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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Part 3, Chapter 11 Summary

How It All Goes Down

April 18, 1992

  • Charlie's opener is a doozy: "I have made a terrible mess of things" (3.11.2).
  • 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. Don't get me wrong. I acted like I was. But I wasn't. To tell you the truth, I was starting to get mad" (3.11.5).
  • Later, he returns the book to the book store. But then he feels guilty and goes to buy it back.
  • He gives Mary Elizabeth a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, because it's very special to him. 
  • She doesn't seem very grateful, only saying, "that's original" (we can almost feel the sarcasm in that one). Charlie seems to be offended that she's not more excited about it, even though she really has no personal connection to the book.
  • A few days later, after Rocky Horror, the gang gets together to play truth or dare. Ooh la la.
  • Patrick dares Charlie to "kiss the prettiest girl in the room" (3.11.23).
  • Charlie, being Charlie (i.e., nakedly honest at the worst of times), kisses Sam instead of Mary Elizabeth. Oh, Charlie.
  • Um, yowza. The room is so silent, you could hear a gnat burp. 
  • Needless to say, Mary Elizabeth is upset. She runs out of the room. 
  • Sam isn't too happy either, and she doesn't mince words: "What the fuck is wrong with you?" (3.11.30).
  • This makes Charlie cry. Not because he embarrassed Mary Elizabeth in front of everyone, but because Sam is mad at him.
  • Patrick takes Charlie home, where he puts on the Billie Holiday record and starts reading the E.E. Cummings book, both things Mary Elizabeth gave him.
  • He stares out the window for a long time. "Not feeling anything. Not hearing the record. For hours" (3.11.48).
  • The letter ends with a troubling statement: "Something is really wrong with me. And I don't know what it is" (3.11.49).
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