Guild 1Mackenzie GuildEnglish 11 Block CMiss BellJanuary 20thInfinite Suicide and depression are often a topic not talked about but in the novel by Chbosky he explains it through the eyes of a depressed teenage boy dealing with the loss of his best friend. The book The perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a coming of age story that gives the reader a glimpse of what it is truly like being a teenager going through high school. The novel is written in letter format by an introvert named charlie who is dealing with death, assault and mental illnesses. He addresses the letters to his anonymous “friend” and reveals secrets and stories all about him, his past and his experiences. Charlie is a depressed, introverted teen, who is a wallflower, but with the help of his english teacher, Mr.Anderson, and his best friends , Patrick and Sam,  he comes out of his shell and starts to participate more in life rather than observe.15 year old Charlie has just started highschool and is already counting the days to his graduation. The loss of his best friend to suicide the previous year makes it very difficult to Guild 2participate and make friends, his english teacher notices this and decides to take him under his wing. Bill Anderson, Charlie’s english teacher, assigns Charlie extra books and essays and encourages him to participate in more events, this leading to his friendship with Patrick and Sam. He meets his new older friends Patrick and Sam at a school football game and gets along with them right away, leading the two of  them to introduce him into their friend group. Charlie falls hard for Sam and tells her but the feelings are not returned because he is to young and sam later on is in a new relationship. These friendships created a sense of safety and happiness for Charlie but when the holidays come around his depression and anxiety about the death of a loved one, Aunt Helen, sparks up again. He couldn’t help somewhat feeling responsible for the accident that occured on his birthday years ago and continued to put himself down even though it wasn’t his fault. Winter break is finally over and he participates in the Rocky Horror show with his best friends. He gets in a new relationship which does not last to long because of his love for sam. This causing a rocky patch with him and his friends which later is resolved. The year goes by and they continue to hangout, drive through the tunnel, go to parties and make memories. At the end of the year his best friends, being older, graduated and moved on with their lives to colleges and universities leaving Charlie behind. Charlie helps Sam pack up and they begin to kiss but it quickly ends as Charlie has a terrible flash back.Throughout the story Charlie faces and witnesses sexual and physical abuse towards himself, his family and others he didn’t even know. One in particular that he had hid away from himself for years but finally comes to realization while hes with Sam, causing a severe mental breakdown at the end of the book.         Guild 3Through the use of first person the author allows the reader a glimpse of what it is like dealing with depression as a teenager and the effects it has on them. Chbosky created a powerful novel structure by writing in a letter/diary format from the perspective of a boy ,who calls himself Charlie. This friend, who he is writing to,  remains anonymous throughout the book and by the end of  it, it almost feels as if your the friend who he is writing to. These letters talk about his personal life, his secrets, his adventures and the problems he’s facing. They can be written a day apart, a week apart of evan a month apart depending on what is going on. The entries also contain flashbacks to when his Best Friend Michael and his Aunt Helen were alive because both people had a big impact on his life and who he has become, both negative and positive.Not only does the book have a powerful structure, the tones shown in the novel are very important as they shows how Charlie is feeling. The tone can be very dark yet light a at times. Throughout the novel charlie’s thoughts and emotions could range from being very depressed and angry to him feeling happy and infinite, yet he only felt this way when he was with sam and patrick. Charlie suffered from severe depression and anxiety yet didn’t know why and only later in his adolescence did he recollect that he was sexually abused as a young boy.  The suicide of his friend, death of his aunt helen, his realization, his friends leaving for college, were all just too much and are what caused him to have a mental breakdown.         Guild 3        In addition, this novel also contains very important and meaningful symbolism. There are many symbols, including the typewriter, the tapes, and drugs but the main one shown and repeated several times throughout the book is the tunnel. Chbosky uses the tunnel to show the reader the development of Charlie going from a observant wallflower to a socially active, participating teen. When Charlie goes through the tunnel with his best friends for the first time he says ” and in that moment, i swear we were infinite” (pg 39),  this is one of the few moments where charlie feels pure happiness. The author uses the use of symbolism to better demonstrate Charlie’s life and to also give the reader a better, deeper understanding of the novel.The book The perks of being a wallflower can be closely related to the tv series and book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher . Both books are centered around highschool life and are narrated by teenagers going through it. The two books show what life is like through the eyes of a teenager and what it is like dealing with depression and how it can lead to suicide. They both are very eye opening and can give the reader a glimpse of what it’s really like for some kids going through school. The two main characters, Clay Jensen from 13 Reasons Why, and , Charlie from The perks of being a wallflower, are very similar to each other because both of them are trying to deal with the loss of a loved one  and are struggling with life, drugs , suicide, sexual assault , and mental illnesses. Both Charlie and Clays best friends took their own lives to suicide because of how mean kids can be and from having “problems at home”. The two boys do not understand why and want to know why they weren’t enough to keep their friends alive. Charlie can also be related to Hannah Baker because both of them are very depressed, have been sexually assaulted, and tell there life stories through a series of letters or tapes. Both of the books provide more awareness for mental illnesses, sexual assault, abuse and the effects it can have on teeagers.         In conclusion, The perks of being a wallflower, provides a whole new understanding of what it is like for teenagers dealing with mental illnesses. This book is eye opening and the author allows the reader to explore the world of adolescents dealing with depression,suicide, drugs, and sexual assault in great detail, which can spread more awareness. Teenagers who are dealing with mental illnesses or any of the same problems Charlie faced can relate to the story and will realize that they are not alone. The book shows that there is “always a light at then end of the tunnel” and that they will be able to get through it with the help of others, just like charlie did with his best friends, english teacher and his family. At the end of the novel Charlie decides to move on and not let his past define him. He also decides that he is no longer going to write letters anymore and is going to focus more on being happy and participating in life. Charlie had overcome many obstacles and his growth showed the perks and the setbacks of being a wallflower.

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