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The Impact Of John Green On American Culture

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“True love will triumph in the end—which may or may not be a lie, but if it is a lie, it’s the most beautiful lie we have” (John Green). Born on August 24, 1977, Green was raised in the small town of Indianapolis, Indiana where he attended his first public school. At a very early age, Green developed a fascinating interest towards writing and literature; however, his unique hobbies eventually turned him in to a victim of bullying. Throughout the years, John has been able to use his past experiences as a way to connect to younger generations through his works. The majority of his novels focus on the conflicts and realities of living life as a teenager and how the influence of other people can change the outcome of everyday life. His most famous novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is a teenage love story that touches on the hardships of living with cancer at a young age. Green uses his own experiences as well as his imagination to help entertain and connect with younger generations in a unique way. John Green is one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, and his works continue to have an impact on American culture today.

John Green was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 24, 1977. Growing up, John developed a unique interest in literature unlike the other kids at his school. Because of his peculiar hobbies, he often felt secluded from other children and even became a victim of bullying. Although he was very intelligent in numerous ways, he did not care much about school and his interests. All he wanted was attention, and he gave no mind to the things he would risk in order to become liked. In a biography about John Green, Braun states “Grades and sports didn’t matter as much to John as being popular. He wanted desperately to have a lot of friends. Instead, the bullying persisted” (Braun, 12). Even though John did not fit in well with his classmates, his teachers took notice in his creative outlook on literature and inspired him to pursue his goals and continue writing. According to the same novel, “Twice, John entered the school’s creative writing contest, and twice he came in second. Two of his teachers encouraged him. They believed in his writing and told him to keep working” (Braun, 12). John’s parents were very supportive of his interests as well and inspired him to become a natural and creative writer. They encouraged him to not allow his insecurities define his identity and emphasized the importance of individualism, which largely impacted his writing today. The biography on John Green also mentions, “John’s parents taught him to have empathy and to help others. They also taught him to think for himself and to contemplate philosophical topics, such as the meaning of life and what it meant to be a good person” (Braun, 22). Over the years, John grew as a writer and became interested in religious studies as well. He became motivated to become a Young Adult writer after deciding to work with kids in children’s hospitals. His experiences are what helped shape the messages in his novels. According to an article on Famous Authors, “After earning double graduation degrees in English and Religious Studies from Kenyon College, he began work as a student chaplain in a children’s hospital” (2012). John Green is recognized today for his award winning novels The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska.

Over the course of his career, Green has written 6 romantic novels that successfully continue to captivate the minds of young readers. The majority of his works integrate his unique style of fictional writing with the realistic obstacles in which teenagers have to overcome in their lifetime. As stated in the Famous Authors article, “He introduced a more philosophical approach to the issues in a teenager’s life” (2012). After working with kids in children’s hospitals, he admired the purity and creativity within a teenager’s mind, and he became inspired to influence younger generations on how to become the person they want to be. As stated in an article on Authors and Artists for Young Adults, 'I like writing for teenagers because they are still trying to figure out how to be people in unselfconscious, forthright ways--because they are still open to the idea that a single book might change their understanding of how to be a person' (2010). Green incorporates the reality of teenager’s lives with his own experiences in order to convey a deeper meaning in his works. The Famous Author’s article states, “Green philosophically and wittily approaches the theme of grief, pain, death, oblivion, and other serious subjects in his writing” (2012). To this day, his unique style of writing influences adolescents to think about life in a new and adventurous perspective. In the same article it clarifies, “Unlike other Young Adult writers, Green has broadened the horizon of Young Adult novels’ subjects matter” (2012). Green emphasizes his unique style of writing in his most popular novel, The Fault in Our Stars.

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One of Green’s most famous works is The Fault in Our Stars. As Green pursued his job as a chaplain in children’s hospitals after graduation, he began to discover the harsh realities many kids have to face at a very early age. His experiences at the hospitals along with his passion to write stories for young adults is what sparked the idea to write The Fault in Our Stars. As Braun mentioned in his biography on John Green, “Walking out of the hospital in 2000 after deciding not to become a chaplain, I knew I wanted to write a story about sick kids” (30). John’s inspiration for this book specifically comes from a young girl who was a fan of John Green at the time, but unfortunately passed away from a rare type of cancer a few months later. As also stated in Braun’s novel, “A new voice emerged, that of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a girl inspired by Esther’s humor and strength (though Green has been clear that Hazel is not Esther). After all this time, he began to unlock the story he’d wanted to tell so badly” (30). The novel focuses on the hardships of living with cancer at a young age, and how the influence of others can change one’s perspective on life for the better. Green intentionally concludes the novel with a tragic and heartbreaking ending in order to convey a realistic yet hopeful tone to his novel. In an article on Famous Authors it states, “Green has masterfully sketched the plot in which he made certain at the beginning there is no happy-ending but there is hope” (2012). Because of the emotional connection between this novel and it’s audience, The Fault in Our Stars has proven to remain one of the most influential works by John Green. In the same article, it mentions “The years to come brought Green achievement of his lifetime in the form of The Fault in Our Stars. It was the highest grossing novel of 2012” (2012). Green is also recognized by another one of his most famous novels, Looking for Alaska.

Looking for Alaska is another remarkable example of John Green’s impact on American culture. This novel is the first book that Green published. Similar to The Fault in Our Stars, this novel is spoken through the perspective of a young man who is forced to overcome very painful obstacles in order to fully grasp the meaning of life. Because it was his first published book, Green was skeptical about how much attention this book would receive. As said in Braun’s biography on John Green, “The first time he met with his editor at Dutton, she asked him what he hoped for the book. He said he hoped it would sell out in hardcover. She, however, said she’d like it to win the Printz Award- the American Library Association’s annual award given to the best book for teens” (32). Although Green did not have high hopes for his book in the beginning, his editor had assumed correctly and in 2006, he received his award. In a Famous Authors article it clarifies, “The unorthodox form and content of the novel had it earned the American Library Association’s Michael L. Printz Award in 2006” (2012). Not only is Looking for Alaska celebrated for its unexpected turnout, but in the same article it states “The book made a record staying at New York Times best-seller list for the span of 7 years” (2012). John Green has proven to successfully capture the interests of young adult readers by incorporating the advantages and disadvantages of becoming an adult. The inspiration for this novel came from the professors he worked under while aspiring to become a writer in college. In an article on Ten things you might not know about John Green it mentions, “Green said his first novel, Looking for Alaska, could not have been written without the religion classes he took at Kenyon” (2014). John Green has positively impacted American culture with his unique and creative style of writing.

Green has positively influenced American culture by conveying powerful messages through his works. Throughout his career, John Green has been noticed for his outstanding works and his ability to connect to younger generations in a way that rightfully labels him as a true Young Adult author. As stated in an article on Authors and Artists for Young Adults, “Green received a Printz Honor citation for his second book, the road-trip comedy An Abundance of Katherines, and an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his third novel, Paper Towns.” (2010). He is also recognized for the groundbreaking release of a movie based on his most famous novel, The Fault in Our Stars. In the same article it states, “His next book, The Fault in Our Stars, hit number one on the New York Times best sellers list and won a Children’s Choice Book Award. The book was made into a film, released in 2014” (2010). Not only is he most notably recognized for his award winning novels, but he also catches up with his fans through a channel of videos he created with his brother called “NerdFighters”. In the article on Authors and Artists for Young Adults, it mentions “The author connected with his readers through through his video blog, which he and his brother Hank launched in 2007. The vlog gained such a following on the internet that it spawned a whole community, called “Nerdfighters”, which celebrated the kind of smart teens that populate Green’s books” (2010). Green continues to connect with his audience by raising awareness for people who have trouble “fitting in” with society. In an article by Rachel Rosenblit it states, “John topped a million views with both his case for gay marriage, and a video in which he replaced the curse words in a rap song with names of Romantic poets” ( 'Fault in Our Stars' author John Green has gone all out to promote his brother's new book, 2018). Green is noticeably impacting society by creating a safe community for teenagers to speak their minds freely. Green has impacted many lives throughout the course of his career with the help of his memorable works.

John Green influences American culture by appealing to the emotions of young adults through his writing. Green continues to accomplish this goal by appealing to their unique imagination and raising awareness on their struggles that are often overlooked. He also remains connected to teenagers by acknowledging the differences between generations and staying informed about the interests of young adults today. Green has clarified that he has gone through many emotional traumas in his life, and as a result, he has a created a kid-friendly platform for people to feel comfortable to share similar stories about their own experiences. This strongly impacts young adults today. The messages displayed in his works help people of all generations to live every day to the fullest. John has learned through experiences that any day could be a person’s last day on Earth, so it is important to live life positively and freely. As Green states, “What is the point of living if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable” (John Green).

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The Impact Of John Green On American Culture. (2021, September 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from
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