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In the work The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999), Stephen Chbosky raises an extremely relevant subject for youth, misunderstanding. From misunderstanding, there are a huge number of other misunderstandings and conflicts that turn life into just a horror movie. Some of the issues raised in the book are fully disclosed, while others are only touched upon. There are also positive moments in the work from which it becomes a little easier to understand and decipher. The idea steadily becomes clear, in this world, not everything is hopeless, and sometimes one just needs to believe in the future.
Jerome Salinger’s book The Catcher in the Rye is about “killing youth,” the book essentially implies that the most beautiful time turns out to be filled with depression, insecurity and disappointment in a life that has not yet had time to really begin. In this regard, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is exactly the opposite. The hero of the book is the boy Charlie, he is 15 years old and "The golden time of youth," this is how the hero calls this period of his life. These are parties, friends, first love, good books and favorite music, as well as problems that can be dealt with at ease (Chbosky 4-6). At the same time, Charlie struggles to understand the world around, which adds a slight hedonistic note to the tone of the narrative.
Some heroes simply walk the line, from betrayal and unrequited love to alcohol, drugs and pregnancy. Charlie seems a little strange, he is observant and has an analytical approach to life. His literature teacher advised him to "integrate" into life, and Charlie acted responsibly with this assignment, began to communicate with people and learn life in practice. He passes everything through the heart and soul, not the mind, a very sensitive young man, a creative person (Chbosky 37-38). This is a disclosure of the theme of the influence of books on the formation of a person's personality.
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Charlie is a teenager, he is shy and has some insecurities that did not arise from anywhere. Charlie needs a friend and this immediately becomes clear after several of his first letters. And it does not matter at all what kind of person this “friend” will be, it is important that they listen to him. Agree, many teenagers need to be listened to without criticizing, not all parents are capable of this, and they learn some things and do the very last. In general, the protagonist of the work is a typical teenager who does not see anything of value in his existence (Monaghan 35-36). While Charlie’s hedonism is somewhat typical for the youth of his age, it also represents the internal struggle, essentially between finding a meaning of life and living recklessly, day in, day out.
It is also worth paying attention to such characters as Sam and Patrick, they are half-sister and brother, but even this circumstance does not prevent them from being supportive of each other. Sam is a girl who dated a guy who was far from perfect for a long time, but at the last moment she nevertheless realized that she was very wrong about him (Monaghan 36). It is Sam who allows Charlie to understand many things and, most importantly, to understand himself. At this point, Chbosky raises the theme of camaraderie and the importance of experience exchange for youth.
The work vividly shows how a teenager sees the world around him. If a small child gradually gets to know himself, then a teenager tries to find his place in the world around him, to understand why he exists. It is at this moment that many parents should tell their child that they are not an empty doll that just wanders around the world, they were born for something greater (Monaghan 40). Essentially, Chbosky attempts to point out that getting to know the world around is not the easiest feat to handle, thus, youth might need help with that from those who already have some experience.
Throughout the plot, one can observe how a teenager from an inexperienced and shy child becomes a young man who understands a lot in life. His letters become more meaningful and not so childish. The reader can immediately see the main character is gradually growing, gaining experience. The Perks of Being a Wallflower covers the 1991-92 school year, we are influenced by many factors at any given time, but it depends on us who we become. One of Charlie's friends said that the parents do not want to let go of their youth, they need something to turn around on. Yes it is, nobody wants to let go and people need to turn around sometimes.
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Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Simon & Schuster, 1999.
Monaghan, Alsion Sagara. “Evaluating Representations of Mental Health in Young Adult Fiction: The Case of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” ENTHYMEMA, vol. 16, 29 Dec. 2016, pp. 32–42., https://doi.org/10.13130/2037-2426/7400.
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