ahead, specifically in #3, 5 and 7. If you haven’t read the book yet, you should be able to read the other numbers or at least the bolded sections. Maybe writing this in depth list isn’t so helpful to people looking for a good book to read if it spoils parts of the novel…oh well.)

Yesterday I finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, which has got to be one of the greatest modern novels composed, for the following reasons (in a somewhat but not really particular order).

1) Allusions and Symbolism. Lots and lots of allusions. Being a former AP English Lit student, I was able to identify them many of them as the meaning each work brought to the novel. Allusions include “The Red Wheelbarrow”, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, and of course, Shakespeare. The title of the novel comes from a line in Julius Caesar, in which Caesar says, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves” (Shakespeare 1.2.140-141). Furthermore, there is a smorgasbord of symbols, particularly representations through the characters. There is a ton of water (rebirth, cleansing) symbolism (for example,  Augustus’s last name is Waters and they (Hazel and Gus) travel to Amsterdam, a city famous for its canals).

2) Writing Style. I’m usually a fan of the classical, lots-of-fancy-language-and-run-on-sentences style of writing, but the ideas surrounding the novel are so strong John Green does not need to be “fancy”. Moreover, it just makes more sense the writing style is more relaxed, considering a teenager is the narrator. It includes some script-like conversation between characters (Example: Me: Hi Mom. Mom: Hi there), which I really enjoyed for some inexplicable reason.

3) Themes. There are a multitude of important concepts covered in the novel, the most important being the struggle for immorality and two ultimate life questions: Will I be loved? Will I be remembered?

The novel emphasizes the way even a novel cannot immortalize an individual. For example, John Green states, “Nothing (at least that can be done by humans) immortalizes anyone. The Fault in Our Stars will hopefully have a long and wonderful life, but it will eventually go out of print, and eventually the last person ever to read it will die, and then the characters will no longer live in any consciousness” (The Fault in Our Stars Q and A 5-6).

So that might seem depressing, especially to someone like myself who adores the possibility of immortality promised in writing. However, Green goes on to explain, “Also, that is okay…What Gus in particular must reconcile himself to is that being temporary does not mean being unimportant or meaningless” (TFIOS Q and A 6). Even though one is mortal, the here-and-now of life is just as important as it would be if our lives were remembered forever. Essentially, the novel suggests the meaning of life is to continue to lead significant lives notwithstanding our own mortality.

The novel also describes the struggle of those like Hazel who attempt to refrain from becoming a “grenade”, harming their loved ones with their departure (specifically death). John Green demonstrates through Hazel and Gus’s relationship hurting one’s loved ones, simply by being loved, is okay. As Gus writes, “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you” (TFIOS 313).

4) Characters who also love literature, metaphors, and using big words. These are people I can relate to! Not only do these characters make reading more personable (to me at least), it allows John Green to include important literary allusions flawlessly (see #1) in the novel.

5) “Okay”. Isaac and his girlfriend say “Always” to each other as a sugary, romantic way of saying “I will love you forever”. “Okay” becomes Hazel and Gus’s “Always”, which is not a promise of a forever but of real, substantial love. Sort of the kind of thing I find attractive in a relationship (not overly romantic).

6) Realism. Many of the other components of this list could fit into this category, such as writing style and theme, but I wanted to point out just how real this book feels. Its characters and the interactions between them seem pretty legitimate to me. The novel addresses realistic ideals, including the impossibility of human immortality.

7) The novel does not portray cancer patients as overly cheerful, strong, wonderful people, or the dead as virtuous and venerable. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mommom, who passed away this year. But she had many, many flaws. Cancer patients, stereotypically depicted as heroic survives, can be these astounding, angelic individuals. But they are still real people, who experience anger, misjudgments, and, well, all of the normal human emotions. All of the cancer patients in this novel-Hazel, Gus, Isaac and Caroline Mathers-are complex characters with good and bad qualities.  Additionally, when Isaac and Hazel write their eulogies for Gus’s funeral, though they opt for a more sentimental speech at his actual funeral, they poke fun at his life and his shortcomings. Green does not “sentimentalize or romanticize anything in the book” and combats the oversimplification that “suffering is heroic, and that cancer suffering in particular strengthens you and makes you better” (TFIOS Q and A, pg 23).

8) I read this novel at a perfect time in my life. The past year, more specifically the last month, of my life has been encompassed by the question of the meaning of life. More importantly, what is it that I want from my own life? While I was reading the novel, especially in the beginning, I was shocked by the reality of my own mortality, and, in short, would not accept it. As I began to realize I was “temporary”, I spiraled into more depression. I would channel my inner Augustus Waters and ask myself, what is the point if no one will remember us?  After finishing the novel, I have been satisfied with a somewhat answer. Indeed, there is a point in living fully even though we are only mortal. I have yet to discern the specifics of the meaning of my own life, but will and must continue to hope living is truly worthwhile.

I am so excited to see the movie when it is released in theaters, and am very pleased to have enjoyed the “small infinity” contained in this novel.

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A Pro of Breaking Up

It’s been a little over a month since my ex and I broke up. I would like to  report a full recovery, but this of course is not the case. I’ve thought about him almost every day, and recently there have been some pretty bad nights. Additionally, I’m not quite sure how to equate the break-up into discerning my levels of depression; I cannot decipher if my depression is making the break-up more difficult or if the break-up is making my depression worse. Or maybe both.

However, I have recently noticed how the break-up has helped me become closer to my friends (again). When I was still dating my ex, he was usually the first person I turned to whenever I had an issue  because I knew he would text back immediately. Now that I am dedicated to establishing (and enforcing) that post-breakup “space”, I find myself incessantly turning to my other friends for help. I am also spending more time with them, in and out of school, which has breached the distance between us.

For example, today in my lunch/lab technician period I was able to enjoy a 30+ minute conversation with my best friend about, among other things, the couples in her stories and our multiple OTPs (which of course destroys the purpose of a “ONE true pair”, but that hasn’t stopped anyone else). Last night we texted for about two hours, and we plan to take her prom dress shopping  (hopefully with our other friend) this weekend.

I still miss conversing with my ex, and will be grateful when, after the pain has waned, I can talk to him again. However, I am thoroughly enjoying my restored closeness with my best friends, and really hope they sense it too. I also hope they realize how sorry I am that while going out with my ex we were not as close as we should have been.

Lenten Progress Report: Well, I caved, and I am quite disappointed in myself. Though I did not venture into the depths of Tumblr, I listened and sang various songs which perpetuate my bad mood. However, I will not be discouraged and remember God love sinners, and I can redeem myself.

Another bad religious joke (courtesy of my little sister): Hey, do you wanna build an ark. I know-a (Noah) guy.

I should stop disappearing…

I have returned from another long break from blogging, which occurred due to

  • deadlines for financial aid stuff for college
  • lots of schoolwork-now I have four actual classes with actual homework and which actually require studying
  • my poetry explication for AP English, which is worth THREE TEST GRADES, was due on Monday, March 3rd. Two weeks before this was due, I actually started doing research for my poem and realized I could not find enough literary criticism to write a successful paper,  so I had to pick a new poem and restart my research
  • and, of course, gosh darned depression.

Lately I have been feeling lonelier than usual due to my break-up with my boyfriend, but “Gonna Get Over You” by Sara Bareilles, featured in my last or second to last post,  is still helping me a lot.

Just out of curiosity I looked up how long it takes for you to get over a relationship, and according to relationship experts, it usually takes about half as long as the relationship lasted to heal completely. For me, that means 8 months (we were together for about 16 months), which seems like a very long time. I suppose the emphasis there is on “completely”. Slowly but surely one gets over a relationship, though minute, lingering feelings could remain months after the break-up. However, by that time most of the pain should be gone.

This is the month the rest of my college acceptance/rejection letters should be coming in, though Johns Hopkins University will not contact me until March 28th (so far away!). I will be impatiently waiting and checking the mail every day as soon as I get home until I know where I have been accepted and can start making some really big decisions.

My poetry explication was a great distraction from my depression-try hard mode had been engaged-but now I need to start motivating myself once more. Hopefully part of that motivation will include frequent blog posts, which is a sentiment I always sing of but never really deliver on. Eh, no harm in trying again.

Feeling #ForeverAlone on Valentine’s Day?

It could be worse. Your boyfriend could have broken up with you the week of Valentine’s day.

Yeah….

I’m still in a period of mourning-currently I’m in the guilt stage where I’m looking back on what I might have done differently to prevent the break-up, though I suppose it would not have changed much. What are the other stages of breaking up I have gone through so far?

First it was denial, which occurred right after we broke up. Nothing really felt that different at the time, so it was hard to realize I no longer had a boyfriend. In the middle of my stage of denial, I had a night of crying hysterically and thinking how unfair our break-up was because I really love him. I had thought our relationship was perfect, but now I see from his side it wasn’t, and I wonder how long it had been that way.

I continued with my denial until I suppose the end of the next day, because I had gone through a whole school day that had no involved seeing him. Though we agreed to be friends (because we do have a fantastic friendship) I conveyed I needed space for some time in order to get over him.

In order to push through my lingering sense of denial, I listened to some really sad break-up songs (mostly Taylor Swift) so I could get some crying out of the way. They hurt a lot, but I believe they will help me in the long run. Acting like a strong, I-don’t-care-we’re-over type of woman in real life doesn’t help anything; in my opinion, it simply prolongs the pain because one does not confront their emotions and let them wallow and become stronger inside. My friend also shared an excellent Sara Bareilles song with me that was exactly what I needed-a song saying that I was still devastated by the break-up, and would not get over this guy very quickly, but one day I would. At this time I truly entered the  mourning stage.

I’m still very much sad, but I will survive. Though I might have mixed feelings on why we broke up, I am definitely not mad at him for his timing. I would rather be broken up with prior to Valentine’s Day than to think my relationship is perfectly fine on Valentine’s Day when it’s really not, only to be broken up with a few days later.

Though there are a lot of songs I could relate to my situation, the one that puts me the most at ease is Taylor Swift’s “Sad Beautiful Tragic”. Despite the tragedy of the relationship, it was very beautiful at the same time, and once the pain has passed I will be able to look back on it and reminisce of how wonderful (albeit bumpy) this relationship had been.

Thanks to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along-Block, I no longer say “Everything happens for a reason”. Just, “everything happens”. And you deal with it.

This Quote is Gonna Be Famous One Day

I was working on my AP English homework (for once, not procrastinating) and I was reading  Perrine’s Literature Structure, Sound, and Sense, 8th Edition. It essentially states poetry does more than communicate information; it communicates a variety of experiences and caters to more than the intellectual dimension.

At the same time, I was texting my boyfriend, talking about how my therapist had asked what my boyfriend and I had in common….which isn’t a lot. It’s sort of crazy how little we have in common. My therapist kept asking if we liked the same music or movies, or had the same sense of style, and I answered with either a  “no” or an “eh sort of”.

Anyway, as my boyfriend and I discussed how we had very little in common, I thought about why I like him so much. A large part of it is that he exposes me to experiences, or dimensions, I would never have encountered had I not befriended him. In fact, looking at my relationships with my other friends and even my sister, all of the people close to me add so much more to my life than I could attain as an single person.

That was when I had a moment of unintentional brilliance, and came up with the following quote.

“The best relationships are those which add another dimension to one’s life” 

-wiggygirl3 (unless someone else has already come up with it and I don’t know about it)

Ha, no stalkers getting my name today!

My boyfriend exposes me to really interesting (albeit unnecessary) facts and an amazing sense of selflessness. My one best friend exposes me to Broadway and taught me the concept of always being there for those you love at any given moment. My other best friend exposes  me to awesome books and taught me  it’s totally possible to enjoy silence with loved ones without any awkwardness. My little sister exposes me to new music and taught me how to love someone without crowding their personal space.

All of them have exposed me to and (hopefully) made me more accepting of divergent ways of thinking and living. I am eternally grateful for their impact on my life.

I’m not certain no one else has come up with this quote or a saying similar to “mine” (I’m using quotations because I don’t know if I actually have the right to call it my original idea). I did a quick Google search (of course) and I can’t find any quote exactly similar…so I hope it’ll be okay.

If this is indeed my own, original thought…it’s gonna be famous one day.

Maybe.

Howdy

I love greeting people with howdy. So, howdy y’all, I have not blogged in a long time, due to a mixture of so much to do in so little time, between schoolwork and soccer, and, when I do have spare time, often being too unmotivated to write, which is quite upsetting.

I do not know if readers have recognized this yet, but I have been seeing a psychologist for the treatment of  depression  and anxiety (I could go back and see if I ever blatantly mentioned this, but I’m far too lackadaisical). Last night was a pretty exhausting session, but I’m attempting to be hopeful and say I’m recovering and moving forward.

Interjection for a funny little story:

One day I was at the psychologist, and I brought up how even when I make minute mistakes, they can make me feel stupid in the most upsetting way possible. After discussing the matter for a few minutes, she began to ask me some seemingly random questions. She inquired if, whenever I have to clean a room (her example was a living room), I was upset if everything was not put back in exactly the same spot as I had found it. I of course, responded no, because it does not bother me.

Then she asked if I kept my room neat, which I overtly laughed at, because my room could be considered a war zone some days.

At first, I was vaguely interested in why she was asking me these questions, wondering if this was going to become some grand metaphor that held the key to curing depression and conveyed the meaning of life. She continued to question me. Did I count in an unusual way? If I stepped on a crack did I have to step back and go over it again without stepping on the crack?

Then I’m like…wait…does she think I have OCD? I sort of laughed internally at the thought, and whatever path she was treading upon she must have abandoned after I answered the questions, because she did not bring it up again. But just now I looked up legitimate symptoms of OCD, and I actually have some of them…but then again, for a time I was also convinced I have borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder, so it’s not like self diagnosis is useful in any way.

The End.

Homecoming was a little over a week ago, I think (the past month or so is a big blur). I went with my girlfriends who took quite some time to get ready, and then we had to wait for my one friend’s parental units to arrive to ogle her, so we were sort of late. My boyfriend had to wait outside in the cold (poor guy). But it was fun and I danced a lot with my boyfriend and with my friends. My boyfriend and I have been going out for about a year now; though we do not have an official start date, we were first most evidently a couple at the homecoming dance last year.

My one best friend went with a boy who was apparently flirting with a ton of girls-and did not recognize the fact all the girls were friends and would inform each other of his shenanigans. So, whenever he attempted to dance with her, I would place my hands on his chest, gently push him away, stand between them, and dance with her. And it worked quite nicely, especially with my other best friend also partaking in this activity.

Before the dance I warned my boyfriend of the situation, and I told him that, if I saw the kid, I would need to him to hold me back (to, yanno, prevent me from murdering him). So, as we were waiting in line to get into the dance, I turned and saw the boy, and started slapping the crap out of my boyfriend, telling him repeatedly to “hold me back”…it took him a moment to understand, so it was just me grabbing his arm and shouting at him to “hold me back”. Must have been an amusing scene. During the dance he kept turning us so I was as far away from the boy as possible.

All I can say is good riddance to a bad seed.

So what else have I been up to? Soccer mostly. I have (mostly) accepted my position as team benchwarmer (along with a fellow senior), and now it’s the postseason, so there are a few more players the coach brought up from Junior Varsity to theoretically play with us, but they usually just sit the bench with me. However, I have been chosen as a penalty kicker if the need arises, which is a frightening thought, especially after today when, during practice, I only made one out of four shots.

My team was ranked 16th out of 16 seeds in our group, and we faced the number one team on Tuesday.

And won. =D

It was an amazing thing to behold-even if I did not get to play, I felt like a part of the team. We move on to the second round tomorrow and play a pretty tough team. I’m just praying it does not go to penalty kicks.

Well, enough rambling for one night. Hopefully I’ll have more time soon to blog consistently. Tchuss!

Obligatory Last First Day of High School Post

So today was my very last first day of high school. Essentially, my first day of senior year.

Driving to school was pretty cool, though when I walked out into the parking lot after school there were so many cars and people that it was a little overwhelming. It’s fun blasting music with my sister in the morning though.

All my classes are amazing, with the exception of gym, which is average at the worst.

My best friend is in my lunch, study hall, and three of my four classes. My other best friend has one class and then lunch with me. Me and my boyfriend don’t have any classes together, though we do have lunch and study hall together. He’s probably going to be lab teching, which i was also considering doing. Essentially as a lab tech you do menial labor for the science teachers, but I figured it would look good on a college app since I’m planning on going into biology.

My teachers are all fantastic. My Anatomy and Physiology teacher is hilarious, and my gym teacher is the nicer of the senior gym teachers. My AP English teacher was my English teacher last year, and though she demands a lot of us, she is phenomenal. AP English, the class I’ve been looking forward to since freshman year, is made better with her presence. My AP Chem teacher is really chill.

I felt like I was actually close to people too. I’ve had issues with loneliness, but I felt pretty much at home strolling through the crowded hallways. I visited and had conversations with old teachers and friends I hadn’t seen over the summer, and it was really nice.

So I’m very optimistic for this year. There’s a lot to do, but I’m going to work my hardest and make the most of the single year I have left in high school. It’s starting to sink in that I’m a senior (finally).

Alright, I better go start that 2 hour homework assignment our AP English teacher already gave us…we are supposed to expect this every night, which is really going to suck while I still have soccer. I really wanted to do this blog post though.

Good luck to everyone else starting school, and especially to my fellow seniors and freshman like my little sister.

If I seemingly disappear, blame AP English!