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The Perks Of Being A Wallflower English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1223 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Author: Stephen Chbosky was born on January 25th, 1970, in Pitsburgh, Pensylvannia. After growing up in Pensylvannia, Stephen pursued a directing career in movies, but ended up writing books. His first book was The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which was set in his very own home state. Stephen said that he relates to Charlie, but his life in High School was in many ways different.

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Themes: Like most books about teenage boys, this book encompasses the theme of independence. The main character Charlie had just started High School, a time where you become more independent from your parents, and try new things. Charlie never had many friends previously, and the one good friend he did have comitted suicide the year before, leaving Charlie scared, and alone. When friendship is found among some seniors, Charlie starts his journey to a more independent self. He found himself going to parties, smoking, doing drugs, going out with girls, and even driving throughout the book. Another important theme in the book is of happiness. Whenever Charlie walked down the hallway in the school, he would wonder if a person was really happy. “In the hallways, I see the girls wearing the guys’ jackets, and I think about the idea of property. And I wonder if anyone is really happy. I hope they are. I really hope they are.” Thoughts like this would constantly occupy Charlie’s mind. Many things made Charlie happy, wether it was an interesting read, a good song, or an inspiring movie. What made Charlie really happy though were his friends, and when he found himself having a good time with them, he would forget all the bad things in his life and enjoy the moment. Later on though, Charlie found out that he shouldn’t put people’s happiness ahead of his own, because in the end, he would end up missing out on the best things in life.


Charlie – Charlie was the 15 year old protagonist and main character of the story. He’s a timid and introverted guy who’s had way too many bad things happen in his life. His best friend comitting suicide, his aunt getting hit by a car, and being the outcast of the school are only a fraction of the things he’s been through. He was very intelligent and loved reading books, but that didn’t really help the fact that he was socially awkward to the point where he didn’t take part in anything that happened around him. He was an extremely emotional kid, but this was due to the things that have happened in his past, which in a way had traumatized him. He loved music though, and along with movies and books, they were a great getaway from his life. He was an extremely caring person too, and always put others ahead of himself, even if a little too much at times.

Patrick – Patrick was the senior from Charlie’s woodshop class who ended up becoming a treasured friend to Charlie. He was one of the few homosexuals in the school and was constantly frustrated at the fact he had to sneak around with another guy instead of being open about it. He was a very good friend, and would always take Charlie to fun places with his Sam. He also accepted Charlie for the way he was and never criticized his actions.

Sam – Sam was Patrick’s half sister, and Charlie’s other best friend, also in senior year. She was a beautiful girl who would not leave Charlie’s thoughts no matter what. She was a great friend to him though, just like Patrick. Even though Sam told Charlie not think of her in any way more than a friend, near the end of the book its’s her who finds she loves him with a passion. She would always give Charlie advice when he needed it, and just like Patrick, accepted him for who he was.

Setting: The book is set in the years 1991/92, in Pensylvannia, USA.

Plot: When Charlie’s best friend comitted suicide in 8th grade, his life became a mess, and his one good friend was gone. When he overheard some girls talking about some guy that listened, and didn’t try and sleep with some girl he could of slept with, he decided to send letters to him anonymously every few days, to make sure people like this, good people, still existed. So the letters went on, for a year, describing his experience in freshman year. Charlie was no ordinary freshman though. His past left him emotionally crippled and socially awkward. When he finally made some friends, he followed his wise English teacher’s advice to “participate”, and stop watching life from the sidelines. So his friends became his best friends, and he went on to participate like he was so wisely told. That’s not where it ended though, because family issues weren’t too far away, neither was drama with girls, or arguments with friends. Throughout the course of this book, Charlie was forced to learn how to juggle school, friends, and family, and when some secrets from his past were revealed, it seemed like his life couldn’t get any worse.

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Literary Techniques: The author uses quite a few literary techiniques succesfully in the book. The book is comprised of letters alone sent by Charlie to a “friend” of his, therefore it is in first person narrative. Early on in the book, Charlie informs the reader that his teacher criticized him for writing run on sentences, and since the book consists of letters written by Charlie himself, some sentences are purposefully run ons, and the reader understands this. Also, since these letters are just a place for him to express his ideas, he doesn’t utilize very creative language. He also explained this in the book and said that he found it pointless writing words that one wouldn’t even understand. “But I just have never heard anyone use the words “corpulent” and “jaundice” ever in my life. That included teachers. So, what’s the point of using words nobody else knows or can say comfortably?” The author also utilized flashbacks by allowing Charlie to share past experiences in his letters. As one would expect, no one’s life can be interesting all the time, so when Charlie’s life loses interest, so does the reader in reading about it. Then again, when Charlie’s life has drama in it, it is almost impossible to put down the book.

Target Audience: This book is aimed at an audience of teenage boys and girls. As the main character is a boy sharing his experience in High School, the book will mostly find its way into boys’ hands who are experiencing the same thing. Although Charlie has a complicated life, readers can easily relate to him and his experience at school and at parties. It’s an easy read due to the lack of complicated language and basic plot, so most people can read this book, regardless of interest level.

Purpose: The purpose of this book is mostly to entertain its readers. The book doesnt follow much of a plot and seems to include random ideas at times, but somehow the readers find themselves strangely attached to the main character, and feel the need to keep reading about this boy’s life. This book also opens the reader’s mind in a way, as to how High School was 20 years ago, and allows them to compare the two.


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