Sexuality is a significant aspect of a person. It is never about who he or she has sex with or how frequently they have it. It is basically about one’s sexual feelings, ideas, interests, and behaviors towards other people. Both fiction and non-fiction contexts depict differences in matters of sexuality. However, similarities can be drawn in cases where an author can create a character with traits that can be identified in people living in the real world. This essay is intended to explain the connection and differences between sexuality portrayed in imaginary narratives and that based on facts. The novel of Stephen Chbosky on the perks of being a wallflower presents Charlie’s character, whose letters to an unidentified friend portray extreme sexuality. From the first paragraph, He displays his stand on sexuality by stating that the reason behind writing the letters is that the unidentified friend did not attempt to have intercourse with him at the party even though there was a chance. In this imaginary setup, the character charlie is intended to communicate the idea of men being sexual harpies. The purpose of this essay is to correlate and identify differences between the fictitious Stephen Chbosky’s Perks pf being a wallflower novel with two fact-based references that include; the DW documentary film and the essay of Ojoye Taiwo on the right age to educate a junior about sex teachings. The essay discusses the appropriate age for giving sex education to children.
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Stephen Chbosky’s fictional book and the DW documentary agree on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) issues. Although Stephen Chbosky does not directly endorse gay couples through Charlie, he seems to favor the concept. He writes favorably on all gay characters in his novel, including Charlie’s friend, Patrick’s partner whom they fought but still was addressed favorably, and the ‘guy’ who did TV news. When the TV ‘guy’ knew that Charlie knew his career, he left in fear that his secret would be known. The story confirms the suspicion that Alicia, a 19-year-old girl, gets when she comes out and proves that she is lesbian in the DW documentary (Cultural Background 9:00-13:12). Alicia is stigmatized by her friends and even her family when she comes out about her sexuality. Alicia says she experienced awful trauma when narrating how she felt when she heard people demonstrating against the LGBTQ community.
Through Victoria, the documentary Sex as Cultural Battleground deep into sex education in Poland, which has enormous contrast compared to the American one. There are some similarities nonetheless when compared to the education level portrayed by Charlie in his letters. In Victoria’s case, girls in Poland are taught that the only effective contraceptive method is the menstrual cycle periods. The children are not given education on putting condoms, and masturbation and sex outside relationships are prohibited and portrayed as crimes. In Charlie’s case, the knowledge of sex seems to be high due to the pop culture, although something like condoms may be missing. Charlie’s sister and boyfriend end up having sex with no condoms or contraceptives, which eventually makes her pregnant. The two lack self-control, just like many girls in the high school that Victoria attends.
The DW documentary introduces Seksualynych, a Polish anti-abortionist whose most recent mission is to legalize sex education in schools and take it to parents where it belongs. He, Seksualynych, is against people sent to teach children sex education, saying that they encourage masturbation and prostitution. He says that the sex education books used in neighboring Germany promote the LGBTQ community. Despite the documentary directors having a negative view of masturbation, Charlie supports it when he said that he had forgotten to mention in his last letter that it was Patrick who told him about masturbation.
He also forgot to mention how he did it frequently (Chbosky 20). Charlie also shows some trend toward being gay when he kisses Patrick.
The theme of love vs. sex also portrays itself in both fiction and non-fiction sources. In the documentary, sex educators try to include love in their talk to show their students they understand how the two are interrelated. They interview different people on their definitions of love and seek to gather how love and sex are interrelated. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Steven Chbosky shows this theme perfectly. Also, Charlie loves Sam, but he seeks not to when he gets a clear chance of having sex with her. The same can be said in his relationship with Mary Elizabeth, who he does not love. Charlie nonetheless chooses to love her as a friend. Charlie’s sister had sex with her boyfriend, who did not love her. Some of the behaviors used to communicate love by Charlie and his friends are not in line with the guidance given in the essay. “At that juncture, parents should tell them to alienate themselves from anything that could make them unzip their ts” (Ojoye 2). With them of the children.
Both the fictional and non-fictional sources use characters to display various issues in the theme of sexuality. The documentary uses Alicia, Seksualynych, and Victoria to show how sexuality, especially the LGBTQ rights issue, is addressed. The point of sexual education, especially among children, is also addressed. The fictional novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, among other things, also discusses the theme of sexuality. The issue of sexual consent and love and sex are covered comprehensively, with LGBTG rights not being left behind. The essay puts it all together because Taiwo Ojoye articulates a straightforward how-to guide on sexuality. Despite being very different in nature and the location of their occurrences, there are many similarities in the three sources.
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In paintings of fiction, authors formulate characters to correspond to human beings by giving them traits that compel the reader to imply a character has a psyche, identity, doctrine, or competence to act that it does not truly possess (Bal 113). The outcome is what Mieke Bal infers as the character effect. He defines it as the likeness between human beings and falsified characters that makes the audience forget the basic difference for being so real.
Characters in non-fictional contexts have sexuality as a characteristic that fictional characters lack. Therefore, writers aim at giving their characters the impression to acquire a persuading character effect. As much as sexuality is personal and unique, it is connected to the social setup in which an individual operates. Thus, display the person’s relations with their world.
Sexual appetite craves a subject outside the person. Thus, sexuality is a way individuals express themselves sexually and originates from the relations between the person and the topic they desired. For a person to build a theory of his or her theory of sexuality, it has to start from how they understand their sexual desires in connection to the social setup. Afterward, they design their unique sexual individuality by examining the sexual anticipations put forward by society. In this essay, the word sexual identity does not just pertain to gender identity but instead a more extensive theory of the sexual self that encompasses elements such as gender, sexual preference, and sexual craving.
In “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution,” Judith Butler asserts that gender identity, an aspect of sexual identity that has historically been feted as inherent to the human body, is instead a “built identity” (Butler 519). An individual’s acts do not proceed from their gender, or rather the aspect of their gender is built by their deeds (Butler 518-521).
When designing a fictional character, authors understand that the character does not only needs the impression of a sexual personality to be persuading but also, the fictitious character’s sexual personality needs to be informed and must be designed in a way that it acknowledges the fictitious social setup in which it is operating. A novel authored by Alexander Gelley titled, Character and Person: On the Presentation of Self asserts that, instead of a sheer part of the action of the narrative, any fictional character should be the enabling factor for the ordinance of sociality, for the sake of the world configuration of the novel (Gelley 45).
He claims a centrifugal inclination in character – an exploratory, percipient impulse acquainted toward, and thus constitutive of, its reasonable world (Gelley 45). Where an author can effectively design a fictional character to depict the sexual personality and utilize that sexual personality to improve the imaginary setup of the narrative, it grants the audience the key to access the social setup of the narrative and boost the understanding of that social setup.
Bal, Mieke. Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative. University of Toronto Press, 3rd Edition, 2009.
Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory”, Theatre Journal, vol. 4, no.4, 1988, pp. 519-531.
Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Gallery Books, 1999.
Gelley, Alexander. Character and Person: On the Presentation of Self in the Novel. Narrative Crossings, Johns Hopkins UP, 1987.
Ojoye, Taiwo. “When is the Right Age to Teach a Child Sex Education?” Punch, 2017, Web.
“Sex as a Cultural Battleground – Poland and the Fight over Sexual Morality.” YouTube, uploaded by DW Documentary, 2021, Web.