Themes In The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

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“It's great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn't need a shoulder? What if they need the arms or something like that? You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can't. You have to do things.” This quote is from a novel titled The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This displays the main character’s view on growing up. A frequent theme in American culture is coming of age, which is a young person’s journey from childhood to adulthood. This theme is present in many American novels, such as Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, which is one of the most popular books that contain this theme. Also, there are examples of …show more content…
Late 18th-century German novels created a new theme that would be followed by new authors in later centuries. “This pattern typically features a young protagonist—either male or female—who undergoes a troubled search for an adult identity by process of trials, experiences, and revelations. This theme is prominent in several well-known European and American novels of the 19th and early 20th centuries” (Coming of Age, 1). Iconic books such as Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird all contain the similar theme of coming of age. To continue, “Most 18th- and 19th-century protagonists featured in these novels came of age in their mid-to-late teenage years. Throughout the 20th century, however, the range in years for a coming-of-age narrative widened from this age group to include protagonists in their early to mid-20s” (Coming of Age, 1). Throughout the years, the elements of the theme have changed, such as age. However, this will continue to be a popular theme that follows the development of an …show more content…
Salinger. It follows the journey of Holden Caulfield, a sixteen-year old boy who finds himself in a psychiatric facility after a nervous breakdown. One day, Holden was offered a prostitute. He obliged, but acted like a child once she got there. “Don’t you feel like talking for a while?” I asked her. It was a childish thing to say, but I was feeling so damn peculiar. “Are you in a very big hurry?” (Salinger 95). When Holden finally has the chance to lose his virginity to a prostitute named Sunny, he would rather talk to her than do anything with her. This proves that Holden is capable of attempting adult situations, yet he is incapable of handling these situations in a mature way. Holden cannot get himself to grow up, no matter how hard he tries. Also, Holden tries to bond with Sally Hayes in a later chapter. He takes her on a date and proposes the idea of running away. She refused, and Holden responded with, “You give me a royal pain in the ass, if you want to know the truth.” (Salinger, 133). Holden’s childish words caused Sally to cry. Once again, Holden tried to be mature and start a living with Sally. However, once he was denied, he feared being alone. He tries to protect himself from getting hurt any further, so he shoots back evil words at Sally to make him feel better about himself. Holden cannot deal with anything that is too complex like a relationship or adulthood. Instead

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