When growing up in an unstable home the most important thing a child needs to have is a close relationship with their parents and/or caregiver. This should never be overestimated. When having, these close relations, the child learns how important it is to trust others, handle their emotions internally and physically, and interact with people in the world. This is when they start to develop a sense of reality. Is the world as safe as we think? They start to understand their values as the individual person they are. So, when those relationships are unstable or unpredictable, especially in a young adult’s life (teen), they start to pick up these ideas that that they can’t rely on others to help them. So being that a teen is put in this predicament and their parents misuse and abuse in various ways, the child/teen learns that he or she is unfit for the world. In Eleanor and Park, Eleanor is a young teen who undergoes these life barriers and deals with them in a way she is only capable of doing.
In Eleanor and Park, Eleanor’s behavior as a teen peeked my interest. The reason is because of the way she behaved the at home and at school was a shock to me. Her attitude at times were either hostile or just unbothered. She internalizes most things, not saying how she truly feels and by doing this no one knows what’s exactly going on with her. This leads to making every one think that she’s okay when deep down inside she’s not. This therefore builds up tension and she shows it in the book frequently. Other factors that was noticed in the book was that Eleanor was very self-conscious, always wondering what people thought, and discouraged about her appearance. She seemed more of an introverted person but, when she would talk to herself in her mind clearly, that’s not who she wanted to be.
An example when Eleanor shows some of these qualities was when, Eleanor got on the bus the first morning she started her new school. It was hard for to find a seat. She was shy and embarrassed on how the kids automatically made her a target and teased her. Comments starting from, “you can’t sit there” or “she looks weird”. I feel as if being the new kid nobody knows who you are, so it gives you an opportunity to create your status. If Eleanor spoke up for herself or even sat in that persons seat it could have shown that she wasn’t a pushover and nobody could tell her what to do, but just because she didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes it resulted to her being made fun of and sitting next to Park by force. I feel that fear of getting in trouble at home was Eleanor’s big concern. If she didn’t have to worry about what was going on at home, if she felt comfortable enough to confide in her mother she probable would have a different aspect on what to do at times like this on the bus.
Reason for saying that the parents are responsible for Eleanor’s behavior, is because Charity begins at home. I say this because if Eleanor was closer to her mother or if her mother came to her in confidence and tried to have a bond with her, Eleanor would probably know what to do in certain situations like what happened on the bus. Even her step dad Richie, if he did the things he was supposed to do as a step dad, and take initiative maybe Eleanor would be able to handle some of the bullies that teased her on a daily. I say this because this is where a girl needs a father figure in her life to boost her confidence, and show her things that her own mother can’t.
Being in this unstable environment I can feel what Eleanor felt, and it wasn’t a good feeling growing up in an unstable home is toxic. Being that Eleanor was put in this predicament and her parents misused and abused her in various ways, Eleanor was forced to learn that she was unfit for the world. In Eleanor and Park, Eleanor is a young teen who undergoes these life barriers and deals with them the way she is only capable of doing.
Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013. Print.