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Real World Problems Highlighted in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Lauren Henderson

on 9 January 2014

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Transcript of Real World Problems Highlighted in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Real World Problems Highlighted in
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Drugs
Charlie will do any drugs his friends offer him. He smoked cigarettes, marijuana, drinks alcohol, and even willingly took LSD. He started doing these things because others were doing them. Then, he learned he could use drugs as a coping mechanism. This a common problem in not just high school, but everywhere.
Sexual Abuse
There are three cases of sexual abuse in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
The first involves Charlie's friend Sam, who was raped by her father's boss at age seven.
Another time is a rape Charlie as a young child witnessed. He was in his bedroom while his older brother threw a party, when a couple came in. The girl did not consent to sex but was raped by her boyfriend. She never told anyone.
The most prominent incident has to do with Charlie, who was molested by his aunt whom he loved. He doesn't realize he was molested until Sam touches him in the same way his aunt did.
Homosexuality
One of Charlie's best friends, Patrick, is homosexual. His partner Brad is a star football player. But, no one knows he is gay. He dates a girl to keep everyone fooled, but sees Patrick in secret. In the end, Brad and Patrick are caught and this causes Patrick to plummet. He starts hanging out with Charlie every night and they drink and talk together. Homosexuality is becoming more and more common, and people have to learn to accept others, like Charlie accepted Patrick.
Friends
Charlie starts his freshman year off with no friends, but soon becomes friends with Patrick, a senior, and meet his friends. Charlie fits in because he is sweet and doesn't say much. Even though they have their ups and downs, they are an inseparable group. When all of Charlie's friends graduate, he doesn't know what he'll do.
Some students start high school with no friends, but almost anyone can find a companion.
Bullying
Dating
Charlie enters a relationship with Mary Elizabeth almost by accident. He doesn’t really want to be with her, and he is turned off by her aggressive personality, and he has romantic feelings for Sam, but he continues to date Mary Elizabeth because he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. Mary Elizabeth also doesn’t seem to be getting much from her relationship with Charlie, but she is attracted to him because he’s nice, he’s her friend, and he won’t disrespect her.
When Charlie is dared to kiss the prettiest girl in the room, and instead of kissing his girlfriend he kisses Sam which hurts Mary Elizabeth’s feelings and his friendship with Sam takes a large blow. He is forced to keep his distance from his new friends for several weeks.
Many high-schoolers get into relationships they regret much like Charlie.
"Regardless, I decided to never take LSD again."
-Charlie
Death of a Friend/ Family Member
Dating Violence
There are several cases of dating violence in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
One involves Charlie's sister, Candace. She is dating a guy named Derek, and one night during an argument, Charlie witnesses Derek slap Candace. She defends Derek, giving excuses that seem all too familiar like "he’s not usually like that", "I was egging him on", and "he’s a sweet guy most of the time."
Another incident involves Charlie’s friend Sam who is in a relationship with a guy named Craig who cheats on her, disrespects her, and doesn't value her opinion. She doesn't end the relationship until she finds out about his cheating. Before then, she makes excuses for him, and even admits that he’s no good for her, but she still continues the relationship.
“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody.”
"He seemed pretty unhappy as well, so I told him so. Then, he got mad and started hitting me, and I just did the things my brother taught me to do. My brother is a very good fighter."
-Charlie
Charlie was bullied in his first year of high school. Sean was one of the kids that had bullied Charlie. He waited for him after gym class and said really immature things to Charlie. Once he said he would give him a "swirlie," which is where someone sticks your head in the toilet and flushes to make your hair swirl around. Charlie told him he seemed unhappy which offended Sean and started a fight. Charlie ended up being the one beating him up.
Patrick was also bullied because he was gay.
Charlie deals with two deaths in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
One is the death of his only friend Michael, who committed suicide a year before Charlie started high school.
The other is the death of Charlie's favorite Aunt Helen. He feels her death was his fault because she died in a car accident while she was buying him an extra Christmas present.
These deaths both greatly impact Charlie in a negative way, he has depression and always carries the guilt of being the cause of his aunt's death.
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