Summary and Reflection on the Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: Essay Fountain

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower was written in 1999 by Stephen Chbosky, an American Novelist. He was in 20’s when he wrote the said novel. In his teenage life, he was captured by the novel “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger and enjoyed classics, fantasy and horror genres which influenced his writings later on. Graduated from University of Southern California’s screenwriting program in 1992, he then gained his first agent after writing, directing and acting an independent film “The Four Corners of Nowhere” in 1995. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a very relevant and an epistolary novel written became a very different type of book. A novel about the intellectual and emotional aspect in life of a boy named Charlie who, in his early age, lost his favorite Aunt Helen whom he loves the most because of an accident and the death of his best friend Michael that resulted him to have a Depression. He unknowingly conquers it with the help of his family; his English Teacher, Mr. Anderson; and friend named Patrick and Sam. A story for the students, teenagers and even to the public as it is addressing some of the country’s issues.

The story was written in a letter form without including who that friend he was referring to that adds uniqueness to it, on August 25, 1991 and a new academic year has started. Charlie is a fifteen-year-old boy who feels awkward by the thought of socializing to people he encounters in his first year in high school. He is very observant, thoughtful and trustworthy. He’s suffering from a Depression due to his past experiences which were his Aunt Helen’s accident and his best friend Michael’s death. His English class teacher, Mr. Anderson knew his potential to be a writer so he gives him books to read and he’ll submit essays about those. In some instance, he became his mentor not just in writing but also in his life decisions. He met Patrick, his classmate in shop class, a senior and repeater and eventually his stepsister Sam, who is also a senior and he had a crush on because he sees her love and care to him like his Aunt Helen. They helped him experience friendship, music, love, rejection and acceptance. He also met the other friends of them namely Alice and Mary Elizabeth whom he was in a sudden relationship with after he performed The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Everything he knew stayed only to himself making him called a “Wallflower” by Patrick and everyone. On the other hand, both of them have to leave for college he then felt again the sadness of being left behind. He was sent to mental institution by his parents after finding him naked and literally out of his mind watching a turned off TV. The love and support sent to him were overflowing so he felt that he is loved and managed to cope up with it.

Charlie in his room telling his reasons why he is writing a letter, something about friendship and what happened to his dear best friend Michael, his family such as his father who works a lot and an honest man; his mom who cries a lot during TV programs; his brother being a football player entering college at Penn State; his sister getting a boyfriend; and lastly, his Aunt Helen living with his family because of something bad happened to her and his dad would be mad if he dared asking her what exactly happened. They became Charlie’s home every day and helped him in every way possible. It was the time that he’s entering first year high school as the new academic year started, scared on what he’ll be doing for the rest of the year because he barely had a friend to be with. After he met Patrick whom he later knew to be a gay and has a stepsister named Sam who was sexually assaulted by his father’s friend. They both introduced him to the world where men and women in their age express freedom in everything they do. In his English class, Mr. Anderson became his mentor in writing. He once said to him the quotable “we accept the love we think we deserve”. It was when he told him about his sister getting hit by his boyfriend but never thought of breaking up with him and having a feelings to Sam that only sees him as a friend. He spent his first year high school with them building a a good friendship and relationship that an introvert like him could ever ask for. It was notable that the story has just started but the reader is already learning a lesson and a different way to introduce people who are part of his life.

This novel fits to a genre of non-fiction because the happenings in the story can be related to real life situations of the teenagers nowadays. Stephen Chbosky mentioned in his interview that he sees to it that the point of view and aspects of every characters not just the main characters should be shown and given importance wither in writing or directing. Showing the essence and experience of different characters and how they met together and form a bond give a huge impact to readers. He also stated that writing a letter is a therapy for Charlie so as with him writing the story and directing the movie. People have a lot more in common than in difference that he learned to say that anything is possible. Proving his goals and objectives in his story, he claimed that in some parts that both Charlie and him had been through and that he became the closest to his heart. In addition, he pertains a wallflower not only about being gay or what you are but being an outcast that if you’re looking back in high school, you’ll remember the popularity of every student wants. “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.” he proved and used some part of his life’s experience be a lesson in his own story that readers will relate.

The story taught and motivated me at the same time. The moment Charlie accepted and felt the love of people around him gave him the reason to stand up from being down. This story is a must read for students in our age. The format it was written is unusual but it actually gives an impact to me because it is like the letters is for me and creates connection between the author and I. What I loved the most are the friendship built inside the school, how music defines the mood and how a person can win over depression. Many students suffer from different problems such as family, financial, emotional, mental and spiritual problems. I found myself on Charlie’s situation – losing someone closest to your heart, fear of rejection, looking for the sense of being belong in a group, suffering from deep sorrow and most of all giving up in life. “We accept the love we think we deserve” got me but I think it should be “We should accept the love He gives even if we think we don’t deserve it.” because above all, His love is the most genuine you’ll feel. It was infinite.

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