Running head: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS 1
Tykeyah Hollis
Rasmussen College
Course# G141/COM1002
Professor Name: Jenessa Gerling
Due Date: 3/6/2022
The story revolves around a seventeen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, who meets Augustus Waters after attending a cancer patient’s support group, and they fall in love. They both have cancer. The movie, therefore, takes the audience through the journey of the two battling the illness and their self-identification process. Despite being a sad story, there are many lessons to learn. The movie argues that young people with cancer are not different from the other kids; the only difference is that they are battling an illness.
One of the prevalent concepts is the concept of self. The self-concept depicts the way a individual perceives, thinks about and nevertheless evaluates themselves. Self-concept in this movie is more malleable because the main characters, Hazel, and Augustus, are young, and they are still going through the process of self-discovery and identity formation. It is usual for people who are suffering from cancer to self-identify with the experiences of their illnesses. Augustus tries to know hazel beyond the illness, but Hazel is confused because she thinks she already told him who she is. Augustus clarifies by asking her who she was beyond the illness. He asks to know what she is passionate about and her hobbies.
“’So, what’s your story?’” she then replies “‘I already shared with you my life story. I received the diagnosis when ‘” He interrupts and says,” ‘No, I am not referring to your story about the cancer. Your real story. Hobbies, Interests, and passions, … Please don’t tell me that you are exactly like those people who get defined by their disease. I am already familiar with so many people like that. It is disheartening. It feels like people believe that cancer is a form of growth business, am I right? The taking-people-over business. But surely you haven’t let it succeed prematurely’” (Kirkman et al., 2019).
Hazel identifies herself with her illness at the beginning of the movie, but this later changes. On the other hand, Augustus does not identify himself with the illness. His main fear is oblivion; he was remembered for great things and not just the boy who died of cancer. She also has low self-esteem and lacks self-awareness. Hazel is so guarded and refuses to form any relationships at the beginning of the movie because she thinks she will cause them too much pain when she dies. At one point, she refers to herself as a grenade. It is also evident that Hazel does not see herself positively; when Augustus compliments her beauty, she denies her beauty. At the end of the movie, both Hazel and Augustus have become aware of whom they are. This happens through the relationship, where they each have moments of caring for each other. Augustus can see himself and value his life. Hazel no longer identifies herself with the illness.
The other concept that is prevalent in the movie is relationships. Hazel’s and Augustus’s relationship starts as a friendship, then develops into a romance. According to Mark Knapp’s, the five stages of coming together are initiating, experimenting, intensifying, integrating, and bonding. The stage of initiating is seen during the cancer group support meeting when Augustus kept staring at Hazel, and the two go on to size each other up. Experimenting is whereby Augustus invites Hazel to his house for the first time, and they end up sharing some details about themselves. Intensifying is seen in the moment when the two characters (Augustus and Hazel) decides to go together to Amsterdam. Augustus then reveals that he was in love with Hazel as they had dinner. And later, they have their first kiss at the Anne Frank House. The integration stage happens before the intensifying stage in this relationship. When Hazel and Augustus become romantic partners, it joins them as a couple. The couple does not achieve the bonding stage because Augustus dies (Green, 2012).
The third concept in the movie is emotional messages. The movie is overall emotional as it shows the story of the main characters’ battle through cancer. The emotional messages in the movie make the audience understand how the actors feel about each other and how they feel about issues. This can be seen in the case of Hazel and her parents. The parents let Hazel know that they love her through emotional messages. For instance, in one scene, Hazel’s mother tells Hazel that she will still be her mother even if she dies. Many emotional messages between Hazel and Augustus end up bringing them together. One instance is whereby Augustus explains to Hazel that his cancer has come back and is spreading all over his body.
The fourth prevalent concept in the movie is listening. Evaluative listening refers to listening whereby people judge the speaker by what they say. This can be seen when Augustus is trying to learn more about Hazel. He tries to understand and judges her for defining herself by the illness. Throughout the movie, the relationship between Augustus and Hazel becomes stronger and stronger. This is contributed mainly by empathic listening. As they communicate and keep asking each other questions, they have a better understanding of each other, and they understand what the other person is saying both emotionally and intellectually. Through interpersonal communication, both Augustus and Hazel can achieve their relationship goals and main their bond. Hazel tells Augustus, “I can’t really tell you how grateful I am for our small infinity. There is nothing in this world I would trade it for. Within the numbered days, you offered me a forever, and for that I am grateful.” (Green, 2012)
Elements of communication
One of the communication elements present in the movie is the sender. Sender refers to the person who intends to convey the information to another person. The sender knows the ideas. This can be seen during Hazel’s second time at the cancer group. Augustus is interested in talking to her and thinks she is very beautiful. However, he is the only one that is aware of this information. He keeps staring at Hazel throughout the session, and they both start sizing each other up. The second element of communication is the receiver. A receiver is the recipient of the message and has to translate the message into thought processes and eventually respond to the sender (Wijaya and Helmi, 2019).
In some cases, the meanings may differ depending on the receiver’s education and experiences. This can be seen in the scene where Hazel asks Augustus why he is looking at her the way he does. Augustus replies because she is beautiful, but Hazel does not think she is. “I enjoy watching beautiful people. See, I decided not to refute myself the simpler desires of existence a while back. Particularly as you so astutely pointed out, we’re all going to die soon,” Augustus. Hazel replies,” Okay, that’s great, but I am not beautiful” (Wijaya and Helmi, 2019). Hazel is the receiver in this case, and she perceives herself differently from Augustus. The third element is a channel. Channel refers to the medium the sender uses to pass along the message to the receiver. In the movie, several channels of communication are being used, that is, in-person, text message, via telephone, and written correspondence.
Written correspondence can be seen in the movie’s last scene, in which Augustus is buried. Peter von Houston delivers to her a letter which Augustus wrote. On reading it, it is her eulogy that Augustus had written and where he professes his love for her. The other communication element that is present in the movie is encoding. This refers to using certain symbols such as pictures, actions, and words, among others, to pass the message. When Augustus wants to invite Hazel for a picnic for the first time, he brings her flowers. This represents affection, and Hazel can encode the message and agree to go on a date.
Several concepts can be seen in the movies, that is, the self, listening, emotional messages, and relationships. All these works together to make the movie worth watching. The audience can relate to the characters on a personal level. One gets to see the struggles that cancer patients go through and how hard they try to be normal and lead happy life. For instance, the main characters come to self-awareness as the movie ends. They both found meaning in their lives, and cancer no longer defines them.
Green, J. (2012). The fault in our stars. Penguin Books.
Kirkman, A. O., Hartsock, J. A., & Torke, A. M. (2019). How the Fault in Our Stars illuminates four themes of the Adolescent End of Life Narrative. Medical humanities, 45(3), 240-246.
Wijaya, F. R., & Helmie, J. (2019). An analysis of directive speech acts in the Fault in Our Stars movie script. Jurnal JOEPALLT (Journal of English Pedagogy, Linguistics, Literature, and Teaching), 7(1).