Analysis of the Perks of Being a Wallflower

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Chbosky, Stephen: Pocket Books UK, 2009) is a novel set sometime in the 1990’s, and focuses on the life of Charlie, a troubled fifteen year old boy who is just trying to find his place in the world. The book is written in the form of letters written from Charlie to an unknown ‘friend’. Many controversial issues are dealt with throughout the course of the novel but Chbosky writes in such a way that makes the book and its characters relatable and likable. Charlie, the protagonist, is a high school freshman, and is painfully shy and introverted. He is innocent and naïve, sometimes to the point of ignorance. Charlie has faced many difficulties throughout his short life, most notably the death of his…show more content…
Along with Mary-Elizabeth, Alice and Bob, they introduce Charlie to a world of parties, alcohol, sex and drugs. Charlie gets drunk, smokes marijuana and takes LSD. He gets his first girlfriend, and although it doesn’t end particularly well, he can no longer be accused of not participating. Charlie is introduced to ‘good’ music and grows to love bands such as The Smiths. The song ‘Asleep’ is referred to many times throughout the novel and plays a significant role in Charlie’s development as an individual, as he finds it relatable and poignant. As we get to know Charlie as an individual and witness him maturing and finding his feet in the world, we discover the extent of his troubled past. Through these letters to an anonymous source we are told of how he was institutionalised after the death of his adored Aunt Helen, how he suffers from episodes of depression, and although he doesn’t mention his late friend Michael very often, it is obvious how his suicide had a profound effect on Charlie. It left him reeling and questioning Michael’s reasons why he would commit such a tragic act. Charlie experiences flashbacks and towards the end of the novel, a series of incidents send Charlie spiralling into his most severe bout of depression ever. He discovers a number of repressed memories that, although shock the reader, help explain his mental turmoil. The Perks of Being a
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