The Diary of a Teenage Cancer Patient

by Cathy Kuang

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
My Sister's Keeper
directed by Nick Cassavetes


What is it like to be a teenager with cancer?


Symbolism and sound demonstrate that when cancer strips them of their autonomy, teenage cancer patients try to reclaim control in their lives because the significance of cancer is not the death it causes, but rather, the lives that are lived despite cancer's detrimental effects.

"We treat the sick and the dying so gingerly and so carefully, when often what they most want is to be alive while they are alive” (Green).


Symbol: An Imperial Affliction

"I understood the story ended because Anna died or got too sick to write and this midsentence thing was supposed to reflect how life really ends and whatever, but there were characters other than Anna in the story, and it seemed unfair that I would never find out what happened to them'" (Green 50).

Sound: Voice-over


"Forced to rely on family, nurses, and medical staff at an age when they long to be independent and in control of their own life" (Klopfenstein and Young-Saleme) [...]

"It is a very, very difficult thing to live through, because a lot of what you value about life, particularly as a teenager—autonomy, physical vibrancy, social connections, dignity—is stripped away from you, and you’re left being the thing that you never thought you’d have to be again: a child dependent upon your caregivers for every little thing" (Green).

Symbol: Cigarettes

"'This is it. I can't even not smoke anymore [...]' He hit the steering wheel weakly, the car honking as he cried" (Green 245).

Sound: "Feels Like Home" by Edwina Hayes


Symbol: Eulogy

"'Goddamn it, Augustus, editing your own eulogy'" (Green 259).

Sound: Silence

"Clouds" by Zach Sobiech

They are living with cancer, not dying from it!

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