Summary: Part 3
January 4, 1992
Charlie writes to his “friend” that after he mailed the letter on January 1, he started vomiting, and he laid down in the snow, which is the last thing he remembers before the police found him and tookhim to the emergency room, which his parents later drove him home from. As a kid, Charlie used to wander off and fall asleep in strange places a lot. Charlie also discovers that he’s hacked off a lot of his hair with scissors while on LSD.
January 14, 1992& January 25, 1992
Charlie gets scared when he starts doing research on long-term effects of LSD. Patrick and Sam reassure him that he’ll be okay. Bill praises Charlie’s Catcher in the Rye paper. Charlie’s mood begins to perk up tremendously from the lows of the Christmas holidays, which might have something to do with his new psychiatrist. Charlie, Sam, Patrick, and their friends discuss Kurt Cobain, and Charlie’s thrilled to be having what feel like big, important, philosophical conversations.
February 2, 1992; February 8, 1992; & February 9, 1992
Charlie and Bill discuss the latest book Bill has assigned: On the Road – but actually, Bill really wants to check in with Charlie and discuss life. Bill gives Charlie Naked Lunch, a book about a heroin addict. Mary Elizabeth invites Charlie to the Sadie Hawkins dance, which is a dance where the girl invites the boy. Charlie explains how it happened: first, Mary Elizabeth was really pleased with the latest issue of Punk Rocky, in color thanks to Charlie’s Secret Santa gift. Then, at a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Craig was supposed to play Rocky but didn’t show up, so Charlie steps in instead. When Mary Elizabeth invites Charlie, he gets an erection. He admits that he wants Sam to be jealous, but Sam doesn’t get jealous—instead, she gives Charlie tips how to act around Mary Elizabeth.
February 15, 1992
At the dance, Charlie lets Mary Elizabeth talk about herself the whole time. He’s not ready to kiss her goodnight. Craig is too busy to go to the dance, and Sam is sad, which makes Charlie wish he could comfort her. Charlie’s sister has a huge fight with her boyfriend on the dance floor. After Charlie gets home, his sister tells him that she’s pregnant. Charlie agrees to drive her to the abortion clinic.
February 23, 1992
When Charlie is waiting for his sister in the abortion clinic, he remembers that she’s the one who taught him where babies come from. Charlie waits in the car and smokes. When his sister comes out, she says she’ll tell their parents about Charlie’s smoking, but Charlie reminds her that she won’t tell, and they laugh. When they get home, their parents ask them about where they’ve been all day, and Charlie’s sister covers up convincingly.
March 7, 1992 & March 28, 1992
Mary Elizabeth goes on another date with Charlie, and again, she talks the whole time. They see a foreign film, then drink brandy, listen to a Billie Holiday record, and make out from the waist up. In the next letter to his “friend,” a few weeks after that second date, Charlie discusses how much Mary Elizabeth talks. One time, he puts the phone down and walks away, and she doesn’t even notice. Charlie’s mother asks Charlie to invite Sam and Patrick over, but as soon as he does, Mary Elizabeth barges in and invites herself over for the dinner, too. Mary Elizabeth completely monopolizes the dinner conversation, which makes Charlie very upset, since the night was supposed to be just about Sam and Patrick. Even though his sister and his psychiatrist advise Charlie to be honest, he doesn’t tell Mary Elizabeth how upset he is.
April 18, 1992
Mary Elizabeth gives Charlies a book of e.e.cummings poems because she likes the book, and she makes Charlie parade his gratitude towards her. Charlie gets so annoyed that he returns the book to the bookstore, but he immediately feels so guilty that he buys the book back. He buys Mary Elizabeth a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, but she dismisses it patronizingly. A few days later, Charlie and his friends play Truth or Dare. Patrick dares Charlie to kiss the prettiest girl in the room, and Charlie kisses Sam. Mary Elizabeth stalks out of the room, and Sam follows, saying to Charlie, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” Charlie starts to cry. Patrick drives Charlie home, and Charlie tells him everything. When Charlie gets home, he lays on his bed, reads the e.e. cummings book, and listens to the Billie Holiday record.
April 26, 1992
None of Charlie’s friends are talking to him after the Truth or Dare debacle. He spends spring break reading Hamlet, the latest book Bill has given him. Charlie tries to apologize to Mary Elizabeth, but she tells him that it’s too late. Patrick tells Charlie he should stay away from them for a while. Charlie wants to figure out how to make this all go away, but he can’t. Instead, he smokes pot.
Analysis: Part 3
After the holidays, Charlie becomes much more cheery almost immediately. His tone in the letters in January is a bubbly, almost forced happiness that feels very deliberate and very artificial in contrast to the raw, depressed Charlie who ended the last letters in December. Charlie blames a lot of his problems on taking LSD at a New Year’s Eve party. Even though some of this might be true, Charlie is also not quite facing all of his problems just yet. The uptick in mood from his depressed state at the end of the year is a good thing, but it doesn’t yet feel permanent. Charlie is still hiding from his pain rather than confronting it head-on.
Read more about smoking, drinking, and drugs as symbols.
Charlie is a literal wallflower at the Sadie Hawkins dance. On the one hand, he does get invited to the dance, which means that a girl has picked him out of the crowd and singled him out as special. On the other hand, Charlie doesn’t yet feel comfortable enough in his own skin to dance, instead preferring to hang back and observe.
Charlie’s relationship with his sister becomes much stronger and deeper when she trusts him to help her with her abortion. One of Charlie’s greatest strengths as a symbolic wallflower is his capacity for tolerance and for his ability to be there for others in their moments of crisis. Even though Charlie’s sister was very angry with him when he told Bill about her abusive boyfriend, she now realizes that he has her best interests at heart and that she can rely on him. Charlie tells his “friend” about his sister’s abortion in a curious way. Instead of leading with this event in the very beginning of a letter and letting himself express all his existential and emotional concerns regarding this topic, Charlie brings up the abortion in the middle of a longer letter, after describing all the rest of the events at the homecoming dance. But just because Charlie doesn’t bring up a topic first doesn’t mean that it’s not important to him. Since Charlie tends to repress the most important aspects of his life, he rarely brings the most important things the most immediately to the surface.
Read more about the scene in which Charlie’s sister gets an abortion.
Many different relationships ravel and unravel simultaneously throughout The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Just as Charlie’s sister and her boyfriend break up as a result of her pregnancy, Charlie finds himself getting deeper into a relationship with Mary Elizabeth. At first, Charlie’s relationship with Mary Elizabeth seems like an exciting step forward in his process of growing up. When he first started high school, he didn’t speak to anyone; now, a beautiful senior has asked him to a dance and wants to have a relationship with him. Mary Elizabeth first notices Charlie when he dances on stage as Rocky in the routine staging of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Ironically, Charlie is standing in for Sam’s boyfriend, Craig, in the role, but instead of letting his acting give him the confidence to act on his love for Sam, Charlie gets seen as someone other than himself.
Read more about The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a motif.
Mary Elizabeth quickly considers Charlie to be her boyfriend. But even at the beginning of the relationship, there are problems. Mary Elizabeth seems to use Charlie more as a sounding board than as a sparring partner. She doesn’t pay any attention to what he wants. Instead, Mary Elizabeth likes Charlie because Charlie is such a good listener, and because he can act as a foil to reflect her brilliance. In some ways, the relationship is good for Charlie, since it provides him with comfort and stability. However, ultimately, the relationship pushes Charlie into the bad parts of being a wallflower. He’s not a person in the relationship, but rather, he’s Mary Elizabeth’s prop and puppet. Mary Elizabeth doesn’t physically abuse him, the way that Charlie’s sister’s boyfriend does, but she emotionally uses him. Mary Elizabeth isn’t a bad person, and she doesn’t treat Charlie horribly, but she also doesn’t let him be himself.
Charlie himself isn’t entirely blameless in the relationship, however. He becomes too comfortable in being a wallflower and doesn’t stand up for himself. But when he and his friends play Truth or Dare, Charlie’s inability to tell a white lie causes him to self-sabotage the relationship. However, in the long term, honesty is the best policy. Even though Charlie could have been kinder to Mary Elizabeth in the moment, he would not have been able to live with the lie. Charlie’s and Mary Elizabeth’s relationship would have persisted and perhaps even deepened if he had kissed Mary Elizabeth rather than Sam, but Charlie would have been denying himself his true feelings. Even though choosing Sam as the prettiest girl was the wrong choice from the standpoint of trying to maintain a functional relationship, Charlie’s honesty serves him very well in the long term. He is deeply sad and depressed when his friends won’t hang out with him anymore, but the blunt truth allows both himself and Mary Elizabeth to move forward with their lives. Lies and repression might help as band-aids in the moment, but in the long run, they will only cause more pain.
Craig is too busy to go to the dance, and Sam is sad, which makes Charlie wish he could comfort her. Charlie's sister has a huge fight with her boyfriend on the dance floor. After Charlie gets home, his sister tells him that she's pregnant. Charlie agrees to drive her to the abortion clinic.Does Charlie lose his virginity in Perks of Being a Wallflower? ›
Under their guidance, Charlie innocently takes his first baby steps into the world of drugs and loses his virginity to an overweight Buddhist vamp who introduces him to Billie Holiday and foreign films. In the end, Charlie is the one who straightens out their lives.Why did Charlie stop kissing Sam? ›
They start kissing and making out, and Charlie loves it, but when Sam starts to go further, Charlie abruptly pulls away. He's not sure what's wrong, but he's having a deep emotional reaction that he can't really process.Why does Charlie let Patrick kiss him? ›
In the same way that Sam kisses Charlie out of friendship at the Secret Santa party, Charlie lets Patrick kiss him because he understands that Patrick just needs someone to accept him for who he is.What mental illness did Charlie have in Perks of Being a Wallflower? ›
Return to The AAPP Perspective issue main page. After being hospitalized for the summer after his best friend commits suicide, Charlie who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is about to embark on his first year of high school.Why was Charlie in the hospital at the end of The Perks of Being a Wallflower? ›
In an epilogue, Charlie writes a final letter to his “friend,” dated two months later, saying that his parents had found him naked in a catatonic state on the couch. They took him to a mental hospital, where Charlie eventually realizes that Aunt Helen had sexually abused him, but that he had repressed these memories.Does Aunt Helen molest Charlie in the book? ›
We see a series of flashbacks about his admired Aunt Helen who died in a car crash on his seventh birthday. What Charlie does not realize until the end of the book is that his Aunt Helen molested him when he was a child.Does Charlie sleep with Sam in Perks of Being a Wallflower? ›
At the end of the novel, Sam and Charlie start to become sexually involved, and, for a brief moment, events seem to have lined up for Charlie in a moment of romantic glory.Does Charlie break up with Mary Elizabeth? ›
Mary Elizabeth breaks up with Charlie after a game of truth or dare where Charlie was asked to kiss the prettiest girl in the room. Instead of kissing Mary Elizabeth like everyone expected him to, he kissed Sam which caused Mary Elizabeth great sadness.What did Sam whisper to Patrick? ›
When he was dying in the hospital, he whispered "Tyger Tyger" to Patrick Jane in his last breath. Was that ever confirmed? In that episode what he last says isn't heard, left up to the audience. There is still 4%.
Charlie gives Sam a record that Aunt Helen had given him, and Sam whispers to Charlie that she loves him.What was the last thing Aunt Helen told Charlie? ›
The last thing that Aunt Helen had said to Charlie was that she was going to buy him his birthday present, so Charlie can't help but blame himself for her death. Charlie thinks that if his Aunt Helen hadn't loved him so much, she would still be alive.Why did Sam and Craig break up? ›
Sam breaks up with Craig after finding out he has been cheating on her. Graduation nears and Sam is accepted to Penn State. After her going away party, Charlie helps her pack.What does the tunnel symbolize in Perks of Being a Wallflower? ›
The tunnel into the city, though which Charlie, Patrick, and Sam often drive while listening to music, is a special place for them. Because it is a passage, the tunnel directly represents adolescence—the…What is the significance of the typewriter in Perks of Being a Wallflower? ›
Answer and Explanation: The typewriter is a gift to Charlie from Sam. It is her way of encouraging him to pursue his dreams of becoming a writer. She recognizes that Charlie has an innate ability to read people and find beauty in ordinary circumstances.Who was Charlie writing the letters to? ›
Charlie addresses his letters to an anonymous “friend” to give himself an outlet to open up and talk about his life.Why did Charlie like Aunt Helen? ›
Since Charlie represses the memories of his abuse for most of the novel, he generally thinks of Helen as the only person in his otherwise cold family to show Charlie affection, and he also loved that she gave him books to read.Is Charlie Autistic perks? ›
Answer and Explanation: Charlie does not have autism in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. An argument could be made that he might be on the spectrum due to his intelligence versus his social interactions, however his growth throughout the book suggest these qualities are situational rather than character traits.Do Charlie's parents know he was molested? ›
Charlie's sister tells him that Sam was known as the “blow queen” during their sophomore year. Charlie says that he finally found out the bad thing that had happened to his Aunt Helen. She'd been molested by a family friend as a child. She told her parents, but they didn't believe her.What does Charlie say at the end of The Perks of Being a Wallflower? ›
And things are looking up; Charlie tells us that although he was terrified of freshman year of high school, he's actually looking forward to his sophomore year. He writes, "I'm not sure if I will have the time to write any more letters because I might be too busy trying to 'participate'" (Epilogue.
Charlie is not schizophrenic. He is not given a specific diagnosis in the book, but based on his symptoms, he most likely suffers from anxiety and depression. His anxiety is at least partially due to childhood trauma.What did Charlie do to Helen? ›
She contracted and almost died of pneumonia one night when Charlie locked her out in a snowstorm, and she died shortly afterward of “heart troubles.” Fitzgerald leaves some ambiguity surrounding the extent to which Charlie may have been responsible for Helen's death.Why does Charlie cry as he goes through the tunnel with Sam and Patrick? ›
But mostly, I was crying because I was suddenly very aware of the fact that it was me standing up in that tunnel with the wind over my face. Not caring if I saw downtown. Not even thinking about it. Because I was standing in the tunnel.What is the age gap between Charlie and Sam? ›
Answer and Explanation: Sam is a senior in high school and eighteen years old in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. She is three years older than Charlie, the protagonist, who as a freshmen in high school is fifteen years old.Does Charlie ever sleep with Rose? ›
Charlie gets drunk and sleeps with Rose on her birthday. Rose says she knows it's no big deal.Did Sam actually love Charlie? ›
She quickly becomes very close with Charlie, who looks up to her and loves her. She is also friends with Bob and Alice.Does Charlie ever marry the waitress? ›
Is Charlie Day married to the waitress in real life? Yep! The waitress (no, her real name has never been revealed) in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is played by none other than Ellis herself. She shares scenes with Day on the long-running sitcom, as his character Charlie Kelly is obsessed with her.What did Mary Elizabeth give Charlie? ›
It all starts when Mary Elizabeth gives Charlie an E.E. Cummings book. You see, she got it for Charlie because she really liked it, not because she thought he would like it. He shows it to everyone even though he says, "I wasn't grateful at all.Does Charlie get remarried? ›
In Season 8, they get married and visit Paris for their honey moon. Charlie died there. It was revealed at his funeral that Rose caught him cheating on her and at a train station, he "accidentally" fell in front of an on coming train. Alan, Evelyn and Berta suspect her of murder, but don't do anything about it.Did Patrick and Brad break up? ›
Lonely after his breakup with Brad, Patrick quits playing Frank 'N Furter, starts drinking, doing more drugs, finding random hookups, and… kissing Charlie. Eventually he reaches a saturation point with all his self-destructive behavior and stops—cold turkey.
Charlie's relationship to Sam and Craig's relationship is complicated. On the one hand, Charlie wants what will make Sam happy, and therefore, he's sad when she and Craig break up, because he can see the pain that this causes her, and the betrayal she feels in learning that Craig has been cheating on her.What does Charlie reveal to Sam after the party? ›
Long, traumatic story short: Charlie witnessed a date rape while hiding in the pile of coats. But it's only now, when he tells Sam and Patrick about what he saw, that he realizes that Dave raped the girl.What is Charlie's last secret Santa gift to Patrick? ›
All the friends sit around and drink brandy and reveal who was whose Secret Santa. For Patrick's final gift, Charlie reads a poem. He doesn't know who wrote it. It's called "A Person, A Paper, A Promise," and you should definitely read it for yourself.What secret does Charlie keep from his sister? ›
Charlie keeps the pregnancy a secret for her. In the film, Candaces pregnancy and abortion was not included and was cut from the final film.What did Sam wrote in his letter to Charlie? ›
The letter was addressed to Charley. In the letter Sam had informed Charley that he was living on the third level. He had also told Charley and his wife to keep looking for the third level.What was Aunt Helen's little secret? ›
History. Aunt Helen was sexually abused by her father's friend when she was young. The results of that led her to abuse other children like Charlie.How did Michael's death affect Charlie? ›
In the letter that begins the book, Charlie describes what is was like at school after everyone found out about Michael's suicide, and the guidance counselors suggested that Michael had “problems at home.” Confronting the loss of his only friend prompts Charlie's exploration of his own mental health and home life ...Did Aunt Helen kiss Charlie? ›
She then kisses Charlie, so they can be sure the first person that kisses him really loves him. And she does. Even the heartwarming kiss can be bittersweet in the sense that Sam had that chance at a first kiss with someone she loves stolen from her, and she doesn't want Charlie to experience that.Who is suicidal in Perks of Being a Wallflower? ›
Michael was Charlie's best friend who committed suicide at the end of 8th grade.Was Charlie's sister pregnant? ›
Answer and Explanation: Yes, Charlie's sister was pregnant in the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Mary Elizabeth breaks up with Charlie after a game of truth or dare where Charlie was asked to kiss the prettiest girl in the room. Instead of kissing Mary Elizabeth like everyone expected him to, he kissed Sam which caused Mary Elizabeth great sadness.Did Charlie and Sam sleep together? ›
Sam and Charlie end up presumably having sex before she leaves for college because of this equality and him not having such an alarming memory of being abused by Aunt Helen.Did Craig hook up with Naomi again? ›
June 30, 2022: Craig Conover says reconnecting with Naomie Olindo showed him he's "not into this anymore" During an episode of Southern Charm, Conover confirmed that his Vegas hook up with Olindo gave him closure on their relationship.Does Craig still love Naomi? ›
“I still love the girl to death. She's great.” The duo's ups and downs continued on season 6 of Southern Charm, but outside of the show, they were able to make their way back to being friends in time. Both Conover and Olindo are set to reunite on screen for season 8 of the series, which will premiere in 2022.Did Aunt Helen abuse Charlie? ›
Charlie concludes in his final letters in Perks that he was sexually abused in early childhood by his Aunt Helen, who is now deceased.Is Charlie Autistic Wallflower? ›
Answer and Explanation: Charlie does not have autism in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. An argument could be made that he might be on the spectrum due to his intelligence versus his social interactions, however his growth throughout the book suggest these qualities are situational rather than character traits.Was Sam abused in Perks of Being a Wallflower? ›
Sam was sexually abused as a child, which might help explain some of the deep bond that Charlie feels towards her, even if this bond is subconscious for almost the entire novel. Like Patrick, Sam gets betrayed by her romantic partner in the novel, when it is revealed that Craig has cheated on her multiple times.What happened to Charlie at the end of perks? ›
Answer and Explanation: Charlie does not die in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but he is admitted to a mental institution for around two months. At the end of the book, Charlie is found in a catatonic state by his parents; even after his father hits him, he shows no response.What happened to Michael in Perks of Being a Wallflower? ›
Michael, who was Charlie's friend, had committed suicide (killed himself) but the reason behind it is never explicitly said in the novel. The school counselor guessed that he might have had "a problem at home" but nobody to talk to, so he felt desperate and lonely.What did Aunt Helen do to Charlie? ›
We see a series of flashbacks about his admired Aunt Helen who died in a car crash on his seventh birthday. What Charlie does not realize until the end of the book is that his Aunt Helen molested him when he was a child. We also find out that Charlie's Aunt Helen was molested by a family friend a long time ago.
When Craig confesses that he's been cheating on her with multiple girls, she instantly walks out on him. That's more than Charlie's sister can say for herself. And Sam is mature about the whole thing, to boot: "She wasn't bitter.Why wasn t Charlie happy about Craig and Sam breaking up? ›
Charlie's relationship to Sam and Craig's relationship is complicated. On the one hand, Charlie wants what will make Sam happy, and therefore, he's sad when she and Craig break up, because he can see the pain that this causes her, and the betrayal she feels in learning that Craig has been cheating on her.