Not Love at First Sight, but Something Even Better
In Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, these two teens want nothing more than to be together, and they will do anything to do so. Through all loves ups and downs, this couple found a way to keep their relationship going strong, and made every moment count. Park is a form of love for Eleanor, as she is for him, and both have been through a countless amount of struggles in their life.
Eleanor and Park should doubtlessly be the core novel of ENG1D1 because, the characters are unique, the symbolism is deep, and it teaches us many great themes and life lessons.
Firstly, in the story Eleanor and Park, all the characters are unique in their own way, especially this couple. They do not care what people think of their relationship, and ignore all the rumours and negativity thrown towards them. Considering all the gossip about Eleanor and Park at school, no one would have ever expected an odd, red-headed, white, stocky girl, to end up with a good-looking, asian, comic-loving boy, in the town of Omaha.
Something that makes Eleanor so strong is her family. Eleanor’s parents play a huge role in her life, however not in a good way. Her Stepdad Richie, is abusive and Eleanor is afraid to step foot in her own home, as her mother barely supports her. “Eleanor’s family had been messed up even before Richie came around and sent everything straight to hell.”(Rowell 123) This quote shows that Eleanor’s family has always been messed up and now that Richie is with them, it is even worse. At all these times, Park comforts her.
These characters show us how difficult times can get, and that someone will always lend a helping hand, or a shoulder to cry on. Considering this, it is a valid reason why we should use this as the core novel.Secondly, the symbolism of the novel has an enormous effect on the story-line. At the beginning of the relationship, Eleanor and Park had a different way of communication. Through comic strips and mixtapes. “When Park got on the bus, he’d set the comics and Smith tapes on the seat next to him, so they’d just be waiting for her. So he wouldn’t have to say anything.”(Rowell 51) They linked through the comics that Park read down in his lap and the songs he shared with Eleanor. Therefore the comics are a symbol, and without them I do not think this couple would have come this far.
Another symbol that I found was Parks fathers manual truck. Parks dad is always concerned about teaching his son clichéd “manly” things, so in their household, learning to drive a stick represents the coming of a man. Although for Park, this task is not at easy as it seems and he is not too ambitious to complete it. However, Park does learn how to drive a stick eventually, as this also represents the trust Eleanor soon gains for him. These symbols show us how important all the small things in our life can really mean.Lastly, another reason we should read this book is because it teaches us great life lessons. One of those lessons I pulled out of the story is that you should never change who you truly are for others. This is very important because hiding your inner-self, should never be the answer, and one shall always be confident in their own skin. Eleanor definitely did not change who she was for Park, and Park accepted her in this manner. “Eleanor was right: She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something. (Rowell 165)”. This quote thought out by Park shows us that he is very accepting and that looks do not matter.
Next, this novel shows how friendship can change over time and experience, from the growth of the relationship of Eleanor and Park. This relationship steadily inclines from reading comics over Parks shoulder, to exchanging mixtapes, and holding hands. Relationships are not easy and take time, and so they did exactly that. Eleanor and Park did everything that they were comfortable with and did not force eachother into different situations. This shows patience and respect for one another, and we should learn from these actions.In conclusion, Eleanor and Park should doubtlessly be the core novel of ENG1D1 because, the characters are unique, the symbolism is deep, and it teaches us many great themes and life lessons. Eleanor is able to escape all her troubles with Parks help, and he can escape his also. Overall this book is very inspirational, and I have learned and realized many important things. One can always rely on others, but always be true to yourself.