"It's a metaphor" I have no doubt that you completely understand and stand by this statement that the act of putting an unlit cigarette in Augustus Waters' mouth is in fact a metaphor. But for some folks, we don't see it asa metaphor, we see it as situational irony, or a simple statement. Please explain how it is a metaphor.
Well, a character in a novel saying that something is a metaphor is not the same thing as the author of the novel saying that it’s a metaphor. Gus’s intellectual grasp often exceeds his reach (he calls a monologue a soliloquy, and misuses quite a few of the bigger words in his vocabulary). But I do think the cigarette is a metaphor, albeit a different one for us than it is for him.
Gus’s idea is that the cigarette is a metaphor for illness, and he keeps it unlit and in his mouth as an expression of his power over illness. “You put the killing thing between your teeth but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.” Gus’s thinking here is that HE has the power. This is why he tends to use the cigarette when he’s feeling nervous or powerless. (He’s also using the most famous commercially available carcinogen to make this statement, so obviously there’s a connection there in his mind: Humans can prevent cancer by not smoking; cancer is something we can have power over; your job is not to give cancer the power to kill you; etc.)
But of course Gus is wrong about all of this, or at least almost all of it. You may have SOME control over whether you die of cancer (you can choose not to smoke), but in most cases humans don’t have control over illness. “You don’t give it the power to do its killing” imagines more agency over illness than we actually have, because in the end much of the fault is in the stars, not in ourselves. So to us, the unlit cigarette is a metaphor for our false perception of control, and our urgent need to feel in control. It’s no coincidence, then, that when Gus’s life is spiraling out of control and he finds himself powerless before fate, he tries (and fails) to buy cigarettes.
I wish I were cooler. More impressive. My charm entirely depends on my funnily awkward and weird personality. I wish I had something else, something more solid.
"You deserve to be with somebody who will drive three hours, just to see you for one."
The truth is I’m not in charge of my happiness. I’ve tried to be more in control of myself, but at the end of the day, it’s everybody else who dictates my mood. I’m not in a good place, and it’s dangerous here.
sticks and stones may break my bones but words constitute my entire existence and my ability to meaningfully interact with the universe because we live in a textual reality in which everything is constructed and coded by language there is no escaping the symbolic dimensions of it there is nothing outside the text there is nothing outside the text there is nothing outside the text
Don't you think that having two teenagers kiss in a place as sacred as the Ann Frank house more than just a little bit offensive?
I’ve been getting this question a lot. I can’t speak for the movie, obviously, as I didn’t make it, but as for the book:
The Fault in Our Stars was the first non-documentary feature film to be granted access to the Anne Frank House precisely because the House’s board of directors and curators liked that scene in the novel a great deal. (A spokesperson recently said, “In the book it is a moving and sensitively handled scene.”)
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor, had this to say: ”The kissing scene in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ in the annex of the Anne Frank House is not offensive or against who Anne Frank was. What Anne communicated in her diary was hope. She celebrated life and she celebrated hope.”
Obviously, the Anne Frank House and the ADL do not have a monopoly on Anne’s life or her legacy, but their opinions are important to me.
Plus it was THE FIRST TIME that a girl kissed a boy in a teen romance I mean has that ever happened? Ever?
This is a good joke, and I enjoyed it. And I will take this opportunity to again apologize for saying a stupid and offensive thing.
But I do want to underscore that in the post above, I am talking about the book. In the book, Hazel does not kiss Gus. So if I wanted to congratulate myself for that, I couldn’t, because in the book, Hazel does not kiss Gus. (It’s not stated who, if anyone, kissed whom.)
I don’t think it was inappropriate. The scene wasn’t comparing the Holocaust to teen cancer. It was juxtaposing human suffering with human suffering.