When was the last time you felt certain of your impending future? For cancer survivor, Hazel, the answer is never. In The Fault in Our Stars, sixteen year old Hazel lives with cancer and attends a support group where she meets Augustus, another young cancer survivor who changes her outlook on the world forever. He takes Hazel on an adventure of love, friendship, and pain, and together they yearn to have authority over their uncontrollable fates. Isaac, a blind teenager, and Hazel’s mom also play significant roles in her life. Similarly, in Of Mice and Men, George and Lennie strengthen their friendship through love and suffering, and they learn that humans have some control over their end destination. At the ranch they work at, Lennie and George have to choose how they want their lives to turn out, which directly impacts the choices they will make regarding the future. While John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men both establish motifs of friendship, games, and hands, they convey different universal ideas about humanity. In particular, Green suggests that humans cannot always manipulate every situation, while Steinbeck focuses on the ideas that men often have a choice in their destinies.
In each novel, Green and Steinbeck use the motif of friendship to illustrate a different theme. Green uses the motif of friendship to create the idea that humans can’t always determine the outcome of life. Hazel has many trials regarding her cancer, such as her breathing and the ability to make friends, as she is afraid of hurting others if she dies. Augustus becomes her friend when he is able to understand her pain: he never left her side again. In one instance, Hazel wakes up in the ICU and the nurse informs he...
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...the motifs of friendship, hands, and games to symbolize multiple ideas about humanity. Specifically, Green believes these motifs represent the lack of control humans have of the future. On the other hand, Steinbeck asserts humans can achieve what they want the future to be like through their own actions. As Denis Waitley once said, “Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” This idea of living in the present moment is ingenious: why waste your life worrying when you can be making the best of every moment? The future is in your control, so don’t hold back.
"Denis Waitley Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
Green, John. The Fault in Our Stars. New York: Dutton, 2012. Print.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin, 1937. Print.
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