Youth and colloquial language

The novel The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is narrated by the 16-year-old first-person narrator Hazel. Despite Hazel’s young age, at times she uses a more academic language, quoting philosophical ideas or metaphorical turns of phrase, which prove her wisdom and college education. At other times, , she uses modern, every-day, and youthful language.

There are a lot of colloquial and juvenile turns of phrase scattered throughout the novel. A few examples are given here. Hazel metaphorically states that she thinks she has to "outlast four of these bastards." (Chapter 1, 11%). She describes Augustus like this: "He was hot" (p. 16). She describes his voice as "sexy" (Chapter 1, 33%). When Augustus flirts with Hazel, she says "Honestly, he kind of turned me on" (Chapter 1, 74%). Hazel and Augustus watch Isaac and his girlfriend Monica "kissing (…) rather aggressively" (Chapter 1, 89%), implying that they were kissing fiercely.

Youthful language is predominant in the dialogue between the young cancer patients, as in this conversation between Augustus and Isaac: " 'Sucks,' Isaac said after a second" (Chapter 14, 40%); " 'Awesome, yeah,' Gus said. 'Not to one-up you or anything, but my body is made out of cancer.' " (Chapter 14, 60%).

Youth language in the novel consists not only of the use of such words and expressions as are frequently used by young people, but also of various stylistic devices, such as hyperboles (Strong exaggeration), similes, and metaphors (see "Stylistic Devices"). Right at the beginning of the narrative, for example, Hazel explains that she is told at the support group that she would be "in the heart of Jesus" (Chapter 1, 1%). " The heart of Jesus" represents an exaggeration here. When Hazel describes the illness of group leader Patrick, she explains, "how he had cancer in his balls" (Chapter 1, 1%). The creation of new words is also youth-specific: "We drank from paper Winnie-the-Pooh cups." (Chapter 16, 100%) or "my Travel to Amsterdam Outfit" (Chapter 10, 1%).

"Okay" is a specific word in the narrative that connects Hazel and Augustus, just as the phrase "always" for Isaac and Monica presents their love for each other. This arises when Hazel and Augustus are about to hang up the phone, saying "okay" over and over until Augustus thinks "okay" might become their "always" (Chapter 5, 29%). "Okay" becomes their  word. They ask "okay" when they want to know how the other is doing or when they want to show the other that they are there for each other (Chapter 5, 64%, 79%, Chapter 6, 71%, Chapter 7, 75%, Chapter 10, 22%, 56%, Chapter 11, 11%).

Augustus' parents also tell that when their son was dying, he kept saying "okay" (Chapter 22, 20%). With this, Hazel knows immediately that he was thinking of her. She finally says goodbye at his casket with this brief word "I leaned forward and kissed his cheek. 'Okay,' I said. 'Okay.'" (Chapter 22, 20%).

Formal language

Hazel is an exceptionally gifted and intelligent first-person narrator who possesses a level of education that is atypical for a 16-year-old. This fact is made clear from the first pages, from her clear, elegant and refined language. Hazel spends a lot of time reading and also attends seminars at MCC, a girls college, since she has already received her high-school diploma. Augustus comments, "That explains the aura of sophistication" (Chapter 1, 25%). 

Augustus also proves to be very clever and particularly well-educated in the dialogues, and is able to rival Hazel in terms of language. Hazel and Augustus often use elevated language in their interactions with each other, which is illustrated here below by various examples:

- The two teenagers make fun of Patrick for using the word "literally" incorrectly. He thinks that the members of the support group have "literally" gathered in the heart of Jesus (Chapter 1, 13%). Yet "literally" means that something is actually so and not just figuratively.

- Augustus impresses Hazel linguistically during their first phone call:  

 'Grand,' he said. 'I have been wanting to call you on a nearly minutely basis, but I have been waiting until I could form a coherent thought in re An Imperial Affliction.' (He said “in re.” He really did. That boy.) (Chapter 5, 7%). 

"In re" comes from Latin and means "with regard to," "concerning."

- Later, when Hazel is in the hospital, she describes the group of medical students accompanying the doctor as a "coterie of medical students." (Cha...

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