The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Charlie’s Mom Character Analysis

Charlie describes his mom as a quiet and beautiful person who rarely opens up, perhaps because she was physically abused by her father as a child. When she became pregnant with Charlie’s older brother, she dropped out of college to become a stay-at-home mom. Charlie’s mom gives him a collection of her favorite books for his birthday, and those shared stories establish a stronger bond between them. Though Charlie opens up more to her near the end of the story, it is likely because of his mom’s quietness and his father’s tendency to hide most emotions that Charlie represses his feelings and memories rather than talking about them.

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

The The Perks of Being a Wallflower quotes below are all either spoken by Charlie’s Mom or refer to Charlie’s Mom. 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 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 Mom Character Timeline in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The timeline below shows where the character Charlie’s Mom appears in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
...then his sister, who is “pretty and 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)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Healing and Self-discovery through Literature and Writing Theme Icon
...reader that he saw his brother play football on TV, and it was a special moment for his family. His mom cried, his dad put his arm around his mom, and... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Healing and Self-discovery through Literature and Writing Theme Icon
...comprehension skills, and asks him to write an essay on To Kill a Mockingbird. Charlie’s mom isn’t sure why Charlie can’t just take more advanced classes rather than doing extra work... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Healing and Self-discovery through Literature and Writing Theme Icon
...suggests that Charlie work on increasing 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... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
...He admits that he doesn’t understand his parents but loves them very much because his mom takes him to the cemetery to visit the people she loves, and his dad trusts... (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
...again, but she argues that she loves him and that he’s her “whole world.” Charlie’s mom tells her to never say that about anyone again, and Charlie explains that because she... (full context)
Part 2 
Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
Adolescence and Transformation Theme Icon
...was also a college athlete like his brother but had to leave college when Charlie’s mom became pregnant with his older brother. His dad tells stories about his “glory days,” and... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
...he tells his parents that he can’t make it home for Thanksgiving, which upsets his mom. She takes Charlie clothes shopping and “worries out loud” the entire time, but Charlie explains... (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Healing and Self-discovery through Literature and Writing Theme Icon
On Christmas, Charlie is feeling more anxious, but he doesn’t want to tell his mom about it. Wishing Michael and Aunt Helen were around, he admits he doesn't like his... (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... (full context)
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Masculinity and Violence Theme Icon
...her looks so much, and he tells her that she’s being a “bitchy dyke.” Charlie’s mom’s response is to tell him not to use that language in front of Charlie. Charlie’s... (full context)
Part 4
Trauma, Abuse, and Mental Health Theme Icon
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Adolescence and Transformation Theme Icon
...the party, and everyone complements his skills with playing the right music at the right moment. He considers deejaying to make money for college, though his brother told him that if... (full context)
...they leave. He also says he earned straight A’s for the entire year, and his mom hangs his report card on their refrigerator. (full context)