The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

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In both Steven Chbosky and J.D. Salinger’s coming of age novels ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ and ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ both authors successfully explore the idea of entering adulthood as an outsider. The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows a fifteen-year-old boy, Charlie. Charlie has recently lost his best friend Michael to suicide and is struggling to come to terms with his death. He is in his freshman year of high school and struggles to fit in socially, until he meets a group of seniors who take him under their wing and introduce him to a world he could never imagine. Written in the form of a series of letters to an anonymous recipient, Chbosky allows the audience to have an in-depth perception of Charlies’ mind and his…show more content…
Although the reader is never told who the letters are written to, Charlie starts each letter with “Dear Friend…”. He states at the start of the novel that “I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand…Please don’t try to figure out who she is because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don’t want you to do that…”(1.3) whilst Charlie does not give the reader a clear explanation on who this anonymous person may be; the audience can make the assumption that perhaps Charlie is writing these letters to help him understand his feelings. Charlies raw and honest narration of the problems he encounters, and his dark thoughts throughout his first year of high school allows the reader to empathise with Charlie. This behaviour is often typical for high school aged students, as they tend to find it easier to communicate with each other when it is not face to face. The emotions that Charlie feels are also common for this age group, allowing the intended audience to relate to Charlie, and engage with the narrative.

Likewise, in The Catcher in the Rye first person perspective is used to allow the reader to have direct access to the main protagonist: Holden’s thoughts. Holden’s honest narration gives the reader a perspective into his world and the way he comprehends it. In Holden’s narration, Salinger uses a flashback of a momentous time of his life, when he spent three days and nights by himself in New York City.

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