Have you ever been in situation where death could be just around the next corner and there is not a single thing you can do to change it? How would you react? What would you do? In this essay I will discuss how all reactions are predetermined by the circumstances, in the texts “The Fault In Our Stars” written by John Green, “We All Looked Up” written by Tommy Wallach,  “Tomorrow When The War Began” written by John Marsden, and “127 Hours” directed by Danny Boyle.

Text One 

The book “Tomorrow When The War Began” written by John Marsden is set in a small Australian outback town, where Ellie, the narrator, and several of her friends are going on a camping trip into the hills, only to return only days later and discover their friends and family are being kept in captivity by a foreign invading army. The book is centered around Ellie and her friends, once everyday teenagers that had rarely ever had to make a tough choice, having to make life or death choices every single day.

A situation in where they only had one choice was when Lee, one of Ellie’s friends, was shot in the leg, and Ellie, Homer, and Robyn where in the middle of the town, with enemy soldiers only streets away. They reacted in the way the situation demanded, with hast and careful planning. “We sat there in silent agreement, three minds working on one topic: how to get Lee away from Barker Street despite his wounded leg.” this quote shows that there was no choice for the three of them, that no matter what they where going save their friend. This reflects on real life situations, because if any person was  in the situation where the only way to save our friends life was at the risk of our own the only real choice for any human with a conscious is to do everything we can to save our friend. 

The reader learns that no matter what if you have the opportunity to save someones life, even if it means risking yours, is in reality the only choice for Ellie and her friends.

Text Two

In the movie “127 Hours” Directed by Danny Boyle, Aron Ralston, a canyoneer, becomes trapped by a boulder in the remote Blue John Canyon, and shows his struggle as he becomes dehydrated, hungry, and his struggle for warmth, with only a small video camera to keep him company. When Aron (James Franco) make the decision to cut off his hand it comes as no surprise to the watcher, because we knew from the moment his hand was caught in that boulder his only choice was to do so.

We are shown that it was his only choice, by a close up of the knife in his arm, and him beginning the process of dismembering his hand, and that while he is cutting he is not showing the immense amount of pain he is in. This is because he has known subconciously all along that removing his hand was his only option for him to walk out of that situation alive.

Aron’s situation is similar to Elle’s in “Tomorrow When The War Began” because they are both in a situation where they have to make life or death decisions, except in Aron’s case it was his own life he had to make decisions for, without the help of other people, and with his mental state rapidly deteriorating. 

The watcher learns that if Aron had not made that decision to sacrifice his arm for his life, that he would not be around to share his story, and that when put in a situation where you have to loose something as important as a limb to survive it take amazing mental fortitude to make that choice.

Text three

In the text “The Fault in Our Stars” written By John Green, Hazel Grace is a teenager, who is dying of cancer. The book begins with her mother forcing her to join a support group because she believes Hazel is depressed. “Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.” Hazel is diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 13, and was told she wouldn’t live fore very long. But, when she was 14 she joined a medical trial, and her tumours shrunk. “Admittedly, my cancer miracle had only resulted in a bit of purchased time. (I did not yet know the size of the bit.)”

Hazel is dying and she knows she is dying. She has no control over when she dies. How would you react to being in the same situation? Hazel reacts by shutting her self off to others, hoping her death will have as little impact as possible. “I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and i would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” Hazel believes that by staying home, and turning into a shut in will mean that her death has as little impact as possible.

Unlike in “Tomorrow When the War Began” and “127 Hours” Hazel has no options, she know that she is going to die, and she knows that her being alive is a miracle. Her reaction is to be expected because she is an empathatic person, and hopes to hurt as little people as possible with her passing.

The reader learns that even while Hazel is dying she wants to help others by making her death as easy to deal with as possible by limiting her influence on the outside world.

Text 4

The text “We All Looked Up” written by Tommy Wallach is centred around a group of teenagers who, despite their differences, are brought together by the 66% chance of an asteroid hitting the earth and bringing about the possible extinction of the human race. They start off as teenagers who simply all go to the same highschool, connected by simple things such a love for music, being on the student council together, except for two, Peter and Eliza. Peter is a jock, on of the ‘popular kids’ while Eliza is just one of the ‘normal kids.’ They had had encounter in the dark room where Eliza produces her photos, and they kissed, which was seen by someone and was the cause of Eliza becoming a social pariah because Peter had a girlfriend at the time. “Was one kiss really that big of deal, in the grand scheme of things? Yes, was the answer. Yes it was. By the time Eliza got to school the next morning, someone had already spray painted her locker, one huge black word with four capital letters: S-L-U-T.”

There is 66% chance that nearly everyone they know and love would die. How do you react to something you can’t change or stop? People would either leave the city and go somewhere safe to stay until (or if) the asteroid passed. “Cartier had gone to Oregon for some epic family reunion just a few days after the announcement, and Peter hadn’t hear a word from Stacy since her family moved to their lake house.” While others fell into absolute chaos, acting out all their desires and wants rather than controlling themselves. “Arson had become a pretty major problem in the past week or so… Peter could see out over the whole city, to the piecemeal conflagration raging like so many signal fire all signaling the same thing – chaos” While the rest of the world is falling into chaos Peter, Eliza, Andy, Anita and other people plan a party for the last day before the asteroid possibly collides with the earth, and call it “The Party for The End of The World” one last party before everyone potentially dies

This is similar to “The Fault In Our Stars” because no one can stop the asteroid, they have no control over wether it will hit the earth or not, and everyone has to accept that. 

The reader learns that when people believe that they are going to die everything they once believed can go out the window, and will do everything they can to get the most out of life before its over.


In conclusion, in each one of theses texts characters reactions where predetermined by their circumstances, Ellie would always do every thing to save Lee, Aron would always have to sacrifice his hand, Hazel would always do her best to protect everyone around her, and when faced with a 66% chance of everyone you know and love dying you will do your best to get the most out of life before its over and protect the ones you love. I believe that put in the same situations most people would react the same, or a variation of how these characters and people reacted.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Moana, I see that you have quite a lot of work to do on this essay. I know that you were unwell for part of this assessment, however the key to using class time effectively, is to have prepared all of your planning notes at home. My suggestion is that you quickly select relevant sections of the texts so that you can write them up straight away when you are in class.
    * Please speak with me if you have any questions about this.


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