Flashcards in The Fault in Our Stars Deck (1):
Because the universe seems predisposed to creating consciousness, it appears to want to be observed. While this perspective doesn’t go so far as to propose a god presiding (governing) over the universe, it does imply that the universe is in some way conscious of the life in it. It also says people don’t have the knowledge or authority to say for certain that a person’s consciousness is temporary.
According to Hazel’s father’s view, Augustus’s importance may not end with his death, and he is in fact acknowledged, perhaps not exactly as he would like but still the universe in some form knows of his existence. Moreover, her father’s words stay with Hazel and alter her own feelings. During her Support Group meeting after Augustus dies, Hazel asks herself why she still wants to be alive, and she concludes that she feels obliged to notice the universe. The suggestion is that her father’s idea has given her a sense of purpose that she didn’t have before.
Pain and death are side-effects of living. They are not desirable but they are inevitable.
The reason, as Augustus suggests in his letter to Van Houten that Hazel reads at the end of the novel, is that the pain you cause others when you die is a mark that you mattered. Augustus says happily that he left his “scar” on Hazel, meaning he hurt her but he also had an effect on her life that she’ll carry with her always. That type of pain, the novel suggests, is necessary, and in fact it’s a part of joy. Hazel touches on this idea in her eulogy for Augustus. The first thing she says to the gathered crowd is that there’s a quote hanging in Augustus’s that always gave the two of them comfort: “Without pain, we couldn’t know joy.”
Although everyone will eventually die, as Hazel points out in Support Group, death's immediacy to the terminally ill means they can't avoid considering what comes after death, and the potential that all that's waiting for them is oblivion.
What the novel ultimately suggests is that one person's death doesn't consign their significance and relationships to oblivion, and that what makes our lives matter are the relationships we form. As Augustus learns, his importance isn't defined by the fact that his life is temporary, because his importance to those around him will carry on.
A refrain repeated throughout the novel is that the world is not a wish-granting factory. In other words, the things we want to come true often don't, and reality can be quite different from our fantasies.
Through these details, the novel shows that the the false and feel-good conventions regarding cancer kids are really just hollow clichés used by society to deal with an uncomfortable subject.
The Author's Note refers to the idea that “made-up stories can matter” as “sort of the foundational assumption of our species,” and from that point forward the value of fiction is a prominent theme throughout The Fault In Our Stars.