"The Perks of Being a Wallflower," Vocabulary from Part 1

Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" chronicles a very eventful freshman year of high school.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4-Epilogue

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. generic
    applicable to an entire class or group
    I will call people by different names or generic names because I don’t want you to find me.
  2. regret
    feel sorry for; be contrite about
    I think he will regret this when he looks back on his life.
  3. specialist
    practices one branch of medicine
    What was so strange about this was the fact that I had never met this man because he was a “ specialist” and he knew my name even though I wasn’t wearing a name tag like they do in open house.
    The quotation marks around the word "specialist" make it seem special--both in a mocking tone because the specialist is like a rare animal that Charlie has never seen until now, but also in a somewhat admiring tone because the specialist took the time to learn about Charlie before meeting him (which makes him feel special in a strange way).
  4. eventually
    after an unspecified period of time or a long delay
    But it didn’t work and eventually my brother came by the middle school in his Camaro to pick me up.
  5. consistent
    the same throughout in structure or composition
    Kind of like my Aunt Helen and me. I’m sorry. “My Aunt Helen and I.” That’s one thing I learned this week. That and more consistent punctuation.
  6. incidentally
    by the way (used to introduce a new topic)
    Incidentally, I only have one cavity, and as much as my dentist asks me to, I just can’t bring myself to floss.
  7. differentiate
    acquire a distinct character
    I will make sure to differentiate if something comes up.
  8. mutton chop
    chop cut from a mature sheep
    He even painted in the mutton-chop sideburns with a grease pencil.
    In this example sentence, "mutton-chop" is used as a slangy adjective to vividly describe the large sideburns.
  9. corpulent
    excessively fat
    He also said that I should use the vocabulary words that I learn in class like “ corpulent” and “jaundice.”
    "Jaundice" means "a rough and bitter manner" or "yellowing of the skin from an accumulation of bile pigment"--neither definition is intended, since the example sentence is seemingly mentioning random vocabulary. But "jaundiced" means "affected by distaste" and this could be the author's tone towards the teacher's suggestion, because even though Charlie tries to follow it, it's the opposite of the style and voice in which the novel is developed.
  10. appropriate
    suitable for a particular person, place, or situation
    I would use them here, but I really don’t think they are appropriate in this format.
  11. pragmatic
    concerned with practical matters
    The fact that one of these ladies was my mom made me feel particularly sad because my mom is beautiful. And she’s always on a diet. Sometimes, my dad calls her beautiful, but she cannot hear him. Incidentally, my dad is a very good husband. He’s just pragmatic.
    In this example sentence, the word "pragmatic" is used in contrast to someone who is more affectionate, such as someone who would compliment someone else. It also contrasts with the focus on beauty, which can be seen as useless.
  12. productivity
    the ratio of units made to the labor per unit of time
    But then again, I think this would decrease productivity.
  13. fuss
    care for like a mother
    “What would a mom do if she couldn’t fuss over you and make you clean your room? And what would you do without her fussing and making you do it? Everyone needs a mom. And a mom knows this. And it gives her a sense of purpose. You get it?”
  14. affirmation
    the act of asserting or stating something
    He listened, and he nodded and made “ affirmation” sounds.
  15. provoke
    annoy continually or chronically
    My sister then said that it was all her fault, that she was provoking him, but my dad said it was no excuse.
  16. regardless
    in spite of everything
    I hope I haven’t let Him down regardless.
  17. nevertheless
    despite anything to the contrary
    Nevertheless, I am trying to participate.
    Compare with "regardless" in this list. The placement of the two words is a clue to their parts of speech: "regardless" is used as an adverb; and while "nevertheless" is also an adverb, because it's at the beginning of the example sentence, it is acting as a conjunction (synonymous with "however") that connects this thought to the previous one in the novel.
  18. protest
    a public manifestation of dissent
    My professor is making me read twenty-seven books this weekend, and my girlfriend needs me to paint signs for her protest rally Tuesday.
  19. concession
    a contract for the right to operate a subsidiary business
    I went down to the concession stand and bought three boxes of nachos and a diet coke for Sam.
  20. opportunity
    a possibility from a favorable combination of circumstances
    My brother used the opportunity to throw a big party with beer and everything.
  21. stumble
    walk unsteadily
    This one couple, whom I was told later were very popular and in love, stumbled into my room and asked if I minded them using it.
  22. smug
    marked by excessive complacency or self-satisfaction
    The boy looked kind of smug.
    Compare with "cocky" in the list for Part 3. "Smug" connects to self-satisfaction, which is often displayed to others, while "cocky" is a flashier show of confidence, which may or may not connect to self-satisfaction.
  23. paranoia
    a mental disorder characterized by delusions of persecution
    Bob actually looked a little nervous, which I was later told was paranoia.
  24. muffle
    deaden (a sound or noise), especially by wrapping
    I heard some muffled voices, and Brad seemed upset, but I didn’t think it was any of my business, so I went back to the kitchen.
  25. vacuum
    an empty area or space
    When we hit the tunnel, all the sound got scooped up into a vacuum, and it was replaced by a song on the tape player.

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