The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

November 10, 2017
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I did not completely understand the meaning of wallflower when I started to read this book a few weeks ago. I just saw a boy named Charlie who was afraid of high school and had no friends. He even did not have a friend to have a meal with – not even an old classmate or his sister or brother. However, Charlie did not complain or criticize others, and he still wanted to protect her sister when she was being abused by her boyfriend.  Maybe one of the characteristics of a wallflower is that they accept almost anything without high expectations. Some people do not like this kind of tolerance and inclusion, because it is really hard to have such a peaceful mind.

This kind of personality also causes a wallflower to be passive in the most of time; a wallflower cannot make final decisions or see things through to the end, despite possessing the ability to do so. Maybe that is the destiny of the wallflower, just accepting everything positively out of fear for asking for the things that are really desired. This is shown with the night Sam left for college. Charlie believed that Sam would forget him and make new friends, however, Sam stated that she had already broken up with the wrong person. Surprisingly, Charlie just said that we accept the love we think we deserve. Some people might read that statement and think that Charlie was kind of stupid, but I think it is just the personality of a wallflower.

One might wonder why a wallflower has such an attitude toward life, and lives in a state that is almost a kind of sadism. In the novel, Sam wonders why Charlie put everybody's lives ahead of his own. Most people might think this behavior is caused by feelings of inferiority, but I assert that it is far more complicated. A wallflower does not only learn to understand others and make others happy, but also to derive happiness and satisfaction from the process. Wallflowers do not want to be lonely – actually, they want to be happy, so they learn to live quietly to get a sense of happiness from the people around them. In their opinion, observing, feeling, and being happy with others is more important than being happy alone. They really need friends in whom they can confide worries and fears, without being judged or criticized. They do need people with whom they can share good news and personal achievements in their work and studies. They just need people about whom they care deeply.

This kind of passivity, acceptance, and hiding can also bring the wallflower a lot of trouble. They must accept things they do not like because they do not know how to reject things successfully. When Elizabeth asked Charlie to go to the party, he did not say that Sam had always been his love, but rather started dating a girl he did not even like, just because he could not say no. He hated Elizabeth’s nagging and her disrespectful behaviors. Finally, they broke up in a dramatic way. It was such a great tragedy for a wallflower.

I think that wallflowers have the ability resist, but do not have enough energy to do so. Perhaps being repressed for so long a long period of time saps one’s energy. I support that this kind of energy is every wallflower's hope, so do not be pessimistic because of your passivity, because everyone is unique.






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