Study Guide

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Family

By Stephen Chbosky

Family

Part 1, Chapter 6
Charlie

A lot of kids at school hate their parents. Some of them got hit. And some of them got caught in the middle of wrong lives. (1.6.48)

Charlie is still thinking about his dad's "There are other people who have it a lot worse" (1.1.22) philosophy. For all of Charlie's griping, at least he can keep things in perspective.

Part 1, Chapter 8
Charlie

Sam then gave me a hug, and it was strange because my family doesn't hug a lot except my Aunt Helen. (1.8.10)

Charlie talks about his Aunt Helen a lot in Perks. Once we find out that she molested him, all of these smaller comments start to make a lot more sense.

Part 2, Chapter 6
Charlie

[Mary Elizabeth] says that my sister is a tease and a snob. I told her not to say anything like that about my sister again. (2.2.6)

The most recent thing Charlie's sister said to him was "You've always been a freak" (1.8.58), but Charlie still defends her. Is that family? Or is that just Charlie?

"I'm thankful that my brother played football on television so nobody fought." (2.6.19)

Charlie has the uncanny ability to be brutally honest when necessary, pretty much shutting up his entire family. Is he only able to be this upfront when dealing with his family?

I walked up to my grandfather and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. He wiped my lip print off with his palm and gave me a look. He doesn't like the boys in the family to touch him. (2.6.23)

Maybe this is why Charlie's father doesn't show affection: his dad isn't the most affectionate guy on the planet either. What will Charlie be like as an adult?

I am very interested and fascinated by how everyone loves each other, but no one really likes each other. (2.6.3)

Charlie just wrote Webster's next definition of "family."

I don't know if it's better to be close with your daughter or make sure that she has a better life than you. (2.6.17)

Charlie feels like his grandfather had to make this choice, but do the two have to be mutually exclusive?

Part 4, Chapter 9
Charlie

Before she left, she hugged me again. Two in one day! I really do love my sister. Especially when she's nice. (4.9.7)

Charlie's family shows physical affection so rarely that two hugs in one day ends up getting an exclamation point. And exclamation points from Charlie are a big stinkin' deal.

Part 4, Chapter 10
Charlie

My mom made my favorite [lunch] because I think she knew how sad I would be with everyone gone. (4.10.3)

Charlie's mom also has her own way of showing affection. There's a lot of non-verbal, non-physical communication going on in this family. And if it works, it works.

Part 4, Chapter 13
Charlie

Everyone said how much they loved my sister's speech even if they didn't. (4.13.60)

Charlie's family may not be affectionate, but at least they're supportive.

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