Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English and Writing Studies



First Reader/Committee Chair

Jessica Luck


This thesis explores the identities of the chronically ill protagonists in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz, specifically by looking at the young protagonist’s self-identity, their relationships with their family members, and the romantic relationship they have with the chronically ill male lead. John Green, who does not identify as chronically ill, writes a novel that ultimately reflects ableist ideas of the medical model of disability, which sees disability as a problem to be solved by medical intervention, and compulsory heterosexuality through the portrayal of Hazel and her relationship with Augustus. Hazel’s life revolves around hiding herself, and her cancer, from the world until she meets Augustus who teachers her how to live her life to the fullest, which involves striving to be as normal as possible. However, Hannah Moskowitz, a writer who does identify as chronically ill writes a teen girl protagonist who, alongside the readers, learns to understand and embrace chronic illness as an identity category, following the social model of disability. The social model states that the problem with disability comes from a society that is unwilling to accommodate disabled people. Isabel learns to demand accommodations, and, in the process, pushes back against the way her doctor father perceives her chronic illness as something to be fixed or denied. My analysis ultimately illustrates the significant impact of novels about disability being written by authors with disabilities.