Charlie goes on his first date with Mary Elizabeth, a friend of Sam and Patrick’s. She is intelligent, rebellious, and opinionated, and it is with her that Charlie explores his sexuality for the first time. Mary Elizabeth takes pride in being interested in the trappings of counter-culture (like punk rock music and edgy hairstyles), but also enjoys the comforts provided by her wealthy parents. Although Mary Elizabeth thinks of herself as Charlie’s girlfriend, he doesn’t find himself very attracted to her or even like her all the much, but their relationship drags on because he is afraid to tell her that he doesn’t want to date her. This comes to a head when, in a game of truth or dare, Charlie is dared to kiss the prettiest girl in the room, and he kisses Sam instead of Mary Elizabeth—a social misstep that puts him at odds with his entire friend group. Charlie’s brief but overwhelming relationship with Mary Elizabeth teaches him how lousy relationships can be when one doesn’t fully participate in them. Though their relationship ended badly, he and Mary Elizabeth remain friends at the end of the novel.


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The The Perks of Being a Wallflower quotes below are all either spoken by Mary Elizabeth or refer to Mary Elizabeth. 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:
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).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.

I don"t know what it was, and I know we didn"t really accomplish

anything, but it felt great to sit there and talk about our place in things. It was like when Bill told me to “participate.” I went to the homecoming dance like I told you before, but this was much more fun. It was especially fun to think that people all over the world were having similar conversations in their equivalent of the Big Boy.


Related Characters:Charlie (speaker), Sam, Patrick, Mary Elizabeth
Related Symbols:Books
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