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Eleanor & Park
Transcript of Eleanor & Park
By Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor & Park is the first young adult novel written by Rainbow Rowell, published in 2013. The story follows dual narratives by Eleanor and Park, two misfits who meet on a school bus on Eleanor's first day at the school and gradually connect through comic books and mix tapes of '80s music, sparking a love story.
Whip-smart, brave, and definitely not "nice", Eleanor Douglas stands out in a crowd from the minute we meet her. She has flaming red hair, tons of freckles, and a figure she compares to someone who "ran a medieval pub". Eleanor wears men's clothing—think: button-up shirts, blazers, and men's ties knotted in her hair or around her wrists.
Park's not into sports, partying, girls, or the social scene at his school, and he's just popular enough not to get teased, and just different enough not to belong. He's given up on blending in, he's half Korean (Irish dad, Korean mom). With jet-black hair and green eyes, Park Sheridan definitely doesn't look like anyone else in Omaha, Nebraska.
Eleanor's stepdad, Richie, is beyond evil—he's in straight-up monster territory—and his presence is so terrifying that it's felt in Eleanor's house even when he's not home, creating an atmosphere of constant fear.
Eleanor's mom Sabrina has been treated horribly by both of her husbands, leaving her with a metric ton of emotional damage, and she made terrible decisions that led to those marriages. And when it comes to Eleanor, her priorities seem pretty messed up, to put it mildly. Sabrina is a beautiful woman, and from all descriptions, was probably drop-dead gorgeous before her two horrible marriages.
Tina, the "popular girl" at school, is the primary source of a lot of the bullying and name-calling that plagues Eleanor. Tina dated Park in sixth grade, and was his first kiss, which brought him a lot of social status in the process. Tina is "definitely a demon," with a "whole gang of lesser demons, all dressed in matching gym suits"
Steve Murphy is sort of like the male equivalent of Tina—and, in fact, he's dating her. Steve is loud, obnoxious, and at the top of the food chain. Park thinks Steve "looked like a grown man since the seventh grade, and that was before he grew a full beard" (1.15). He's a drinker and pot smoker, and almost everything he says is either stupid or offensive
This sappy love story takes place in Omaha Nebraska. The story follows Eleanor and Park's story through September of 1986, to August of 1897.
Eleanor's step father is very violent and very abusive, verbally towards the kids and physically towards Sabrina
Eleanor is getting bullied by someone. She believes it's Tina stealing her clothes and writing obnoxious phrases on her books
She finds out it was her step father writing on her books so she decided to run away, and get Park to take her to her aunt's
Park never saw her again, and only received a post card from her
Ben, Maisie, Mouse (Jeremiah), & Lil' Richie
Eleanor's four siblings. Ben is twelve, and seems uneasy most of the time. Maisie is nine and "fights like a street person." Mouse is five and "the craziest of them all." Richie is a baby, the book suggests he's around two.
Eleanor is the new girl on the bus and ends up sitting with Park. For a few weeks they don't speak, until Eleanor starts reading over Park's shoulder.
Park brings her a few comic books a week, lends her his walk-man, and makes her a mix-tape... finally he grabs her hand
They start talking and Park invites her over. Eleanor's step father would not allow her to go to a boy's house so she lies and says she is going to Tina's house
Someone starts writing obnoxious phrases on Eleanor's textbooks and binders
Park drops the "L" word and declares Eleanor as his girlfriend
Steve is still teasing Eleanor so Park kicks him in the mouth, gets suspended and grounded
Eleanor and Park continue to spend time together and fall for each other
Richie finds out about Park and goes crazy. He tears Eleanor's room apart, all the comic books are ripped, her headphones are snapped in half and writes on her favourite box "do you think you can make a fool of me? this is my house do you think you can hore around my neighborhood right under my nose and i'm not going to find out is that what you think? i know what you are and its over"
Eleanor gets Park to help her run away from home
Park doesn't see her again
The three main themes I noticed were relationships, fear and abuse.
Mostly the abuse in relationships throughout the book.
Abuse vs. Fear in society
Abusers use fear against their victims to gain extreme power in the relationship.
"Police said that Abdille, 50, was the husband of Zahra Mohamoud Abdille, 45, and father of the two slain boys, 13-year-old Faris, 8-year-old Zain, whose bodies were discovered inside their apartment at 85 Thorncliffe Park Dr. CBC News has learned Zahra Mohamoud Abdille and her children had spent time at a women’s shelter after fleeing from her husband last year. In 2013, the trio stayed for several weeks at Dr. Roz's Healing Place, a centre for abused women and their families in Scarborough, according to the facility's executive director, Roz Roach. "He owned her. He claimed her. He controlled her income. He abused her in so many different ways." -Roz Roach. Zahra attempted to gain custody of her sons while she was staying at the facility. That effort eventually failed, and she was forced to seek out a new place to live on the private market because she did not qualify for affordable housing because of her income. Roach said she thinks Zahra went back to her home with her husband because she didn't earn enough to afford a place on the private market, but also did not qualify for social assistance. "She was in a trap. So many women are in a trap. If they are working, they don't get the support," Roach said."
Article Title: Yusuf Osman Abdille ID'd as dead man connected to Thorncliffe Park homicides
• Website Title: CBCnews
• URL: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/yusuf-osman-abdille-id-d-as-dead-man-connected-to-thorncliffe-park-homicides-1.2858834
Rowell, R. (2013). Eleanor & Park. New York, NY: St. Martins Press.
Abuse vs Fear in society
Fear can make people do crazy things. Especially when it's the fear of an abuser. According to loveisrespect.org, the number one reason why men and women (of all ages) stay in abusive relationships, is fear. These victims are afraid what will happen to them if they leave the relationship. They fear their own safety, and the safety of others. Much like when Eleanor wanted to run away from Richie's abuse but did not want to leave behind her mother and siblings.
Unfortunatley for Zahra Mohamoud Abdille and her children, they were killed by Yusuf Osman Abdille (husband and father)after trying to flea the abuse. Zahra and her children managed to get away, but ended up returning to the abusive environment after a few weeks.
Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships? – www.loveisrespect.org. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2016, from http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/why-do-people-stay/
Shmoop Editorial Team. (2008). Eleanor & Park Characters. Retrieved June 21, 2016, from http://www.shmoop.com/eleanor-and-park/characters.html