The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Does drinking and doing drugs bring Charlie closer to his friends? If so, what kind of message is that sending to young readers? Does Chbosky counter that message in other ways?

during any part of the book

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been heavily criticized for its scenes involving hard drug use, and the American Library Association believes that this theme is a primary factor in the book's frequent banning. The altered state of mind that Charlie experiences after using LSD and some of his encounters with pot all point to the chaos that operates within his brain on a daily basis. Charlie has a difficult time recovering from his LSD trip because he finds it hard to stabilize his mind and focus on one thing - something that he admits causes him difficulty even on good days. While many commentators have focused on Chbosky's descriptions of drug use as potentially corrupting material for young teens, Chbosky's novel as a whole does a marvelous job of highlighting the larger mental issues that Charlie struggles with day-to-day.

In addition, the theme of drug use is key to Charlie's self-discovery and personal development. When he is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Charlie is more open and honest about his feelings, even if he doesn't communicate these feelings in an extremely productive manner. Tied in with the drug use is the theme of secrecy, and Charlie often uses illicit substances to come to terms with the many secrets he holds.