Study Guide

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Part 1, Chapter 1

By Stephen Chbosky

Part 1, Chapter 1

August 25, 1991

  • Charlie is writing letters to someone he doesn't know. These letters aren't addressed to us, so we feel a little strange reading them. But we have no choice. The whole book is made up of just that—letters from Charlie.
  • It seems that Charlie is trying to cope with the suicide of his friend, Michael.
  • (Grammar alert: We wouldn't normally put a comma after the word "friend," because that would mean Charlie only has one friend, Michael. But you know, we're pretty sure Charlie really did only have that one friend.)
  • After a school announcement informs Charlie that Michael has died, Charlie's older brother picks him up early from school and takes him to McDonald's. 
  • The school guidance counselor helps students affected by the suicide, but it's not super successful with our boy. Charlie starts screaming at the guidance counselor and crying.
  • Charlie attends Michael's funeral.
  • In the last part of his first letter, Charlie introduces us to his family. Check out the "Characters" page to get the dish on them.
  • The letter concludes as Charlie tells us (well, he's not talking to us, but we're reading it anyway) that he starts high school tomorrow—and that he's terrified. 

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