English 5/Period 8
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Characters and Characterization:
Charlie is the protagonist and narrator of the book which is based on letters that he writes. Throughout the book Charlie is seen as a very sensitive and emotional boy. He seems to think and act differently which leads him to an almost lonely life until he meets Patrick and Sam. He is a freshman at his high school and struggles with everyday things. Throughout the book many things happen to him that makes him ponder even more about the way life and people work. After he meets his new friends Patrick and Sam it is clear that he hasn’t had friends in a while and depends on them for any socializing.
As time goes they get closer and they bring him to one of their frequent parties. At his first one he gets high for the first time. As they drive through a tunnel he describes the tranquil and blissful moment as them feeling “infinite”. At that moment Sam and Patrick see him as the genius he is. A majority of the book are his thoughts and feelings about many subjects while he is high.
Setting Place: School, Charlie’s house, and Bob’s house.
Vocabulary & Definition:
Corpulent- large or bulky of body
Jaundice- to distort or prejudice, as by envy or resentment
Adroit- cleverly skillful, resourceful, or ingenious
Affirmation- the assertion that something exists or is true
Instigate- to urge, provoke, or incite to some action or course
The book is made up of letters that Charlie writes describing the everyday events in his life. Charlie starts off in the school and doesn’t seem to have friends. It all starts when he meets Sam and Patrick. After that everything starts to happen. He starts acting and feeling differently about life.
Throughout the book he goes through rough times with his family, especially his sister. Yet through everything he always has the same feeing of love for his family and cares about them. As the book progresses his sister gets into an abusive relationship. Charlie tells his teacher Bill about it since he was only told not to tell his parents. His sister acts like she hates Charlie for a while but then slowly trusts him with the fact that she is secretly dating him. Eventually she gets pregnant and her boyfriend denies that it is his. So to get an abortion she chooses Charlie as the one who is going to go with her. At that moment it is very clear that they love each other despite some of their problems. He often thinks about relationships and love according to what happened to his sister.
Exposition- In the beginning of the book Charlie is introduced as a freshman starting out high school with no friends. After someone picks on him he attacks them and wins the fight but then cries about it after. After that he has a reputation as the weird kid. Charlie thinks a lot about his Aunt Helen who passed away on his birthday when he was younger. It is at a football game that he attended alone that he went up to Patrick, a kid in his shop class and spoke to him. He was introduced to Sam who immediately thought he was beautiful. They hung out after thus starting a great friendship.
Rising Action: So as time goes by Sam, Patrick, and Charlie all hang out to take smokes outside and go to school regularly. Charlie was taken to Sam and Patrick’s friend Bob’s house for a party. Bob gave Charlie brownies to eat which made him high. As he was walking around he opened a door to find Patrick and Brad, the school’s quarterback kissing. He was told to keep it a secret and of course he said he would. Later on in the basement everyone at the party toasted to Charlie. At that moment Charlie felt “infinite”. Eventually at a Christmas he opens up and gives everyone gifts even though they bought him nothing. Seeing Charlie differently causes a girl named Mary Elizabeth to ask him out. Charlie then starts going out with her ever though he doesn’t really like her that way and finds her slightly overwhelming. At a party he is dared to kiss who he thinks is the most beautiful girl in the circle but then he chooses Sam. That causes a ruckus with the group and Charlie is told he should stay clear of everyone until everything clears down.
Climax: Since Charlie can’t hang out with the group anymore he gets very lonely and smokes weed all the time. He sometimes cuts school and gets very depressed. In school Patrick gets called a fag by Brad and Patrick gets into a fight with Brad and his friends. When Charlie defends Patrick he gets sends to inhouse suspension. When he leaves suspension he finds Sam waiting for him and everything between them is alright. Since Patrick and Sam are seniors they will be going away to college soon. Sam, whose college is making her go away for the summer, invites Charlie to her room to help her pack. Sam questions Charlie for not trying to make a move on her. He replies saying that he thought she wouldn’t like it. Sam tells him to stop worrying about such things and to just do what he feels like doing. Sam and Charlie then kiss and fool around but when Sam touches Charlie in his…area. He freaks out and starts to cry. The next day after Sam leaves he still feels horrible and has dreams about his Aunt Helen doing to him what Sam was doing.
Falling Action: Charlie is found in a trance at his house watching a blank screen. He is sent to a psychiatric hospital where he realizes that he wasn’t just dreaming and that his Aunt Helen did touch him that way when he was younger. He also realized that it happened every Saturday that she babysat. All his friends and family either visited him or wrote him a letter. Things like that made him feel better.
Conclusion: In the end Charlie is released from the hospital. He is in terms with everything and doesn’t hold any grudges about his Aunt. Sam, Patrick, and his sister are off to college and he wishes them the best. His first day of sophomore year is the next day and he isn’t afraid of it. He also wants the reader to know that even if he won’t be writing any more letters that he will be happy so we shouldn’t worry about him.
“Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.” Page 24.
“Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.” Page 24.
Man vs. Self: Charlie deals with the same growing pains as every other teenager his age. His biggest problem is himself. Charlie acts according to whether the other person would or would not like his actions. By giving into the temporary desires of his friends he ends up hurting them in a worse way. When Patrick was depressed about Brad he kissed Charlie a lot. Charlie let him kiss him because he just wanted to be a good friend but he wasn’t being a good friend. Patrick was hurting himself by doing this and Charlie was also hurting him by not being honest with him. Another example is that fact that he didn’t really like Mary Elizabeth the same way that she liked him but because he didn’t want to hurt her he stayed with her. He was also told to ask her questions and to do a lot of listening with her which he later finds out to be false because Mary Elizabeth wanted a guy who could challenge her. Also he never tried to get further with Sam even though he loved her. If he would’ve preceded her like he wanted to he would’ve made himself and Sam happier. In the end his obedient attitude changes and he becomes stronger. He starts his sophomore year anew and from the looks of his attitude he will start living for himself and not anyone else.