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Maturing in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
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 each innocent and naive. An instance of his innocence can be observed 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 viewpoint on the college dances: “At the school dances, [he] sit[s] in the background… wonder[ing] how several couples will dance to their song…’” Once more, this shows that he attends dances alone (24). Charlie is also quite naive early in the book. For instance, when Candace is hit by her boyfriend, Charlie keeps quiet, despite the violent attack, as he mistakenly believes that his friendship with his sister is much more essential than her well becoming, as: “…he wound up and hit her difficult across the face…It was not like him at all to hit anyone. He was the boy that made mix tapes with themes and hand-colored covers till he hit my sister and stopped the crying…” This is an instance of naivety as Charlie does not comprehend how serious Candace’s boyfriend’s actions are and how someone could seem good on the outside but are capable of considerably a lot more (11).
In a related case, when Charlie attends his very first celebration with Sam and Patrick “[he] ate the brownie, and it tasted a tiny weird, but it was nonetheless a brownie…But this was not an ordinary brownie” He eats the brownies not knowing, or even taking into consideration, that they may possibly be filled with pot (35). Charlie also faces conflict throughout the novel due to his new connection with Mary Elizabeth, and how his actions are influenced much more by what he believes other people would like him to do, rather than what he would like to do. Element of his conflict with Mary Elizabeth is demonstrated by how 1-sided his connection is. Namely, Charlie struggles to participate meaningfully in any conversation with Mary Elizabeth. This deficiency is observed although the two are trying to have a telephone conversation and “The only factor [he] could say was either “yes” or “no”. There was honestly no area to say anything else… [he] put down the phone, went to the bathroom, and when [he] came back, she was nevertheless speaking.”(129). In addition, Charlie and Mary Elizabeth do not have a mutual physical attraction. Mary Elizabeth is head over heels in really like with Charlie, whilst Charlie would choose to be just friends. This is problematic as Charlie is as well timid to break up with the much more dominant Mary Elizabeth and this creates tension in their friends circle, as Patrick and Sam think it would be unfair for Charlie to continue to string Mary Elizabeth along. Charlie’s inability to do issues for himself additional contributes to his internal conflict. He does issues to appease other folks, but never ever to make himself satisfied. An instance of Charlie’s inability to do issues for himself is when he is comforting a heartbroken Patrick. Patrick kisses him goodnight and continues to kiss Charlie even though Charlie gets no pleasure from the experience: ““Did you want him to kiss you?”… “I was just trying to be a friend,” [he] said.”” Even although Charlie is not gay he permitted Patrick to kiss him, as he didn’t want to upset Patrick any additional (201). Charlie once more shows his wish for acceptance when he begins smoking and skipping class solely to make Sam and Patrick content by spending much more time with them, regardless of understanding that skipping school and smoking are unacceptable behaviors.
Charlie has two epiphanies regarding his conflicts. An epiphany takes place concerning his partnership with Mary Elizabeth throughout a game of truth or dare exactly where Charlie is dared by Patrick to kiss the prettiest girl in the area: “[he] knew that if [he] kissed Mary Elizabeth [he] would be lying to absolutely everyone. Which includes Sam. Which includes Patrick. Which includes Mary Elizabeth. And [he] just couldn’t do it anymore…” Charlie discovers that faking his feelings for Mary Elizabeth is not helping anybody, including himself (135). Right after this realization he experiences catharsis by kissing Sam alternatively of Mary Elizabeth, acknowledging his accurate feelings for Sam. Charlie’s second epiphany is primarily based on his inability to do things for himself, and occurs when Sam provides him a lecture about becoming far more self-sufficient: “[he] figured that [he] need to just do what [he] wanted to do… And if [Sam] didn’t like it, then she could just say so.” This shows Charlie’s progression into becoming self-adequate as he does not care so significantly about how Sam would really feel, but rather what he feels (202). The catharsis that follows this is Charlie kissing Sam once again, but this time it is much more passionate.
By the end of the novel, Charlie is far more aware and skilled. An example of his new-found awareness is shown when he reflects on his capability to control his destiny. He believes that: “… even if we do not have the energy to choose where we come from, we can nonetheless pick exactly where we go from there. We can nonetheless do issues. And we can try to really feel okay about them.” This illustrates that life is not rainbows and daisies and that there is a possibility Charlie will not like the outcome of his actions/life. (211). Furthermore, at the end of the book he becomes aware of how impactful his experiences with Sam and Patrick are on his life and how he will be forever changed from meeting and interacting with them. They have taught him numerous things such as how to be a excellent friend and to consider for himself. Additionally, Charlie has grow to be much far more seasoned concerning his sexuality. This is noticed when he allows his accurate feelings for Sam to emerge. His sexual experiences resulted in a failed relationship with Mary Elizabeth, his 1st crush, 1st kiss, and attraction to Sam.
Charlie’s improved self-awareness and confidence in his ability to control his future, such as the relationships he engages in, demonstrate his character’s maturity through the novel. Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower resonates with its readers, and leaves them with an important message: embrace differences, because life is about overcoming fears and challenges to turn out to be as happy as feasible.
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