Post Reading Reflection: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story narrated by a teenage boy, Charlie, through a series of letters to an unknown friend. The protagonist struggles with the traumatic deaths of his aunt and friend. He is anxious and afraid of starting high school. However, through the support of his teacher who takes notice of his writing talent, he overcomes his shyness (Chbosky 13).

Charlie's friendship with Patrick and Sam

Charlie meets two classmates, Patrick and Sam, and becomes good friends with them. He also starts to participate in school activities such as attending football games and parties and later falls in love with Sam (Chbosky 40).

Charlie's journey and development

As the year proceeds, Charlie encounters many experiences and he develops to maturity. At the end of the novel, the protagonist suffers mental breakdown due to the memories of how he was sexually molested by his aunt. However, the final letter indicates that Charlie is ready to participate fully in life instead of sitting back and watching (Chbosky 120). This paper analyzes how the author builds motifs and themes through the life journey of the characters.

The importance of participating in life

The author narrates the experiences of the characters as they develop in life which helps in cultivating the major themes. As the personages move through the journeys of their lives, the reader derives the main ideas of the novel. One of the themes developed with the application of the aforementioned approach is the importance of participating in life. As a young boy, Charlie is depicted as a wallflower. He is shy and is not actively involved in the surrounding activities but instead sits and watches (Chbosky 17). After going to high school, he is helped by his teacher and friends to come out of his shell. Through interactions with other people, Charlie dates and attends extracurricular activities. At the end of the novel, he realizes that he needs to participate actively in life and stops writing to the unknown friend (Chbosky 120). The life journey of the protagonist as a character is vividly illustrating the perks of being a wallflower (Goldsmith 126).

Sexuality as a theme

Another theme that evidently comes out from the development of the characters is sexuality. As the novel develops, the sexuality issues may be seen in the characters of Patrick, Brad along with Charlie. Through the life journey of these personages, the reader understands the theme well.

Driving as a motif

The life journey of the character is also used to build motifs in the story. One of the patterns created is driving, which indicates maturity and participation of life. Charlie's friendship bond with Sam and Patrick is developed when the three ride together (Chbosky 25). It represents an emotional journey the three youngsters undergo to maturity. It also symbolizes the transformation of Charlie from being a wallflower to actively participating in life (Matos 87). During his 16th birthday, the protagonist is given a driver's license which symbolizes an invitation to become a complete member of society and his own path (Chbosky 49). These incidences of character experiences and development help in building the motifs of the story.


This essay analyzed how the life journey of the characters in The Perks of Being a Wallflower is used to develop themes and motifs. The author narrates the various experiences of the people as they grow to maturity. Through this approach, the audience is able to understand the main ideas being communicated by the writer. The journey of Charlie begins while he was a shy boy. As he moves through school, he is transformed and stops becoming a wallflower. He actively participates in his life. Through this journey, one is able to understand the theme that is being considered. Finally, other themes such as sexuality are well cultivated by the journeys of the characters.

Works Cited

Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Simon and Schuster, 2012.

Goldsmith, Francisca. “Review of the Perks of Being a Wallflower.” School Library Journal, vol. 45, 2009, p. 126.

Matos, Angel Daniel. “Writing through Growth, Growth through Writing: The Perks of Being a Wallflower and the Narrative of Development.” The ALAN Review, vol. 40, no. 3, 2013, pp. 86-97.

November 24, 2023

Life Literature



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Literature Review

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