June 2, 1992
Charlie's friends are in the midst of their last week of school, and they are all very excited for prom. Sam has decided she will attend Penn State in the fall, which requires her to leave in June for a summer program. Charlie's sister is attending Sarah Lawrence, Mary Elizabeth is attending Berkeley, Alice is going to New York University, and Patrick is going to the University of Washington. Charlie very much enjoyed The Fountainhead, and he quotes and reflects on the following excerpt: "I would die for you. But I won't live for you" (396).
June 5, 1992
Charlie has been enjoying the last few days with his friends before they graduate. He tells a story about Patrick, Sam, and himself running up a giant hill on the golf course, chasing the sunset. Later that night was their last performance in Rocky Horror, and Patrick decided to reprise his role as Frank 'N Furter. Charlie invited his sister and her boyfriend to watch, which they did, much to his surprise. After the last show, there was an after-party at Craig's house. Charlie sat by the record player and DJed, just enjoying listening to the others discuss their futures.
June 9, 1992
Now that prom has arrived, none of Charlie's friends are in school. He has no one to talk to at school, and he confesses that the only person who is there to listen to him his psychiatrist. He's starting to get tired of meeting with him, especially "because he keeps asking me questions about when I was younger, and they're starting to get weird" (405). Charlie enjoys seeing his sister's boyfriend pick her up in his Buick, and he thinks about his friends and hopes that they are enjoying themselves.
June 10, 1992
Charlie is in the midst of finals season, and he asks Bill if he should write an essay about The Fountainhead. Bill doesn't want to make Charlie's schedule any busier, so instead he invites Charlie over to his town house for lunch with him and his girlfriend. Charlie is very excited by this prospect.
June 13, 1992
Charlie recounts information from prom in this letter. Sam and Craig have broken up because Craig had been cheating on Sam from the start. Peter, Mary Elizabeth's new boyfriend, knew about this dishonesty but did not realize how severe it had been; however, when he overhears Sam talking about the future, Peter knows that he needs to step in. He forces Craig to say something, and Sam walks away crying. A shouting match breaks out between Craig and Peter, and Patrick and Charlie drive Peter home. During the drive, Patrick and Charlie learn all of the details from Peter. Charlie isn't happy at all that Sam and Craig have broken up; he is only worried about Sam being hurt.
Charlie finds it hard to go to Bill's the next morning because he hasn't heard any information from Patrick. Charlie meets Bill's girlfriend, and they all have lunch together. After they have finished, Bill thanks Charlie for being such a pleasure to teach. Bill praises Charlie for his exceptional work, and he says that Charlie is one of the most gifted people he's ever known. Bill offers to help Charlie whenever he needs it. Charlie doesn't quiet know how to respond, but he thanks Bill for all of his help and support over the year. As Charlie returns home, he thinks about the word "special" and how the last person to tell him he was special was his Aunt Helen.
June 16, 1992
Charlie rides the bus home on his last day of school, and he sits in the middle. He thinks about how in middle school everyone sat together because no one was segregated into different social groups. Charlie's brother has returned for his sister's graduation, and Charlie tells the story of the sports anchorman mentioning the brother's name. Charlie barely avoids the awkward answer of how he met the sportscaster. Charlie's grandfather is in town for the graduation as well, and Charlie's brother skillfully keeps him from embarrassing the family with inappropriate and racist comments. Charlie's dad videotapes the entire ceremony, and the whole family cheers loudly as Charlie's sister gives the address as the salutatorian.
The family returns home for a graduation party, and Charlie thinks about Sam, Patrick, and his other friends. Midway through the party, Charlie receives a call from them, and he wants to visit them right away. His father asks him to wait until all of the family members leave. Finally, at the end of the night Charlie is able to meet his friends at a nightclub, and Sam grabs Charlie's hand and takes him out onto the dance floor. They dance close together, and Charlie hopes that time would stand still in this moment.
After the club, they go to Peter's apartment, and Charlie gives everyone presents. He gives Sam and Patrick his own copies of his favorite novels, split evenly between the two, because they are his favorite people. Sam takes Charlie into the kitchen because he has started to cry, and she comforts him by telling him how much they will talk while she is away at Penn State. Suddenly, Charlie realizes that it is a school night and that he needs to sober up. He has several cups of coffee and is able to drive home, but when he is home he is unable to sleep. He feels miserable during his last day of school, but he is happy that the year is over and that he will be able to spend time with his friends.
Charlie's therapist has begun to ask "weird" questions about Charlie's childhood, which hint that Charlie's inherent darkness will soon be revealed. There has been a lot of foreshadowing about the extent to which a childhood event has affected Charlie and his ability to live his life. Given the heavy discussions of sexual abuse throughout the novel, it is easy to infer that Charlie may have dealt with a similar situation in his own past.
Charlie's development has been enhanced by the novels he has read throughout the book. Nowhere is his development more evident than in his thoughts about The Fountainhead. Through the lens of the main character, Howard Roark, Charlie is able to reflect on participating and what it means to live for oneself. He even reads in a more active manner, seeking to be a filter rather than a sponge. He does not want to digest everything that Ayn Rand says as fact; rather, he wants to form his own opinions about the material.
Bill's role as a mentor has been instrumental in Charlie's growth during the year. He has been a person Charlie can turn to for conversation, but he has also provided Charlie with a place of psychological refuge that he can access at any moment. Charlie is able to escape the bad parts of his life through the books that Bill assigns to him. For example, when things are really bad over Christmas, Charlie reads The Catcher in the Rye three times in a row. The lives of the characters and the pages of the books are open to him whenever he needs a friend, regardless of where his real life friends are.
Without seeing his friends at school, Charlie does not have nearly as much fun, but fortunately Bill has picked up some of the slack. He invites Charlie over to his apartment for dinner, and while Charlie is there Bill tells him how special he is. He wants to make sure that Charlie is aware of his value and his abilities to contribute to society; in fact, he is worried that Charlie has never been complimented in this manner before. The support that Bill, Sam, and Patrick give to Charlie shows the lack of support that Charlie's family offers. Despite occasional moments of warmth from his individual family members, Charlie has never been able to seek refuge from his family.
One aspect of Charlie's writing that reinforces this idea is his choice of whom he names. It is easier for the reader of the novel, and also the reader of the letters, to relate to people who are named. For characters such as Sam, Patrick, Bill, Mary Elizabeth, and the other friends, the reader can formulate extremely clear scenes and personalities. Even though Charlie provides anecdotes about his family members, these stories feel much less personal and much more distant because these characters remain unnamed throughout the entire novel. This distance between the reader and the characters indicates the distance that Charlie may sense between his family members and himself.