Analysis Of The Fault In Our Stars Through Erikson’s Theory Of Psychological Development
Hazel Grace is the protagonist in the novel, as she is the center of the story and the major character. She is a seventeen- year -old girl who has had cancer for a while now. Due to her mother’s request she attends a support group for cancer patients. Upon one of these meetings, she meets Augustus Waters who has had cancer himself. However, he is there to support his friend Isaac who currently has cancer as Hazel does at this point in the novel. Augustus no longer has cancer as his osteosarcoma was rid of through leg amputation. Augustus and Hazel come to learn that they are very similar with just as similar interests. Such as reading but precisely the novel “An Imperial Affliction”. This novel coincidently is about a girl who has cancer. Time passes after they discuss over the novel and Augustus surprises Hazel that he had contacted the author and that the author, Van Houten said he would only answer Hazel’s question about the novel’s ending in person taking them on an adventure that they never saw coming in the end where they find love, sadness, and happiness.
In this film and novel, I chose the developmental theory of Psychoanalytical theory which was born from Erik Erikson. Since his theory describes eight stages that fit Hazel’s challenging developmental crisis due to cancer. Cancer is the factor that plays a huge roll in Hazel Grace’s life. Erikson declares that when a person experiences a psychosocial crisis it could have a positive or negative outcome for personality development. In this case, cancer affects her development negatively.
In the stage of Industry vs Inferiority, it occurs from ages of five to twelve. One thing that occurs in this stage, which is stage four, is that it is where the child could gain a great self-esteem from their peer group. If the initiative is not encountered it will result in the child feeling inferior, and doubtful of one’s abilities. For Hazel, in this stage she was diagnosed with the terminal form of thyroid cancer that has now spread to her lungs. This sets her aside from other children as throughout this stage the healthy children were able to go through this stage and complete it and find that sense of being inferior. However, for Hazel she now couldn’t get that high self-esteem from her peer group as she feels outcasted for her illness. This is shown as Hazel finished high school early to not associate with those her age since she was surrounded with people that were not like her.
The other stage from Erikson’s theory found in the movie is the stage of Intimacy vs Isolation. The six stage of psychosocial development. In this stage it centers on forming relationships with other people that is with someone who is not a family member. If one is successful in this stage, it ends with a relationship that is happy that contains commitment and care. However, for Grace at first, she fails at this stage. When one fails at this stage it leads to isolation, loneliness, and possibly depression. Hazel Grace has been making herself fail at this stage as she knows yet denies to act on her feelings for Augustus for a period of time. She developed the habit of closing off to situations or people to avoid future pain as relationships come with attachment. All she could think of was when she would die it would hurt those who she left behind, and her parents have no option since they are family. Yet, this mentality of hers led her to believe that she should minimize the amount of people she’d leave behind, hence her reluctance to her feelings for Augustus at first. This however changes as they fall in love and she lets herself. Grace towards Augustus says, “I fell in love with the way you fall asleep; slowly and then all at once”. Now, Grace has passed this stage successfully and she no longer was fearful to commit to a relationship, no longer was isolated. Instead, she now had a relationship that withheld care, commitment, safety, and love with Augustus, and a friendship with Isaac.
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