The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Coming of Age in The Perks of Being a Wallflower 9th Grade

Life is about overcoming obstacles and fears to become truly happy, a message that The Perks of Being a Wallflower teaches its readers as Charlie matures through the coming-of-age process. The story follows Charlie as he encounters drugs, sexuality, and friendship while struggling through his freshman year of high school. This involves meeting new people and going through conflicts he has never had to deal with before such as drugs, alcohol, and peer pressure.

In Stephen Chbosky's realistic coming-of-age novel, the protagonist, Charlie, grows from naivety to self-awareness and from chastity to sexuality. At the beginning of the book, Charlie is both innocent and naive. An example of his innocence can be seen when Sam invites Charlie to her room to show him the typewriter she bought him for Christmas. Sam asks Charlie if he has ever kissed a girl: “[he] shook [his] no. It was so quiet.” This proves how uncomfortable sexuality is for Charlie (70). His discomfort is also evident when he describes his uncomfortable perspective on the school dances: “At the school dances, [he] sit[s] in the background… wonder[ing] how many couples will dance to their song…’” Again, this shows that he attends dances alone (24). Charlie is also very...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 723 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4158 literature essays, 1401 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in