Narrative Technique in Perks

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In the coming of age novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, author Stephen Chbosky tells the story of a high school freshman, going by the name of “Charlie,” through a series of letters written by the narrator. These letters are written to someone whom Charlie only refers to as “friend,” and they chronicle his life as he struggles to fit in, and as he learns to experience life rather than just observing it. Since the novel is written in a subjective first-person point of view, sometimes it can feel like Charlie isn't telling us everything, and that he could possibly be an unreliable narrator. We don't really know who the letters are addressing, even though it is written in a way that makes it seem like he is writing to us, the audience. Charlie can also be considered unreliable, not because he is lying to us or is holding back information, but because even he doesn't necessarily have all the facts. The novel is written in a series of letters, composed by the protagonist and narrator, a boy who goes by the alias of “Charlie.” The letters are addressed to an unknown person, but are written in a way that makes it seem like they are addressed to us, the reader. This type of narration allows us to connect more emotionally to Charlie than we would have if his story was told to us through a different way, like most novels are written. It makes us invested in his life, and how his character is going to develop through the novel. In the beginning of the novel, in the first letter, you can tell how desperate Charlie is for someone to tell his story to, and for them to just listen. Because of that, he doesn't want the “friend” he is talking to to find out who he is. He says “I don't want you to find me.... I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands.... I need to know that these people exists” (Chbosky, Perks, 2). In this way, people can really
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