The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Charlie’s dad was also physically abused as a child, and that experience made him strongly averse to physical punishment of any kind with his own children. Despite his commitment to nonviolence, however, Charlie’s dad still subscribes to an emotionally distant and often aggressive brand of masculinity, where anger is the only acceptable emotion to display. His behavior makes Charlie and his older brother feel that crying in public is socially unacceptable, although Charlie remembers walking into the kitchen once and catching sight of his dad weeping profusely. Once a college baseball star, Charlie’s dad dropped out of college because he and Charlie’s mom became pregnant with Charlie’s brother. Charlie’s dad seems to live vicariously through his oldest son’s athletic accomplishments.

Charlie’s Dad Quotes in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The The Perks of Being a Wallflower quotes below are all either spoken by Charlie’s Dad or refer to Charlie’s Dad. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Gallery Books edition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower published in 1999.
Part 1 Quotes

I walked into the kitchen, and I saw my dad making a sandwich…and crying. He was crying harder than even my mom. And I couldn’t believe it. When he finished making his sandwich, he put away the things in the refrigerator and stopped crying and wiped his eyes and saw me. Then, he walked up, patted my shoulder, and said, “This is our little secret, okay, champ?”

“Okay,” I said.

Related Characters: Charlie (speaker), Charlie’s Dad
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2  Quotes

Sometimes, I look at my parents now and wonder what happened to make them the way they are. And I wonder what will happen to my sister when her boyfriend graduates from law school. And what my brother’s face will look like on a football card, or what it will look like if it is never on a football card. My dad played college baseball for two years, but he had to stop when Mom got pregnant with my brother. That’s when he started working at the office.

Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:
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Charlie’s Dad Character Timeline in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The timeline below shows where the character Charlie’s Dad appears in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
...him first to stop crying, and then to “get it out of [his] system before Dad came home.” (full context)
...mean to boys,” is the middle child. His mom cries while watching TV, and his dad “works a lot and is an honest man.” (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
Healing and Self-discovery through Literature and Writing Theme Icon
Adolescence and Transformation Theme Icon
...was for a long time. Once, he asked in front of Aunt Helen, and his dad slapped him when the question made Helen cry. Helen told Charlie’s dad never to do... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Healing and Self-discovery through Literature and Writing Theme Icon
...on TV, and it was a special moment for his family. His mom cried, his dad put his arm around his mom, and his sister smiled, even though she and her... (full context)
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Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
...liked the tape. Charlie hopes that this means he’ll eventually be good at dating. Charlie’s dad thinks his sister’s boyfriend is “soft” and suspects that’s why she is mean to him. (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
...football game on TV and Charlie’s sister’s boyfriend compliments Charlie’s brother. After he leaves, Charlie’s dad says that the boyfriend is “becoming a fine young man who could carry himself.” Charlie... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Healing and Self-discovery through Literature and Writing Theme Icon
...his vocabulary. While at the dentist’s office with his mother, Charlie thinks about how his dad occasionally tells his mother that she’s beautiful, but “she cannot hear him.” According to Charlie,... (full context)
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Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
...watching the last episode of M*A*S*H with his family. After the episode, Charlie finds his father crying alone in the kitchen, and when he sees Charlie, he tells him that it’s... (full context)
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Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
...explains that because she chooses her battles carefully, Charlie’s mom always gets her way. Charlie’s dad gives his sister a “rare kiss” on the forehead and leaves to confront the boyfriend’s... (full context)
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Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
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Charlie explains that his parents never hit their children. Many years ago, when his dad slapped him after making Aunt Helen cry, his dad apologized and told Charlie about how... (full context)
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...God and hopes he isn’t letting Him down. Then, Charlie transitions abruptly to describing his dad’s discussion with his sister’s boyfriend’s parents. Charlie asks his dad if he thinks the boyfriend’s... (full context)
Part 2 
Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
Adolescence and Transformation Theme Icon
...sports team, but, as he says, the sports he played made him too aggressive. Charlie’s dad was also a college athlete like his brother but had to leave college when Charlie’s... (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
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Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
Charlie thinks about spending holidays with his mom’s family. His grandfather tends to offend most of the family and make racist comments, and Charlie’s brother is... (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Healing and Self-discovery through Literature and Writing Theme Icon
At dinner on Christmas Eve, Charlie and his mom and sister wait for his dad to return home after picking up his brother. Charlie’s mom notices that he looks sad... (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
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Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
The next morning, his family opens presents and his dad really likes his copy of M*A*S*H, which makes Charlie happy. On the way to their... (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
...in Korea and her second husband was abusive and beat her and her children (Charlie’s dad and Charlie’s Aunt Rebecca) for seven years until Charlie’s great uncle found out about it.... (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
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Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
Adolescence and Transformation Theme Icon
...experiences. He writes that she was molested as a child and when she told her father, Charlie’s grandfather, he didn’t believe her, so the abuse continued. Aunt Helen had drinking and... (full context)
Part 3
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Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
Adolescence and Transformation Theme Icon
...happy for the applause and glad his family wasn’t there to see him, especially his dad. Later, Charlie tries to ask his sister for dating advice, but she is distracted and... (full context)
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Adolescence and Transformation Theme Icon
After Charlie’s parents find out he’s dating Mary Elizabeth, Charlie’s dad has a conversation with him about safe sex and consent. Afterwards Charlie remembers that when... (full context)
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Healing and Self-discovery through Literature and Writing Theme Icon
...“overrated.” Charlie says that he “put [his] feelings away somewhere after that.” He tells his dad why he’s avoiding Mary Elizabeth, and his dad tells him to “be a man.” Charlie... (full context)
Part 4
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The next morning, Charlie’s family has a brunch to celebrate his sister’s graduation. Charlie’s grandfather immediately begins making racist comments as soon as they arrive at the school, and Charlie’s... (full context)
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Adolescence and Transformation Theme Icon
...him over, but he can’t leave until his relatives do. Once they finally leave, Charlie’s father thanks him for staying and gives him twenty dollars and his car keys. On his... (full context)