What I’ve Learned From My Blog Work

This is the last task for the blog part of this English assignment. I now only have left to write the analysis which I will be handing in after winter break. Maybe I’ll post the analysis on the blog to round it up, but I’m not yet sure if I’ll do that.

So, what have I learned from this blog?

Well, since I’d read the blog of a student that had previously done this assignment before we started, I knew what to expect the tasks to be. I especially thought about the different themes while reading the book, since I figured that would be the hardest one to write about. Because I knew I had to write about the theme, I tried, while reading, to find the deeper meaning and why the author conveyed the story like he did. I think knowing I had to really analyse and understand the book to write a good analysis, made me more observant about details and the subordinated storylines which I otherwise would have missed.

I said in my earlier post about whether I would write an analysis or a report that I chose this book because I had a lot to write about it since I’d already seen the movie. I did this because I thought I would find it hard to write the analysis. I thought if I chose another book that there would be a chance I didn’t understand the point of the book, and therefore wouldn’t be able to write a good analysis. Lately I’ve been regretting this and wished that I’d chosen a book I’d never seen the movie adaption of. Because I had to write this entries about the different aspects of the book and its storyline, I understood far more of the book than I think I would if I just had to write the analysis. Therefore I also think I would be able to analyse book with a “deeper” and more hidden message which is why I in some ways regret my choice of book. It is a very good book, and like I’ve said in a previous entry, one of my favorites. It does have a deeper message than most people think, and I’m glad I got to figure out just how much this book matters.

What I’ve really appreciated about this assignment is that we all could write, somehow a little “freely”. We got a main topic we had to cover, but besides that we could shape our entries as we wished. This individual way of working with and interpreting a text or in our case a book is something I’ve never done before. I really liked this because we all interpret books differently. It’s also been interesting to read what the others in my class have written.

Source of the featured image: [1]

Themes

There are a lot of different themes in the book. Some of them are very easy to find and others you have to dig deep into the storyline to grasp a hold of. Since this book is a teen romance novel, although not the classic girl-falls-in-love-with-guy book, it has a lot of themes in common with those kind of books. You have the theme of love in all different shapes and sizes. Hopeless love, hidden love, self love, gay love, love between siblings, family and friends are some of the types of love in the book. Everyone in Charlie’s group of friends are so different both from each other and from the other people around them and that reflects in the different ways they love, and see love.

There are a few more of the typical teen romance themes like the struggle of being a teenager, family drama, rebellions against society/socially acceptable acts, contrasts and finding truth and meaning. Both happiness and sadness also occurs, often consecutively to each other.

A recurring but subordinate theme in the book is abuse, both emotional and physical. Charlie is both a victim and a witness to abuse. He has been hit by his dad, though only once and he has seen his sister been hit by her boyfriend. SPOILER ALERT! Near the end of the book Charlie gets sent to the department of psychiatry at the hospital for being sexually abused by his late aunt whom he adored. He’s been repressing his memories of what she did and has only ever wanted to see the good in her. When I understood what she did to him, it’s was easy to see that his psychiatrists had been trying to get him to remember this in their sessions for a long time. I think Charlie has justified this by knowing she was sexually abused by a family friend as a child. Charlie’s grandfather drunkenly told him about hitting his aunt and mom for getting a C- average in school. He also told Charlie it worked because neither of them got bad grades again. He almost seemed proud of it.

As for the emotional abuse, cheating and taking advantage are themes that are visible throughout the book. Several of the characters are dating someone at some time in the storyline because they think it’s the right thing to do. There’s also a lot of unintentional emotional abuse because of misconceptions and miscommunication. Charlie is at times very bad at knowing the right way to help, and several times he unknowingly and unwillingly amplifies their struggle.

Since the book is written in first person point of view, it consists mostly of Charlie’s own feelings and views. Sometimes he describes the other characters feelings and views based on their presence and appearance (which he is really bad at interpreting). I’m sure if the book was written in an omniscient perspective it would be easier to know the others perspective, and therefore it would probably be easier to find other themes. But, since I only get to read from Charlie’s perspective I find it very hard to understand their feelings and views, which means I’ve probably missed a lot of underlying themes.

Point of View

The book is written in first person point of view. Charlie writes letters with himself as the “I” person which is normal when writing letters. Charlie doesn’t know what anyone else is thinking or feeling. He spends a great deal of time trying to figure out this, but his letters centers mostly on his own thoughts and feelings.

An example of the pont of view is this line;

“I’m sorry I haven’t written to you in a couple of weeks, but I’ve been trying to “participate” like Bill said.”

The whole book continues like this with Charlie as the “I” person.

Source of the featured image: [1]

Book Report or Book Analysis

The final task for this book assignment is to write either a book report or a book analysis. I knew I wanted to write an analysis before I even started to read the book. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve already seen the movie, and a reason why I chose to read this book was because I think it has a great message.

To some people, the book I’m reading is probably just another cliché teenage book/movie. And it is in some ways, it’s a story of love, heartbreak and self discovery. But, I have seen the movie a lot of times and every time I rewatch it, I understand more of its meaning. I believe this is the kind of book you could reread and discover something new every time.

The message in this book is something I feel like I could analyze and write a lot about, which is why I’ll be writing the analysis. Another reason as to why I’m choosing to write the analysis is because I don’t feel like a book report could do this great book or its author justice.

The Setting

Although the book is written in 1999, the story is set in the suburbs somewhere in Pennsylvania in 1991. Charlie is a freshman in high school, thus in his first year. Therefore what he is experiencing with Sam and Patrick is new and exiting for him since they’re seniors. Ever since he met them his letters are far more cheerful and upbeat.

The social environment in which Charlie is initiated into by Sam and Patrick is in some ways taboo and judged by others. The group of friends are outsiders and want to be exactly that. They all are outsiders in different ways. Patrick used to be popular before Sam introduced him to “good music”, he’s also gay. Sam is believed by others to be slutty because of how she acted when in her sophomore year. And, Charlie is a wallflower; he sees things, he keeps quiet and he understands without judging. In contrast to Charlie, all of the others in the friend group have all been popular at some point. They’ve chosen not to be a part of the mainstream crowd at school, while Charlie never has been.

It’s clear that the story takes place in the suburbs. Both the social and economical environment has a city kind of feel to it. They listen to the newest music, go to record shops and hang out at the theater and the golf course. The author is also from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, which almost confirms that the story takes place there. [1]

There was a lot of controversy about the book when it was first released because of its content. This resulted in the book being banned from some schools in the US. [2]

Source of the featured image: [3]

The First Chapter

The book doesn’t really have chapters, it has parts. I believe there are four parts in all. The different parts are divided into letters, which Charlie, the main character, writes to a stranger he calls “friend”. Every letter is dated and started off with “Dear Friend, and ended with “Love always, Charlie”. In these letters Charlie tells the stranger about his life and family. The letters varies in length and are sometimes several pages and other times just half a page long.

The letters start out pretty depressing. Charlie tells this stranger about the time his aunt died, which I know from the movie happened when he was very young. He also tells him (I’m going to be referring to the stranger as him even though I actually don’t know if the stranger is a man or a woman, but I got the impression that it was a man) about his best friend from middle school, Michael, who recently committed suicide. Michael’s death really got to Charlie and it seems like it made Charlie think about his aunt’s death too.

The letters becomes more and more optimistic and cheerful as Charlie meets the two seniors Patrick or “Nothing” as most people at school calls him, and Sam. Patrick and Sam instantly spark a change in Charlie, and they even get him to go to football games, school dances and parties. At the end of part one you can already see that Charlie has changed into being more social and he’s even initiating in activities with his new friends.

My Choice of Book

I chose to read the book “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky for this book assignment.

I’ve wanted to read this book since I saw the movie, which is based on the book. I immediately fell in love with the story when I watched it a couple of years ago. Usually I’m not a huge fan of reading books of which I’ve seen the movie, since I almost always think they’ve left out too many important parts of the storyline in the movie. But, since Stephen Chbosky also directed the movie I think I’ll like the book too.

What intrigued me about the story was how much the main character Charlie grew as a person during his first year of high school and, not to spoil the ending for anyone who wants to read the book, found love in lifelong friends. To follow Charlie’s journey from being a quite socially awkward freshman is fascinating and relatable in many ways.

If you want to know more about this blog, the book I’m reading or the author you can read about that in the menu on the left. You can also find the trailer for the movie under “About the Book”.

Source of the featured image: [1]