The language used in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is fairly simple and sometimes quite childish. The narrative is told through the voice of Charlie, the main character, who is a 15-year-old boy. Charlie writes a series of letters to an unknown recipient, sometimes using direct address, which draws the reader into the story: “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” (p. 3)

Choice of words

Charlie’s letters are more like diary entries, and he uses them to convey intimate details about his life and feelings. His choice of words suggests that he uses ordinary teenage vocabulary and informal words and phrases. For example: “I guess I’m pretty emotional” (p. 9), or: “I love Twinkies, and the reason I am saying that is because we are all supposed to think of reasons to live.” (p. 53) The tone of the letters is often chatty, with sentences beginning with informal words like “so”, “and”, or “anyway”.

Charlie is partly using these letters as practice because he wants to be a writer. He explains early in the book that he doesn’t understand why some writers use overly complex language because it doesn’t reflect the language used in everyday life:

He also said that I should use the vocabulary words that I learn in class like ‘corpulent’ ...

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