From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  

by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Theme of Coming of Age

When we look in our Peterson Field Guide to Wildflowers, we see that the wallflower is classified as a late bloomer. But given plenty of water, sun, and socialization with other creatures (especially outgoing ones, like the social butterfly), they can blossom at a young age—say fifteen years or so?

Maybe it's because of his repressed memories that Charlie retains a somewhat wide-eyed, child-like view of the world in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Charlie's freshman year of high school is a life-changer, though. After being introduced to drugs and alcohol, meeting some of the best friends he may ever have, and discovering some dark secrets within himself, Charlie is definitely about to grow up.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. In what ways does Charlie mature in Perks and in what ways does he stay a kid?
  2. What are some of the rites of passage Charlie goes through during the novel? Are they normal teenage rites of passage or are they unique to his situation?
  3. How do some of the other young characters in the book mature? What do they have in common with Charlie, and what's different for them?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement