Augustus Optimism In John Green's The Fault In Our Stars

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Throughout John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, many idolize Augustus’ optimism as the greatest way to combat the disastrous effects of cancer, allowing him to find joy and excitement in life. For Augustus, the optimistic mindset is controlling, by demanding an expectation to leave a legacy behind. As a result, this optimism influences his happiness being solely dependant on achieving legacy rather than on what he so desperately desires: independence. I argue that optimism is not the ultimate coping mechanism because it builds up false hope not allowing Augustus to be realistic about his imminent death. His optimism is generated from and proven in this essay through his and Hazel’s parents lack of discipline providing encouragements to pursue…show more content…
This unrealistic optimism leads Augustus to live a life of superficiality by perceiving his cancer as non-life threatening. As a result, he has an overconfident attitude, which fails him to realize the seriousness of his cancer. “Over confidence breeds false hope, which engenders inflated expectations of success and eventually the misery of defeat” (Polivy and Herman 128). In agreement, this shines a direct light onto Augustus’s character leading to his downfall. The realization of over confidence will help him cope with his and Hazel’s impending death to accept reality. Although it is a strong realization, that optimism will not save them, it is important because his days are limited and this will allow him to live out his numbered days realistically to spend time with his family and friends. Furthermore, through optimism he expresses, “he is on a roller coaster that only goes up,” (11) in one direction, where nothing but positives lay ahead. On the surface, this implies his extreme excitement of hope, climbing higher and higher during the ascent where everything will work out. However, he faults to recognize the theoretical roller coaster on descent, where his hopes build up, only to plummet back down to earth uncontrollably all at once. This is often the most exciting and anticipated part of the ride for most, however; for Augustus he would not be able to enjoy the rush until his realization of reality. In addition of his confident attitude, Augustus is mocking death by using a cigarette as a metaphor to express his invincibility. Where, “You put the killing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing” (20). However, this is not rational optimism as it is furthering himself from the brutal reality of cancer hindering his ability to cope. Through these correlations, it
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