||This article possibly contains original research. (March 2008)|
In social situations, a wallflower is a shy or unpopular individual who doesn't socialize or participate in activities at social events. He or she may have other talents but usually does not express them in the presence of other individuals. The term comes from the image of a person isolating themselves from areas of social activities at ballroom dances and parties, where the people who did not wish to dance (or had no partner) remained close to the walls of the dance hall.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed), the first known usage of the term in this sense was in an 1820 poem entitled County Ball by Winthrop Mackworth Praed. It was originally used to refer to women, and only in the context of dances; more recently the term has been expanded to include men and other social gatherings.
Stephen Chbosky's novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about the coming of age of a young boy named Charlie. While shy and awkward as is typical of a wallflower, Charlie is also empathetic and sensitive, which is considered an extension of the definition of a wallflower.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a 1999 novel by Stephen Chbosky
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (film), a 2012 film based on the novel