“” I’m just saying… I love you. And I can’t imagine stopping…. There’s no reason to think we’re going to stop loving each other”, he said. “And there’s every reason to think that we won’t.” I never said I loved you, Eleanor thought.” (Rowell 237) Even though Eleanor and Park were together she decided to leave him behind and not respond to his letters because she really didn’t love him.
Eleanor always made things difficult for Park whenever she had the chance to. Whether park asked a simple question about her family or called her name out, Eleanor always seemed to question him a lot about questions he had for her. ””so?” “because I want to feel like I’m with you,” he said. “Why do you make everything so hard?”” (Rowell 106) It seemed like park was always walking on thin ice around Eleanor, if he said something as simple as calling her name out she would get upset by the way he would say it and make him stop. “” Do you have a nickname?” he asked. That was one of his tricks, whenever she was put off or irritated-changing the subject in the sweetest way possible.” (Rowell 107)
Throughout the book, Park would show more love and affection towards Eleanor then she did towards him. When Eleanor asked Park why he even liked her he gave her a lengthy response with reasons to why he did and how he like everything about her inside and out but when it came to her responding to why she liked him she would play it off or turn it into a joke so they would change the subject, almost like a defense mechanism. “” I don’t like you” He waited. And waited… then he started to laugh. “You’re kind of mean,” he said. “don’t laugh. It just encourages me.”” (Rowell 110)
“” Eleanor- wait- I love you.” “Eleanor?” her dad was standing in the doorway. He was being quiet, in case she was asleep. She hung up the phone and pretended that she was.” (Rowell 114) Eleanor very much could have said she loved him back if she wanted to; after all, her father did say it was ok to use the phone. If Eleanor loved Park she would have said it as soon as she’d see him again on the bus…but she didn’t.
Eleanor didn’t seem to be in the best place, mentally. She never witnessed true love in her life, her mom and dad split and her dad didn’t want to take the slightest responsibility for them. She witnessed the opposite of love. She witnessed abuse; Richie, Eleanor’s mothers husband would beat her and that was what she grew up with and what she got used to seeing. Her own mother kicked her out of the house for a whole year. Did Eleanor even know what love was? Did she even know how to react to Park having such feelings for her? “Was she supposed to be happy that Park had called her his girlfriend? It’s not like he’d given her any choice in the matter-and it’s not like he’d said it happily. He said it with his head down, with his face dripping blood. Should she be worried about him?” (Rowell 132) If Eleanor loved Park at all, she wouldn’t have had to ask herself all those questions. She like any other girl would be happy that the guy she loves finally identified her as his girlfriend, something every girl wishes for their crush to say.
“He was hers. To have and to hold. Not forever, maybe-not forever, for sure-and not figuratively. But literally.” (Rowell 250) Eleanor was for sure that they wouldn’t be a forever thing from this point on, she had made that clear to us because of this phrase. Even though they were in the middle of making up and making out this was still flowing through her head. More negative thoughts surfaced when she was near Park the positive ones. She couldn’t live in the moment, she was always worried about someone finding out about them two, but why did she bother worrying? She wasn’t planning to stick up for their relationship anyways.
After Eleanor had found out Richie was the one who wrote all those horrific notes on her text books and figured out that he knew everything about Park and her, she decided to head out to her uncles hoping her uncle would take her in and park took the initiative to drive her there. While the world came crashing down for Park he still tried being strong for Eleanor he finally drove the truck he wasn’t able to even get started before, he was motivated by Eleanor, he needed to get her safe. “How can she be asleep? How could she sleep through their last hours together?” (Rowell 299)
“” Have you ever had a boyfriend?” …. “no,” Eleanor said. Park wasn’t a boyfriend he was a champion. “have you ever kissed anyone?” Eleanor shook her head.” (Rowell 317) if you loved or love someone you don’t consider them just a champion and pretend like they never existed. Eleanor called Park a champion because even though she put him through so much he still pulled through till the end without losing his love for her and without her saying I love you back.
Were the last three words I love you? No, because if Eleanor would have felt the same way she wouldn’t have given up as easily as she did, she wouldn’t have pretended Park never existed because he would have been the topic of almost every conversation she would have had with anyone, if you’re in love all you can do is think about, talk about and show off the person you fell in love with. Most importantly she wouldn’t have let anything separate her from the only person who loved her as much as she loved them back. This all brings us down to the last three words at the end of this book. “I miss you.”
Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016. Print.