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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Janelle B.

on 18 December 2013

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Transcript of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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I appreciate how sitive positive positive positi
Stephen Chobsky itive positive positive positi
used “wallflower” as positive positive positive p
something positive, ositive positive positive po
because usually, tive positive positive positi
being a wallflower is positive positive positive p
associated to some- positive positive positive p
thing negative. Like people prefer to be positive
outgoing than a wallflower. positive positive po
It is a coming of age novel which shows
experiences teenagers endure in order to
fit in society and find out who they really are.
Expression of thoughts and emotions
Very observant of his surroundings
experienced some of the things that Charlie experienced
Before taking up HUMALIT class, I rarely read books, only on some occasions when I have the free time or when I am really interested in the book. These books are usually fiction novels that allow me to escape reality and use my imagination. Some of my favorites are:
I chose to do The Perks of Being a Wallflower as my final project because it was a very interesting book and it is something that I can relate to. Moreover, having seen the movie has greatly affected my choice because I loved the movie and based on experience, having read the books that are adapted into film (e.g. The Hunger Games), no matter how good the movie is, the book is always better. So I decided to read the Perks of being a wallflower.
Stephen Chobsky is the author of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”. He was born on January 25, 1970 and he grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. He is an American novelist, screenwriter, and film director. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” was the first book he wrote, and the classic “The Catcher in The Rye” by F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of his inspirations in writing this book.
In an interview, Stephen Chobsky says that the book was very personal, but it wasn’t 100% autobiographical.

“The Charlie character is very personal to me. Not everything that he goes through is something I went through, and there are things that I went through that I did not include, but he’s very personal to me.”

His love for music was also shown in the book through Charlie when he got so into making mix tapes. Moreover, he says that The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a product of the combination of ideas he had. The first thing he thought of writing was about the tunnel, friendship, and the songs. On the other hand, he also had an idea about writing “Letters to a friend”. He put these two ideas together, which resulted to the book.

“After the dance, we left in Sam's pickup. Patrick was driving this time. As we were approaching the Fort Pitt Tunnel, Sam asked Patrick to pull to the side of the road. I didn't know what was going on.”

Charlie mentions in one of his letters driving through the “The Fort Pitt Tunnel” with his friends which is located in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
The letters sent by Charlie were dated. It was implicitly stated in the book. ;)
Charlie loves making mix tapes. This just gives us a clue that during this time, people still make use of cassette tapes. Songs he include in the mix tapes he make also shows which year he is in. One of Charlie’s favorite songs was “Asleep” by the band “The Smiths” which were popular during the 1980s-1990s.

Asleep by the Smiths
Vapour Trail by Ride
Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel
A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum
Time of No Reply by Nick Drake
Dear Prudence by the Beatles
Gypsy by Suzanne Vega
Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues
Daydream by Smashing Pumpkins
Dusk by Genesis (before Phil Collins was even in the band!)
MLK by Ubleb
Blackbird by the Beatles
Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

And finally ...
Asleep by the Smiths (again!)

Also, the American rock band, Nirvana was mentioned in the book more than once and the peak of their career was during the 90s.

Pittsburgh, early 1990s
(August 25, 1991 – August 23 1992)
was running as president.

“Kelly says that she hopes a good Democratic candidate will challenge George Bush.”
Setting has a great impact to the story. The book was entirely composed of written letters from Charlie sent to an anonymous recipient, I don’t think having this kind of story won't work in our time today. Nobody really uses the post system and our generation was introduced to new methods, such as email and blogging.
When I was reading the part of the book when they were driving through the tunnel, it was like I was also there…. “And I swear in that moment, we were infinite.”

Charlie begins freshman year with no friends.
His best friend Michael committed suicide over summer.
Won a fight over a jocks who tried to bully him.
Earned him the labels "freak" and "weird."
Charlie tries to be a typical high school student.
He felt bad about what he did so he decide stay on the sidelines.
Charlie saw Patrick, a guy from his shop class at one of the football matches he wasn't interested in.
Patrick introduces Charlie to his sister Sam, who he immediately
found attractive.
Charlie, Sam and Patrick grew closer and became best friends.
In one of the house parties they went to, Charlie:
-got high because of the brownie he ate.
-accidentally saw Patrick and Brad, the quarterback kissing.
He was asked to keep this a secret since it will ruin the
formers reputation.
Charlie Mary Elizabeth
-didn't like her as much as she liked him
-Charlie likes Sam
-Truth or Dare: Kiss the prettiest girl
Charlie kissed Sam which made Mary
Elizabeth angry.

Charlie stayed away from the group until the tension subsided.
-cutting classes
Charlie joined the fight to defend Patrick.
This helped ease the tension in the group.
Hangout as
a group.
Sam asks Charlie to
help her pack.
Things were heating up and they
started to make out.
Charlie felt uncomfortable.
Sam stopped.
Charlie broke down and looked pale.
Charlie went home.
Flashbacks of Aunt Helen molesting him.
Started blaming himself for her death.
She was going to get him a present when the car accident happened.
stare at the TV naked.
Psychiatric ward.
Realized flashbacks were true.
Charlie finally got out of the hospital just in time for his sophomore year.

feeling better and more confident
In his last letter, he says that he is not afraid anymore. He became more optimistic of what might happen and what life might offer.
Charlie is the main character of the book. He is just starting his freshmen year in college. He has his own world, he is an introvert, or he is what they call a wallflower. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a wallflower is a person who from shyness or unpopularity remains in the sidelines of a social activity. Charlie starts writing letters to someone he doesn't really know or someone he referred to as that "someone out there listens and understands and doesn't try to sleep with people even if they could have" Through these letters, Charlie shares stories and his experiences. It was like an outlet for his feelings or like a diary but but only better. "They [the letters] were better than a diary because there is communion and a diary can be found."

Charlie goes through typical problems people encounter during high school. He was trying to find his place, trying to fit in. Charlie acquainted with his English teacher, Bill, who soon becomes his friend and mentor. He also meets Sam and Patrick, who became his “best friends”. They helped him become more open. His social life improved starting then, and he was exposed to drugs, sex, and alcohol.
Charlie always breaks down mostly because of his thoughts or because of overthinking. He has trouble in controlling his emotions, especially his anger. When Charlie was young, he was molested by his Aunt Helen. He didn’t really remember until one incident where Sam touched him. He felt sick and pale so he had to sleep. He had a dream/flashback where his aunt was touching him. During his stay in the hospital, his family and friends visit him always and they hang out which helped him recover faster.

Charlie is very caring of the people he loves. He wants to protect them and as much as possible, he wanted them not to be hurt.

Charlie was a dynamic character his outlooks on life during the beginning and the epilogue became very different. At first, he was really shy and timid, but throughout the story, he gets to know himself more, and finally gets out of his comfort zones. He became more outgoing and open. Also, he became very optimistic view about his life. He accepts whatever what life has to offer him in the future.

“So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”
Sam is a senior who becomes Charlie’s friend. Charlie is attracted to Sam and he thinks she is really beautiful. Sam is one of the few people who helped and supported Charlie when he was having a bad time. Sam genuinely cares for him. She is very kind and understanding. She doesn’t judge Charlie.
a.k.a. "Nothing” Also one of Charlie’s best friend. He is gay. Charlie saw Brad and Patrick kissing during a party. Charlie kept their secret and understood them and their situation. Charlie was always there for Patrick, but it seemed like Patrick wasn’t there for Charlie.
Aunt Helen
Charlie mentions Aunt Helen quite a number of times his letters. Charlie describes her Aunt Helen as his “favorite person in the world”. He trusts Aunt Helen so much and he is very close to her. Towards the end of the novel, Charlie reveals that Aunt Helen took advantage of him when he was still a kid. He molested him, and Charlie never told it to anyone. Strangely, Aunt Helen also had a traumatizing experience; she was molested by a family friend when she was little
Bill is Charlie’s English teacher. He sees that there is something special in Charlie so he motivates him into developing his talent in writing. He gives him extra book readings which he loved. Bill wanted to help Charlie and make an impact in his life.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth asks Charlie to the Sadie Hawkins dance, and then they start to have a relationship. Mary Elizabeth was the one dominant in their relationship. Days went on, their relationship seemed to be too one-sided and Charlie starts to feel annoyed of Mary Elizabeth and was so fed up with what is happening between them. Charlie made a wrong move of kissing Sam in front all of his friends during a game of truth or dare which became the reason why they broke up. In the end, they became friends again and Mary Elizabeth has already moved on and have accepted what had happened.
Brad is Patrick’s secret boyfriend. Brad hasn’t come out yet because he is afraid of how might people react, especially his dad because people expect a lot of him since he was the quarterback of the school. In other words, he had a reputation to maintain. Charlie kept their relationship a secret, but Brad crossed the line when he went along with his friends in taunting Patrick. Charlie defended Patrick which caused a fight between them.
Charlie's Parents and Siblings
Charlie wasn’t really close to his parents, but Charlie mentioned that they were really good parents. Looking at their family as an outsider, you can say that they are the typical American family. Charlie and his siblings also had sibling relationship. They have catfights but they look out for each other.
Charlie was subconsciously suffering from his trauma. He keeps on overanalyzing things which makes him sad and depressed. He deals with problems of growing up as he familiarizes himself with the new environment, people, and experiences in his first year in high school.

The internal conflict in Charlie always does what he thinks others will want, and what he thinks will make them happy, instead of doing what is right. As a consequence, his actions only make things worse for his friends, and also for him. He always feels confused and hopeless.
An example of this is the relationship he and Mary Elizabeth had. He didn’t really like Mary Elizabeth in the first place but he still agreed on going out with her because he didn’t want to hurt her, and Sam also told him it might be a bad idea. As what was mentioned earlier, their relationship didn’t end well because of what happened when they played truth and dare when he ended up kissing Sam for being the most beautiful girl in the circle.
Man vs. Society: "FITTING IN"
At the beginning of the story, Charlie mentions in his letter how he is afraid of his first day as a freshman in high school. I think this could be a conflict between man and society because Charlie was feeling a bit pressured of what might happen to him in high school. He was worried about how to fit in and live up to the expectations of the society; he was trying to go with what everyone does so he doesn’t seem so left out.

Another example of Man vs. Society is the relationship of Brad and Patrick. It is not in the norm that two guys date or be attracted with each other which puts them under the pressure of hiding things and keeping their relationship to themselves because they might be judged and frowned upon by the society. Until now, being a member of the LGBT community is still an issue and is not completely accepted by our society.

Man vs. Society: SOCIETAL NORMS
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is written in the first person’s point of view. Charlie, the main character, is the narrator of the story. At the end of his letters, he would always put “Love always, Charlie” as his closing and signature, which guarantees the readers that Charlie is really that he is the narrator of book.

The story would dramatically change if there was a shift in point of view because the book basically revolves around Charlie and how he thinks and acts on certain situations. He clearly expresses his thoughts in details, especially what he feels about what is happening to him and his life. He tells stories with his opinions, and reactions. . Through the letters, he tells stories, shares his experiences, and expresses his deepest thoughts. I could say he was really open and honest in what he is writing because this letters were where he vents out and he made writing an outlet for him to express and let out the feelings he have.

Symbols, Devices and
Narrative Styles
Tunnel: There could be a lot of symbolism for the tunnel. First, it could be about growing up. Charlie passing through the tunnel and reaching the end of it could mean that he is passing through his phase of being a “wallflower” and when he reached the end, he felt infinite; he was feeling the moment and he was part of it. He felt like he finally let go of being a wallflower, and probably became a social butterfly. Moreover, the tunnel could also be a representation of happiness. An old famous saying goes, “There is always a light at the end of a tunnel.” When one goes through a tunnel, the lights become dim and there is darkness. This could represent what Charlie has been through, while the light at the end of the tunnel could represent the freedom from his distress.

Books and Mixtape: The books we read, and the music we listen can define us as a person. It molds our identity, and it says about a person's idividuality.

Aunt Helen: Aunt Helen represents people who are close to us and people who we trust. The novel shows how the people we least expect to take advantage of us are the ones who does. It is a reminder that no matter how well you think you know a person, we don't really get to know their real motives, but we trust them anyway.
Friendship: This is shown throughout the book. The novel showed how there are ups and downs in friendship, that there will be those who will be by your side when reality knocks on your door, both good and bad.

Forgiveness: It is not easy to forget but it is what sets us free. Holding grudges won’t do us any good. Just like Charlie, he let go of the memories of what had happened, and tried to look at things positively. He motivates himself that the past doesn’t really matter that much, it is what you do at the present that you must focus on.

Choices: The novel also emphasizes how choices have a great impact in our lives. Your own choices, as well as the choices of the people around you affect you in a way. In making decisions, we should be aware of those who will be involved, how things might turn out, and if it is right fair to all. We should remember not to be selfish and become more considerate of others because the consequences of one’s actions might affect many.

Hope: Personally, I think this is the main theme of the novel. We all go through tough times; Charlie's feelings of loneliness and hopelessness are something we all might have experienced to some degree. We should remember that we are not alone, and all bad things pass. There is always hope. Things always get better, maybe sometimes, you don’t feel it, but it really does.
Defining Literature
To me, literature is something people to use to mirror life. Literature might be based on facts or could be based on pure fiction / imagination. It conveys messages and has different meanings depending on the perspective of the reader. Literature challenges people to open up their minds and it allows people to express their creativity in writing, reading, and understanding literature. Literature is not only an escape from reality but also a glimpse of reality.

According to Terry Eagleton’s essay, there is still no
definite definition for Literature. His essay became clearer to me as some of his theories were pointed out in our class like for example how where we come from, our culture, can greatly influence how we view literature. Personally, I consider "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" as literature because reality is shadowed in the novel. The story and the characters might be fictional, but hints of reality could be identified in the novel. Moreover, it gives inspiration or message to the readers. Significantly, what makes the novel a literature is that is has an impact on people no matter how different their perspective and analysis/understanding is.
Documentation and Citation
Writer/director Stephen Chbosky on The Perks of Being a Wallflower. (2012). Retrieved from http://filmmakermagazine.com/52492-writerdirector-stephen-chbosky-on-the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower/#.Uq3nc9IW0UJ

The perks of being a wallflower author Stephen Chbosky talks sequels, music, and making movies with Emma Watson. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.sugarscape.com/main-topics/book-club/818412/exclusive-perks-being-wallflower-author-stephen-chbosky-talks-sequels-m

The perks of being a wallflower. (2013) Retrieved from http://www.shmoop.com/perks-of-being-a-wallflower/

Stephen Chbosky (author). (2013). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Chbosky

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