The complexities of growing up can be overwhelming, but one must overcome the realities of the wild and poignant roller coaster of youth in order to live a sensible and productive life. The Perks of Being a Wallflower begins as the protagonist Charlie, starting his first year of high school, deals with the suicide of his single close friend named Michael and the lingering feeling of guilt over the death of his aunt. Prone to depression, introverted, and on the fringe of trouble in many aspects of life, Charlie is a wallflower who, with the help of his English teacher and two friends Sam and Patrick, comes to terms with life and learns to interact.
It is difficult to come out of one’s shell and accept the reality that one has recently lost two very important people. As an entering freshman, Charlie lives a remarkably passive existence primarily due to the loss of his favorite aunt and best friend Michael. This can be seen as Charlie expresses his thoughts and feelings toward people that revolve around him:
I look at people holding hands in the hallways, and I try to think about how it all works. At the school dances, I sit in the background, and I tap my toe, and I wonder how many couples will dance to “their song.” 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. (23).
As the quote indicates, Charlie “uses thought to not participate in life.” Instead of being an active participant in life, ...
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...ing the love we think we deserve. After everything Sam and Bill say, Charlie figures that he should just do what he wants to do. He starts kissing Sam where they lay down on the floor and later attacks the ocean bed. He officially becomes a “participant”.
In order for our lives to be content and effective, we must learn to open up and interact with others so that we can discover who we are and who we are to become. Today, there are many teens who have low self-esteem due to their appearance or timidity. They do not realize that there are chances of being accepted by others and judged by their inner body instead of the outward appearance once they start participating. Though Charlie had the same feeling as these teens at the beginning of his freshmen year, his active participation in life leads him to feeling infinite and grateful without any sensation of terror.
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