The story, "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell takes place in Omaha, Nebraska in 1986 that covers one year of Eleanor and Park's lives. Eleanor, her family, and stepdad just moved to Omaha. Eleanor feels out of place in her family and on top of that her stepdad does not like her. He is very strict for no reason. On her first day of high school she has to sit with a boy, named Park, on the bus. Day by Day they become friends and then they fall for each other. Eleanor knows she can not be in a relationship because her stepdad will not allow her, but behind his back she dates Park. They fall in love and right when she is finally happy, her stepdad finds out about them. Which leads to her stepdad kicking her out and making her live with her uncle, who lives states away. This event leads to her being miles away from Park, which leads to them never talking again.
Eleanor- Eleanor is one of the narrators in the story. In the story she is a teenager in high school. In the beginning of the story Eleanor is very private about her home life and does not open up to anyone. She is very quiet, shy, and cares what people think about her. But after she meets Park, she slowly changes. Surprisingly, she starts to open up to him and let him into her world. Throughout the story she learns how mean people can be and she learns how it feels to fall in love with someone and then how hard it is to have to leave them.
Park- Park is the other narrator in the story. In the story he is a teenager in high school. You probably would not consider Park a normal teenage boy. He is not into sports, partying, and girls. He would rather stay home and read comic books or listening to music. Throughout the story Park is always trying to prove something to his dad. Whether it is proving that he can drive stick shift or that he can keep a relationship. He is always trying to prove something. When it comes to Eleanor he is very protective. He would do anything for her, even fight his best friend.
"Eleanor hadn't written him a letter. It was a postcard. GREETINGS FROM THE LAND OF 10,000 LAKES it said on the front...He sat up. He smiled. Something heavy and winged took off from his chest. Eleanor hadn't written him a letter, it was a postcard. Just three words long" (Rowell 324).
This quote is very important to the story. In the quote it says, "something heavy and winged took off from his chest", I believe this quote is telling the readers that Park finally let go, and stopped holding on to the past. He came to realization that she was not coming back. It is important to the story because throughout the whole story Park was the one who always said "I love you" and always took their relationship really seriously but this quote shows how their relationship has come to an end. This quote concluded the story and their relationship.
The theme of this story is, do not judge a book by its cover. When Park first saw Eleanor step onto the bus he judged her by her looks. He said, "She had on a plaid shirt, a man's shirt, with half a dozen weird necklaces hanging around her neck and scarves wrapped around her wrists. She reminded Park of a scarecrow..." (Rowell 8). Park judged her before he said one word to her. He did not know that she could not afford new clothes, or that she was self-conscious about herself. He did not know that he was going to fall in love with her personality and her inner body.
One of the most important symbols in this book would have to be the comic books. The comic books represented communication in the beginning of the story. For the first week they never really talked to each other. They both just read the comic books in silent on the bus. That was how they communicated. Whenever one was done reading a page they would nod at the other asking if they could turn the page. The comic books not only represented communication but it also lead to Eleanor and Park talking to each other. The first time they said something to each other was Park asking if Eleanor liked the comic book they were reading.
Anticlimactic- Eleanor said, "'What if they're not home? God, that would be anticlimactic'" (Rowell 311).
Definition- lacking climax, disappointing or ironically insignificant following of impressive foreshadowing
Discernible- The author stated, "There was no place from her neck to her knees where she had any discernible infrastructure" (Rowell 234).
Definition- able to be discerned; perceptible
This link provides you with more information about the setting and time period the book takes place in.
This link provides you with more information about what kinds of comic books they read.