The Perks of Being a Wallflower Themes
- Friendship is the central theme of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Socially awkward narrator Charlie befriends fellow misfits Patrick and Sam, who open him up to a host of new experiences. Their influence has a profound effect on Charlie, allowing him to make friends and heal from several traumatic experiences, including the death of his best friend.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower is notable for its honest depiction of teenage sexuality. A great example of this is the exploration of Patrick's relationship with Brad. Openly gay Patrick is heartbroken after the deeply closeted Brad ends their relationship. Chobsky doesn't use this as a platform to moralize about teenage sexuality. Instead, he allows relationships between his characters to develop naturally.
- Chobsky establishes the theme of mental illness with the suicide of Charlie's best friend Michael. Charlie also struggles with emotional problems and understands the desire to commit suicide. He has a therapist who helps him with these issues. Nevertheless, Charlie's emotional state remains fragile, and he a major breakdown before finally declaring at the end of the novel that things are getting better.