Session Title

Mental Health and Education

Presenter Information

Haleigh AltmanFollow

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor

Siobhan Brownson, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of English

Description

In his 1999 coming of age novel The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky tells the exciting yet heartfelt story of Charlie’s first year of high school following the sudden suicide of his best friend, Michael, and his own continued trauma from his aunt’s molestation of him as a young boy, as well as her subsequent death. The 2012 film adaptation, directed by author Chbosky, neglects to give screen time and voice to Charlie’s mental health struggles and trauma, even though he does open up the narrative to include more of his best friends’ (Sam’s and Patrick’s) issues with belongingness and interpersonal conflict, ultimately creating a more PG-13 friendly version of Charlie’s story. While both the novel and the film resonated with those partial to the young adult genre, the film adaptation allows Charlie and the audience alike to dissociate from his ever looming trauma in favor of explorations of identity and what it means to fight for themselves and for each other. While this trauma is something no child should have to bear, it is important for entertainment media to give visibility to familial trauma and how adolescents can face that trauma while entering adulthood.

Course Assignment

ENGL 370 – Brownson

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Apr 24th, 12:00 AM

Transitioning Theme in Chbosky’s Adaptation of The Perks of Being A Wallflower

In his 1999 coming of age novel The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky tells the exciting yet heartfelt story of Charlie’s first year of high school following the sudden suicide of his best friend, Michael, and his own continued trauma from his aunt’s molestation of him as a young boy, as well as her subsequent death. The 2012 film adaptation, directed by author Chbosky, neglects to give screen time and voice to Charlie’s mental health struggles and trauma, even though he does open up the narrative to include more of his best friends’ (Sam’s and Patrick’s) issues with belongingness and interpersonal conflict, ultimately creating a more PG-13 friendly version of Charlie’s story. While both the novel and the film resonated with those partial to the young adult genre, the film adaptation allows Charlie and the audience alike to dissociate from his ever looming trauma in favor of explorations of identity and what it means to fight for themselves and for each other. While this trauma is something no child should have to bear, it is important for entertainment media to give visibility to familial trauma and how adolescents can face that trauma while entering adulthood.

 

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