* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

by Stephen Chbosky

Sadness Theme

If Charlie were sending text messages instead of writing letters, they would probably consist of a lot of frowny-face emoticons. That is, if he could even bring himself to text. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie tends to straddle that fine line between sadness and depression. His solution: to totally withdraw himself from all social interaction. Sometimes he even turns to drugs.

Sure, Charlie has moments of joy and happiness, but even when he isn't spiraling into a deep hole filled with panic attacks and depression, there's a fog of bummer surrounding him. Bottom line: this guy sure knows how to bring himself down.

Questions About Sadness

  1. Why is it so important to Charlie whether others are sad or not? Is he an incredibly empathetic person, or is he just nosy? 
  2. What kinds of things make Charlie sad? What can that tell us about Charlie as a person?
  3. How do other characters in the book cope with their sadness? 

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Charlie likes feeling sad because it's a familiar feeling.

As R.E.M. said, everybody hurts sometimes. It's nothing to get worked up about, but Charlie obsesses over it.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement