Methods of escape in the perks of being a wallflower “Every life is narrow .Our only escape is not to run away, but to learn to love the people we are and the world in which we find oversleeves”-Mark Haddon. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a story that describes a difficult time for many people specifically high school.
Individuals of all age have struggled with fitting in and finding their place in high school , which in this book becomes an issue for characters. In the novel characters manage to find themselves engaging in both negative and positive methods of escape, for instance drug use, reading, writing, and or through suppressing thoughts.All these different methods touch on issues that many teens have explored in their own lives whether directly or indirectly. Throughout The Perks of Being a Wallflower, some characters use various methods to try and escape from their own pain and suffering,however the drug use only sinks them further into their own depression. Brad has a difficult time understanding his homosexuality and he uses drugs and alcohol as a excuse . Patrick a high school senior who is having a closeted affair with Brad stated that Brad was “pretending to be a lot more drunker than he really is”(pg.
43 ). Brad’s ashamed of being gay and is trying to hide it from everyone though he comes to terms with the fact that he is gay and continues to date Patrick. Another character who Charlie looked up to but caught them self in a little trouble was Aunt Helen because she would turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with the problems that were on her mind ”my Aunt Helen drank a lot . My Aunt Helen took drugs a lot .My Aunt Helen had many problems with men and boys”(pg.90).As much as Aunt Helen tried she couldn’t forget the horrible things she did to Charlie.
Patrick who at first is introduced as “Nothing” turns to using alcohol/drugs to cope with a difficult situation , “Patrick and I have been spending a lot of time together ,we drink a lot actually it’s more like Patrick drinks and I sip(pg.161) Drug use is ultimately an escape that does not work in the long run. Charlie starts smoking because he wants to be rebellious, and as a way to calm his nerves, but his nerves are not calmed. When he kisses Sam instead of Mary Elizabeth, causing his whole group of friends to exclude him . “A few days ago,I went to see Bob to buy more pot”(pg.145);Charlie turns to pot to try and numb himself.
The pot helps dull him,though does not provide happiness, and Charlie remains depressed.It is clear throughout the novel that drug use is one method of escape in The Perks of Being a Wallflower but it does not get you far. People can only fully develop into the fullest versions of themselves when they take charge of their lives and learn how to stand up for themselves ,However in some cases keeping thoughts to oneself only for a period of time . Suppressing thoughts help people in The Perks of Being a Wallflower but it is only a matter of time when they have to face the truth.Sam is very nice , respectful , and non-judgmental of Charlie,but had a rough past . Sam breaks down when having to talk about her past when she is about to kiss Charlie”She told me about the first time she was kissed.She told me that it was one of her dads friends.
She was 7″(pg.70).There was not much sam could do about it but if she tried to get help and talk to someone about it she would of felt more comfortable in situations like these.In another case Brad keeping his homosexuality to himself leads to his dad catching him in action”I guess that Brad’s father didn’t know about his son because when he caught them Brad father started beating Brad”(pg.147).By Brad keeping everything bottled up and not telling people about his sexuality it leads to get into issues.If Brad had just realized his identity from the beginning the outcome would have been different.
Charlie also tries to hide from past memories/events but he was not able to suppress these thoughts for long when Sam was touching him.”when I fell asleep, I had this dream.My brother and my sister and I were watching tv with my Aunt Helen everything was in slow motion the sound was thick and she was doing what Sam was doing”(pg.
204).Charlie is a strong character even though he was molested and the thoughts some time haunt him he believes he will get through it as he said”so if this does end up being my last letter please believe that things are good with me”(pg.213).Overall every time a character tries to hide their past events it rarely turns out good suppressing thoughts is a negative method of escape but can be positive depending on how you do it. Charlie is an, socially awkward intelligent freshman. He frequently acts in the wrong way and says the wrong thing.
In the very beginning of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie uses reading to escape the hard truth of his life”Sometimes,I read a book , and think I am the person in the book”(pg.28) this shows how Charlie wishes he was someone he is not and is trying to escape the truth of who he is.Charlie uses the novels he reads to cope with the problems he is going through”I’m going to write it down because maybe if I do I won’t have to think about it,and I won’t get upset”(pg.96).This proves that reading helps him to overcome and not get frustrated about his problems.
Bill and Charlie both have issues and Bill recognizes Charlie’s loneliness so he gives him a book that he thinks will help”The only advice Bill gives me was to think about hamlet in terms of the other main character in the books i’ve read thus far”(pg.134).In Charlie’s case he is making reference to the fact that both him and Hamlet are tragic characters. In conclusion The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book that deals with the emotions and issues of being a teenager in society.
This book looks at the different methods of escape teenagers use to help overcome their problems .They manage to find themselves engaging in both negative and positive methods of escape such as drug habits, reading, writing, and lastly by suppressing their thoughts. “Some do drugs, others go out for a run, but at the end we’re all just searching for that tiny space, perhaps a hole, that gives us shelter from the terrible reality of the world” – Unknown.