The moment when the air is full of nothing but love, happiness, and forgiveness; that moment that society longs for; feeling infinite. (Pattern 1C) This idea of being infinite is brought up many times in books relating to high school students. One book constantly brings up this feeling with a teenage boy named Charlie. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky uses high school struggles to show humanity’s desire to fight for popularity and acceptance.
Is it better to be a wallflower or be an outspoken person who has to cover up their feelings because they are fighting to stay popular? In this book Charlie fights this phenomenon with himself and with his new friend Patrick, who becomes more openly gay as the book progresses. He is secretly dating the quarterback of the football team. The only problem is Brad, Patrick’s secret boyfriend, wants to be popular. Brad does not want to become open about his sexuality because he wants to be accepted by those at school. Society today has ongoing arguments about sexuality tolerance in places such as the classroom to the football field and even state senates. That only makes those in high school less likely to become open about their sexuality knowing that political disputes have arisen over this controversial topic.
The same situation occurs with Charlie, a wallflower; a lonely boy who was sheltered to the world around him. (Pattern 1) Although, that all ended when he met Sam and Patrick. Charlie started to drink and do drugs but when he went back to being his original self he realized the world around him was crazy. When Charlie was normal in the past, before the big high school parties, he was sheltered to the thought that his Aunt Helen could do no harm in the world. However, at the end of the book he realizes that she was not the perfect person he always thought she was and that she did not love him in the way he always thought she did. “We all deserve the love, we think we deserve” (Chbosky 27). This is the mental fight that humanity has; telling them that love can be possible if the thought is there. Mentally humanity puts things, like Aunt Helen raping Charlie as a young child, on the back burner to accept the love from the only person who ever showed “true” affection. Charlie also sees a therapist and in this day and age to have a therapist in society's eyes is seen as if there is something wrong with the mental stability of that person. In Charlie’s situation he is emotionally terrorized by the actions of his aunt when he was young; however, as a society it should not be wrong if those experiencing hard times seek guidance and help. (Pattern 1A) Charlie has no goals in life except for the fact that he has to do well in school in order to get a scholarship to go to college. In a survey taken of high school students they showed that “75.4% of students set goals for themselves” (“Statistics”). What happens to the other 24.6% of students? These are the students that need help but are seeking it because they don’t have any ambition to live life or goals to strive for. Beside the possibility for a scholarship down the road, Charlie has nothing to look forward to in life and this is why he turns to drugs and alcohol to become accepted. Many times, teenagers seek psychiatric help in life due to the fact of non-acceptance in the vigorous, fast paced, life that humans live in.
“We can't choose where we come from but we can choose where we go from there” (Chbosky 211). The idea that Charlie may never want to grow up to be his parents and that he wants to make his own destiny in life is part of the thrill in this novel. Showing how Charlie grew up and how that shaped him to be the person he was planned to be verses who he wanted to be is Charlie’s largest struggle. Charlie grew up in a home structured stereotypically; with his father the dominant parent and his mother agreeing with everything said by “the man of the household”. This way of being raised