Arguing With Hazel Grace
Known fact of the teen world: Augustus Waters fears oblivion.
Or, rather, feared.
At the very beginning of the John Green novel The Fault in Our Stars, the story of Gus and Hazel commences with a discrepancy between their opinions of oblivion; Hazel sees his genuine fear as pretty much invalid, unreasonable, and a little egotistical. And it may come across as somewhat selfish to fear not being remembered, but the way I see it Augustus Waters had all the right in the world to fear oblivion. His fear came from a dream to do something so great that the world would acknowledge his name; this dream led to hope, hope to be able to become that man with a title. And that hope changed everything about the way Augustus looked at life. The way he spoke as if he was always on a stage, the way he acted as if he always had an audience, the way he did everything and anything with more grandeur than the common man was because he never felt he was the common man. He felt he was more than that, and that feeling brought so much energy and happiness to his life though he was facing such difficulties in reality. This hope and belief that he could live an extraordinary life is what led Gus to be so happy. If fearing oblivion made Augustus Waters do things a way most people do not, which then brought a smile to his face, then so be it.
Of course, Hazel is right. “There will come a time when all of us are dead.” And sure, “there will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught.” That’s true, no doubt. But is there any wrong in dreaming? Dreaming to be up there with Aristotle and Cleopatra, dreaming to maybe be written down in a book as someone heroic, dreaming to leave a good mark that has some influence on the world, or your country, or even just the small town that you live in? And if that dream adds more smiles and laughter and energy to your life, how can it be wrong?
Hazel is right in the sense that the world’s memories will soon be nonexistent, but I personally feel as if there is no wrong in wanting your name to be existent in the world until the world reaches that point of nonexistence. And for Augustus, since wanting his name to be known brought him so much hope and happiness, and literally changed the things he said, what he did, and how he looked at the world and his own capabilities, he can fear oblivion all he wants.