Fault In Our Stars Character Assignment
The Fault in Our Stars remains very true to the book. All the key plot points are in tact, and nothing really important is left out. At 2 hours, 5 minutes some things get compressed, a few characters are left out, and details are inevitably dropped along the way, but this is still an impressive adaptation.
But what was changed along the way? Let's take a crack at documenting the differences. We'll start with the most significant. [SPOILERS AHEAD!]
The Big Stuff
1. There's No Caroline Mathers
In the book, Hazel's relationship with Gus is complicated by his ex-girlfriend, Caroline Mathers, a cancer patient who died before the book begins. With her own death always feeling so near, Hazel can't help but compare herself to Mathers.
Mathers presence in the book serves mostly to deconstruct the myth of the strong and serene cancer patient, fighting to the end. Caroline's decline, as described through online updates, also prepares the reader for what Gus will soon go through. Her personality disappears as the disease progresses, finally taking her ability to speak before the end.
2. Gus' Decline Happens Mostly Offscreen
In the book, Gus' steadily declining health is plotted point-by-point until he's gone. Hazel sees him get weak, then stop walking, then confined to his bed. She helps clean him up after he wets his bed. She sees him move to a bed in the living room, only able to get out by wheelchair. The whole thing is excrutiating, but it gives you a real idea of what he's going through.
The movie version drops almost all this, but notably keeps the scene where Hazel rushes to a nearby gas station in the middle of the night after Gus decides he wants to be able to buy a pack of cigarettes for himself. The result is a little jarring. We miss some of the weight of Gus' decline, probably with the intent of keeping the movie from running too long.
3. There Was No Foreshadowing of Gus' Revelation
The book drops a few hints that Gus' cancer has returned, and none of them are in the movie. The big omission was Gus' fight with his mom. When Hazel and her mom go to pick up Gus on their way to Amsterdam in the book, they overhear an argument. Hazel hears Gus scream: “BECAUSE IT IS MY LIFE, MOM. IT BELONGS TO ME.” She thinks he's defending his relationship with Hazel, whose health is so obviously failing, but he's actually defending his decision to travel to Amsterdam in the face of his illness. In the movie version Gus arrives at Hazel's house in a limousine as if nothing is wrong.
4. There's No Kaitlyn
In the book, Hazel's connection to her old life, and the non-cancer world, is Kaitlyn, a high school girl who likes to speak in a faux-British accent and dish about boys. Kaitlyn's biggest moment in the book comes near the end when she helps Hazel figure out how to find Gus' final letter. The movie wisely cuts her out. (That whole manic pixie faux-Brit thing probably wouldn't work onscreen.) And in the process it puts Gus' final letter in Peter Van Houten's hands as he travels to Indiana, which makes a lot more sense narratively.
5. There's Only One Support Group Scene
It's a shame that Mike Birbiglia only gets a minute of screen time as Support Group Patrick, but really this seems like a wise move. In the book, the Support Group pops up occasionally to underscore what it's like to live with and talk about cancer. It's enlightening for the reader, but not really key to the plot.
6. Gus Doesn't Disappear in the Airport
As Gus and Hazel wait to board their flight to Amsterdam in the book, Gus disappears to grab something to eat, and doesn't come back until the plane is boarding, explaining that the line got super long. After boarding the flight, he admits the line wasn't very long, he just didn't feel like being stared at by people in the gate area. Was he embarrassed? No. He says the experience would have "pissed him off," and he didn't want to be angry on such a great day.
"That was the worst part about having cancer, sometimes: The physical evidence of disease separates you from other people," Hazel explains in the book. "We were irreconcilably other, and never was it more obvious than when the three of us walked through the empty plane, the stewardess nodding sympathetically and gesturing us toward our row in the distant back."
This is another scene that was cut for the sake of narrative flow, but in the book helps to underscore bigger points about the other-ness we assign to sick people.
The Medium-Big Stuff
7. We Don't See As Much of Isaac
Isaac's storyline gets dropped and picked up in slightly different places in the movie. Hazel doesn't visit a newly blind Isaac in the hospital like she does in the book. And she doesn't go over to his house and play audio-only video games with him after he loses his sight.
8. Gus' Half-Sisters Are Never Mentioned
As Gus' health declines in the book, his half-sisters, Julie and Martha, who are about 10 years older than him, arrive to help take care of him and to say goodbye. Since they don't really serve the story in any way, they're cut from the movie. In fact we don't see much of Gus' family in the movie.
9. Gus Says "I Love You" at Dinner
When Hazel and Gus go to dinner in Amsterdam, Gus says, "I love you," to Hazel, delivering pieces of his very quotable speech from the book in the process. In the book, this all happened on the plane before they landed in Amsterdam.
How could you not fall for someone who says this to you?
“I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
10. Amsterdam Isn't a Dreamlike Wonderland
In the book, Hazel and Gus arrive in Amsterdam in the spring, when the Elm seeds annually drop from the sky in what the Dutch call the "Springsnow." It turns the entire city into a kind of magical wonderland for them, especially when they're seated outside during their romantic dinner. (They're seated inside, surrounded by fake trees strewn with Christmas lights in the movie.) In the movie, the Elm seeds never make an appearance.
11. Cancer Genre Conventions Aren't Introduced Until the End
The Fault in Our Stars occasionally gets meta in the book, explaining young-adult cancer genre conventions within a young-adult cancer novel. Author John Green uses these digressions to further explain the gulf between how cancer patients are seen, and the lives they live. The only mention of genre conventions in the movie comes with Gus' "Last Good Day," as Hazel prepares to read Gus the eulogy she wrote for him.
12. The World's Saddest Swing Set Isn't Given Away
In the book, Hazel and Gus decide to give away her old swing set with an online ad titled, "Desperately Lonely Swing Set Needs Loving Home." In the movie, they just sit on it and look into each other's eyes.
13. There Are No "Existentially Fraught Free Throws"
In the book, Gus describes hitting 80 free throws in a row on his last day before losing the bottom half of his leg. Then, "All at once, I couldn’t figure out why I was methodically tossing a spherical object through a toroidal object. It seemed like the stupidest thing I could possibly be doing." He calls them "existentially fraught free throws," which Hazel, of course, loves. But they didn't make it into the movie.
14. Hazel Isn't a Vegetarian
In the book, Hazel explains to Gus that she's a vegetarian because she wants to "minimize the number of deaths" she is responsible for. This happens the first day they meet, and it's revisited only once, as they sit down to eat at Oranjee in Amsterdam.
15. The World Is Not a Wish-Granting Factory
In the book, Hazel and Gus, being precocious teenagers, share a few inside jokes. One of them is the recurring mantra that, "the world is not a wish-granting factory." The phrase only pops up in the movie once, when Gus tells Hazel that his cancer has returned.
The Small Stuff
16. They Never Watch 'V for Vendetta'
But Gus does have the poster on his bedroom wall.
17. Hazel and Her Mom Don't Celebrate Half Birthdays
18. Not As Much Video Games
Gus plays a lot more "Counterinsurgence" in the book, making a point of sacrificing his character in heroic ways to save the lives of hostage children.
19. Hazel and Gus Watch 'Aliens' on the Plane to Amsterdam Instead of '300'
20. Hazel Doesn't Have a Sick Day When They Arrive In Amsterdam
It probably would've killed the momentum of the movie.
21. Peter Van Houten Isn't Fat
But he is Willem Dafoe, which seems like a win.
22. Hazel and Isaac Deliver Their Gus Eulogies in the Church Itself
As opposed to the basement, aka "The Literal Heart of Jesus."
23. Gus' Funeral Service Is in the Cemetery
In the book, Hazel leaves his service at the church early and heads to the cemetery for the interment. The movie gets it all done in one place.
Teaching The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars lesson plan contains a variety of teaching materials that cater to all learning styles. Inside you'll find 30 Daily Lessons, 20 Fun Activities, 180 Multiple Choice Questions, 60 Short Essay Questions, 20 Essay Questions, Quizzes/Homework Assignments, Tests, and more. The lessons and activities will help students gain an intimate understanding of the text, while the tests and quizzes will help you evaluate how well the students have grasped the material. View a free sample
Target Grade: 7th-12th (Middle School and High School)
Length of Lesson Plan: Approximately 143 pages. Page count is estimated at 300 words per page. Length will vary depending on format viewed.
Browse The Fault in Our Stars Lesson Plan:
Full Lesson Plan Overview
The Fault in Our Stars lesson plan is downloadable in PDF and Word. The Word file is viewable with any PC or Mac and can be further adjusted if you want to mix questions around and/or add your own headers for things like "Name," "Period," and "Date." The Word file offers unlimited customizing options so that you can teach in the most efficient manner possible. Once you download the file, it is yours to keep and print for your classroom. View a FREE sample
Lesson Plan Calendars
The Lesson Plan Calendars provide daily suggestions about what to teach. They include detailed descriptions of when to assign reading, homework, in-class work, fun activities, quizzes, tests and more. Use the entire The Fault in Our Stars calendar, or supplement it with your own curriculum ideas. Calendars cover one, two, four, and eight week units. Determine how long your The Fault in Our Stars unit will be, then use one of the calendars provided to plan out your entire lesson.
Chapter abstracts are short descriptions of events that occur in each chapter of The Fault in Our Stars. They highlight major plot events and detail the important relationships and characteristics of important characters. The Chapter Abstracts can be used to review what the students have read, or to prepare the students for what they will read. Hand the abstracts out in class as a study guide, or use them as a "key" for a class discussion. They are relatively brief, but can serve to be an excellent refresher of The Fault in Our Stars for either a student or teacher.
Character and Object Descriptions
Character and Object Descriptions provide descriptions of the significant characters as well as objects and places in The Fault in Our Stars. These can be printed out and used as an individual study guide for students, a "key" for leading a class discussion, a summary review prior to exams, or a refresher for an educator. The character and object descriptions are also used in some of the quizzes and tests in this lesson plan. The longest descriptions run about 200 words. They become shorter as the importance of the character or object declines.
This section of the lesson plan contains 30 Daily Lessons. Daily Lessons each have a specific objective and offer at least three (often more) ways to teach that objective. Lessons include classroom discussions, group and partner activities, in-class handouts, individual writing assignments, at least one homework assignment, class participation exercises and other ways to teach students about The Fault in Our Stars in a classroom setting. You can combine daily lessons or use the ideas within them to create your own unique curriculum. They vary greatly from day to day and offer an array of creative ideas that provide many options for an educator.
Fun Classroom Activities
Fun Classroom Activities differ from Daily Lessons because they make "fun" a priority. The 20 enjoyable, interactive classroom activities that are included will help students understand The Fault in Our Stars in fun and entertaining ways. Fun Classroom Activities include group projects, games, critical thinking activities, brainstorming sessions, writing poems, drawing or sketching, and countless other creative exercises. Many of the activities encourage students to interact with each other, be creative and think "outside of the box," and ultimately grasp key concepts from the text by "doing" rather than simply studying. Fun activities are a great way to keep students interested and engaged while still providing a deeper understanding of The Fault in Our Stars and its themes.
Essay Questions/Writing Assignments
These 20 Essay Questions/Writing Assignments can be used as essay questions on a test, or as stand-alone essay topics for a take-home or in-class writing assignment on The Fault in Our Stars. Students should have a full understanding of the unit material in order to answer these questions. They often include multiple parts of the work and ask for a thorough analysis of the overall text. They nearly always require a substantial response. Essay responses are typically expected to be one (or more) page(s) and consist of multiple paragraphs, although it is possible to write answers more briefly. These essays are designed to challenge a student's understanding of the broad points in a work, interactions among the characters, and main points and themes of the text. But, they also cover many of the other issues specific to the work and to the world today.
Short Essay Questions
The 60 Short Essay Questions listed in this section require a one to two sentence answer. They ask students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of The Fault in Our Stars by describing what they've read, rather than just recalling it. The short essay questions evaluate not only whether students have read the material, but also how well they understand and can apply it. They require more thought than multiple choice questions, but are shorter than the essay questions.
Multiple Choice Questions
The 180 Multiple Choice Questions in this lesson plan will test a student's recall and understanding of The Fault in Our Stars. Use these questions for quizzes, homework assignments or tests. The questions are broken out into sections, so they focus on specific chapters within The Fault in Our Stars. This allows you to test and review the book as you proceed through the unit. Typically, there are 5-15 questions per chapter, act or section.
Use the Oral Reading Evaluation Form when students are reading aloud in class. Pass the forms out before you assign reading, so students will know what to expect. You can use the forms to provide general feedback on audibility, pronunciation, articulation, expression and rate of speech. You can use this form to grade students, or simply comment on their progress.
Use the Writing Evaluation Form when you're grading student essays. This will help you establish uniform criteria for grading essays even though students may be writing about different aspects of the material. By following this form you will be able to evaluate the thesis, organization, supporting arguments, paragraph transitions, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. of each student's essay.
The Quizzes/Homework Assignments are worksheets that can be used in a variety of ways. They pull questions from the multiple choice and short essay sections, the character and object descriptions, and the chapter abstracts to create worksheets that can be used for pop quizzes, in-class assignments and homework. Periodic homework assignments and quizzes are a great way to encourage students to stay on top of their assigned reading. They can also help you determine which concepts and ideas your class grasps and which they need more guidance on. By pulling from the different sections of the lesson plan, quizzes and homework assignments offer a comprehensive review of The Fault in Our Stars in manageable increments that are less substantial than a full blown test.
Use the Test Summary page to determine which pre-made test is most relevant to your students' learning styles. This lesson plan provides both full unit tests and mid-unit tests. You can choose from several tests that include differing combinations of multiple choice questions, short answer questions, short essay questions, full essay questions, character and object matching, etc. Some of the tests are designed to be more difficult than others. Some have essay questions, while others are limited to short-response questions, like multiple choice, matching and short answer questions. If you don't find the combination of questions that best suits your class, you can also create your own test on The Fault in Our Stars.
Create Your Own Quiz or Test
You have the option to Create Your Own Quiz or Test. If you want to integrate questions you've developed for your curriculum with the questions in this lesson plan, or you simply want to create a unique test or quiz from the questions this lesson plan offers, it's easy to do. Cut and paste the information from the Create Your Own Quiz or Test page into a Word document to get started. Scroll through the sections of the lesson plan that most interest you and cut and paste the exact questions you want to use into your new, personalized The Fault in Our Stars lesson plan.