Literature III The Perks of Being a Wallflower ————————————————- Myca Canicula, Jean Ignacio, Sunshine Ilustrado 9 May 2013 How the author used symbolism to reveal the characterof Charlie in Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower In Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the character of Charlie, the protagonist, was revealed through the use of symbolism and imagery. The tunnel, the Rocky Horror Picture Show and dancing were used to show the readers how Charlie got into the moment and not just watch life from the sidelines and how he realized the value of friendship and family.
It all started when Fifteen-year-old Charlie is coping with the suicide of his friend, Michael. To lessen the fear and anxiety of starting high school alone, Charlie starts writing letters to a stranger, someone he heard was nice but has never met in person. During the course of the school year, Charlie has his first date and his first kiss, he deals with bullies, he experiments with drugs and drinking, and he makes friends, loses them, and gains them back.
He creates his own soundtrack through a series of mix tapes full of iconic songs, reads a huge stack of classic books, and gets involved in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” audience-participation culture. Charlie’s final letter closes with feelings of hope: getting released from the hospital, forgiving his aunt Helen for what she did to him, finding new friends during sophomore year, and trying his best not to be a wallflower. Charlie hopes to get out of his head and into the real world, participating in life instead of just watching it fly by.
Charlie travels through literal tunnels three times during the story. The first and third, he is with his friends, but when Charlie travels through the tunnel the second time, he is alone. This gave him time to reflect on the life he has been “living”. Tunnels can mean different things, but in the story, it serves as a passageway for Charlie from being a wallflower to an active and friendly teenager. When Charlie passes through the same tunnel with his friends, he is actually living life, not just observing it from a distance. It was me standing up in that tunnel with the wind over my face. Not caring if a saw downtown. Not even thinking about it. Because I was standing in the tunnel. And I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite. ” The second symbolism used in the novel is The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This is 1970’s movie wherein the characters dress like Frank ‘N’ Furter, throw stuff at each other and talk to the screen. One of the songs used in the Rocky Horror Picture Show is the “Time Warp”. Actually, it is a group dance.
The group participation makes the movie so special for Charlie because it symbolizes fitting in. Fitting in is very important to Charlie. Just like his group of friends, the Rocky Horror Picture Show makes him feel like he belongs because it is a judgment free zone, a place where he can do weird things and still no one makes fun of him. “So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.
We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them. ” The last symbolism used in the story is dancing. In the story, Charlie was given numerous opportunities to dance at his school. Despite all the chances he was given, Charlie only dances once in the story, and that was when Sam asked him to. In the homecoming dance, Bill, his teacher, asked him if dances. Charlie answers,” I’m not a very good dancer. ”His reluctance to dance symbolizes his reluctance to really participate in anything. Instead, he just watches other dance. At the school dances, I sit in the background, and I tap my toe, and I wonder how many couples will dance to their song. ” It is another proof that Charlie is a wallflower until his friends came along and helped him realize that living life is better than just watching it. When Sam invited Charlie to dance, it was one of the times Charlie felt infinite. “She held me a little closer, and I held her a little closer. And we kept dancing. It was the one time all day that I really wanted the clock to stop. Another time is when Sam and Charlie kissed. “It was the kind of kiss that made me know that I was never so happy in my whole life. ” It only supports the fact that Charlie is finally coming out of his shell and making true friends. “Enjoy it. Because it’s happening. ” The author effectively used symbolism and imagery to portray Charlie, the main character, and the changes he underwent from being a wallflower to an active and cooperative teenager specifically through the following: tunnels, the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and dancing.
The author also used these to show the readers how Charlie came to realize the significance of family and friends in one’s life. Another is that, the author shows what a wallflower feels and what he/she thinks about life. Most importantly, the author used symbolism and imagery in such a way that it made the readers realizes that living life is better than just watching it from the sidelines.
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