"The Fault in Our Stars" V. "An Imperial Affliction"

"The Fault in Our Stars" is a brilliantly written book. I especially like how author John Green uses "The Fault In Our Stars" as the resolution to the abrupt ending of "An Imperial Affliction." You could say it is a meta-narrative.  "An Imperial Affliction" ends abruptly mid-sentence, representing the death of the main character but also the fullness of life of all characters.  It's fictional author Peter Van Houten is unable to finish the stories of the other characters, because he is unable himself to finish his own story.  He is as the Dutch Tulip Man, a con, a lover, and a possibly good man, who is stopped mid-track by the death of Anna.  For Peter, life ended when his daughter's life ended. There can be no more to the story.  His inability to even imagine a continuation, except for the hamster, matches with his inability to live past his own tragedy.

 "The Fault in Our Stars" offers another answer.  In the midst of the home where Anne Frank found life in the midst of death, Augustus and Hazel find life in the exchange of a breath-taking kiss of love. Applause breaks out, just as we the reader applause in chapter twenty-four when we learn that Hazel's parents have too chosen the continuation of life.  In contrast to "An Imperial Affliction's" abrupt ending, after the death of Augustus, Hazel and Isaac keep living and in the last chapters of the book we are given hope of the continuation of life for all characters, even after Hazel is gone.

In some ways, this is really the story of Hazel's mother. A woman who has made her profession taking care of her daughter. A woman who when first faced with the reality that she would outlive her daughter says, "I will no longer be a mother."  Gradually though she comes to the realization that she will always be a mother, whether her daughter is living or deceased.   She will always be, "Hazel's mother."  And then while her daughter is still simultaneously living and dying, she begins preparing for when her daughter will no longer be.  She begins preparing for the continuation of the story, a continuation that connects her current story with her future story.

"The Fault In Our Stars" is a story for anyone who has ever lost someone they love.  It's hope is in its permission to keep living.  Its message is that the greatest gift one can give their missed love one is to continue to live, to continue to write, and to continue to love.  It is a story about Grace!


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