Relationship between parents and children

Fear and sorrow

Hazel’s relationship with her parents plays a central part in the novel The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Hazel, who has cancer, does not know how long she will live, but she knows that she could die at any time. Therefore, life with her is unpredictable and the knowledge of her inevitable death is always at the back of her mind. 

This becomes clear at the very beginning, when Hazel talks about her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction. Hazel is obsessed with finding out what happens to the other characters in the book after the main character, Anna, dies and the book stops mid-sentence. It is especially important for her to know what will become of Anna's mother (Chapter 4, 13%). Later it becomes clear that Hazel is desperate to know this because she is worried about her own parents and the people she will leave behind. 

Hazel’s parents assure her that they are grateful to have her and that she also brings them much joy. But for the sensitive girl, the feeling of causing them suffering is always in her mind. Hazel sees her father crying at the cancer meeting where the doctors are discussing her health: "I hated hurting him. Most of the time, I could forget about it, but the inexorable truth is this: They might be glad to have me around, but I was the alpha and the omega of my parents’ suffering." (Chapter 8, 14%).

The loving and caring mother

One particular idea is burned into Hazel's memory. When she was almost dying before she received the new medication, she heard her mother say that she would no longer be a mother if Hazel died: 

She said, 'I won’t be a mom anymore.' It gutted me pretty badly. I couldn’t stop thinking about that during the whole Cancer Team Meeting. I c...

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