Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the story of Charlie who writes to an unknown reader in order to find solace and a place in this world. It is a coming-of-age epistolary novel that examines the throws of teenage life in the 1990s. Charlie not only battles with finding his place in the halls of his high school: he struggles with the death of his best friend to suicide and his Aunt Helen who has previously sexually molested him. The book is written in the style of a diary, which demonstrates the inner turmoil Charlie faces as well as his inability to connect with the outside world. Throughout the book, Charlie meets friends like Patrick and Sam who help him feel accepted. His teacher, Bill, connects with him through literature; writing about the books he is assigned helps him to learn about himself and enhances his writing ability. Charlie experiments with drugs and alcohol but never experiences a problem with addiction. Charlie’s family is described in the book but the only family member who is directly named is his Aunt Helen. He shows very much affection for her even after her passing. While it is ambiguously presented, the audience learns that Charlie’s Aunt Helen physically abused him. He does not blame her for this, but the unfortunate circumstances in her life. This realization comes at the end of the book when Charlie faces his repressed childhood memories. Patrick describes Charlie as a “wallflower” because he sees and understands things but he remains timid and is afraid to actively participate in what is going on around him. Charlie’s growth and path to understanding comes with its share of ups and downs, but by the end of the novel, Charlie explains to his audience that he is going to stop writing an...
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Overall, I feel as though the author appears to make strides in being inclusive (in regards to being a supporter of same-sex relationships) but falters in the execution of doing so. While Charlie shows no sign of homophobia and at a point they all become great friends, it is misleading that the two gay characters are stereotyped. This shouldn’t be considered a gay work simply because it has two gay minor characters. Their relationship is overly stereotyped and completely disregards other non-heterosexual relationships. Brad and Patrick do, however, contribute to Charlie’s development and help expand his worldview. They show him that he isn’t the only one who feels out of place. Their role in regard to being a friend to Charlie is perfectly executed, however, their role in representing the non-heterosexual relationships could be dramatically improved.
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