Cristian Arce

Prof Ramos

Eng 1A

6 April 2017

Standing Strong

            Eleanor the new girl steps onto the school bus on her first day at a new school as she finds a seat immediately after Tina calls “Bozo” and tells her she cannot sit there. Reason being is because another girl always sits there, but that did not stop Tina from picking on her. Park seemed to not like her either because he just wanted her to sit down so the bus can start moving, he cussed at her and told her to sit down next to him.  As that being the first scene of the novel the reader can tell that Eleanor will not be everyone’s favorite person and that it will be tough for her to get along with anyone. (Rowell 1.8)

            Today kids in high school are not as cruel as they were back in the late 80’s. High schoolers seem to know that now there is a line that should not be crossed when it comes to people’s feelings. It always comes back around to the saying “treat others the way you would want to be treated. People now will not see kids being bullied because that use to be the “cool” thing to do to fit in. Now the cool thing to do would to be nice to others and to treat them with respect. High school is not as easy as it seems, when I was in high school I remember standing up for a fellow peer because another student was picking on him because he had braces. The other student called him “train tracks” and “brace face” I told him to ignore what he was saying and I went to talk to the other student.

Pulling mean pranks were a thing back then, like when Tina had gotten a box of maxi pad’s and colored them with red magic marker. Cover her gym locker with them inside the pads, she also left rude comments like calling Eleanor Bloody Mary, Big Red, and Raghead. Another scene was when they had taken her street clothes and flushed them in the toilet. Growing up in the 80’s seemed tough just because there was always that crowd that enjoyed hurting others to make them feel good about themselves. Popular crowds do not exist anymore, everyone is their own person now. With bullying being an issue in the novel I feel that if this took place in the present none of the bullying would be happening. There are no bullies now everyone is equal and seem to just mind their own business. In my personal high school experience, I other than that one incident I had with a fellow peer I did not see anyone being bullied, sure there was always that on obnoxious classmate but that was about it as far as “bullies”.

Park was getting ready for school when he decided to put eyeliner on, as he walked down to the kitchen for breakfast his dad noticed he had something on his face. Jamie Park’s father lost his mind when he saw Park with eyeliner. Telling him he looked like a girl and that he should not be wearing that. His father was a man’s man and just did not understand his son because Park was trying to find himself. Park’s dad was hurting him because he was not letting him be his own person. In the 80’s not too many men wore makeup other than a few musicians so that is why his dad was having such a hard time wrapping his head around the idea that his son is wearing makeup. Now it would be different since a lot of males do wear makeup. As for Park’s father, he possibly still would not agree with the makeup but I believe he would be a little more understanding because males do wear makeup now in this scenery.

            Being bullied by other kids was not the only thing that was happening to Eleanor, but her dad did it as well while she was growing up. The morning Eleanor woke up to babysit at her dads house she says she hoped her dad had ice cream, but then she says that he’d probably throw it away before she got to his house (Rowell 19.94). Her dad was always dropping hints about her weight when he was around. As a parent, you are supposed to be there for your child, but he was not making it any better for her since she was basically going through the same thing at school. Eleanor’s dad was not a good one to begin with, if her mom and dad would of never split up she would still be living where she was before and things would not be the way they are now living in Omaha and going to a different school.

            Throughout the novel, Eleanor was receiving inappropriate messages written in her school books. She thought it was Tina who was doing it since she knew it was her that left the pads at her locker and stole her clothes. Then she started to notice it was guys writing and she later found out that it was her step dad Richie who was writing in her book. Richie was a big issue to Eleanor he was domestically abusing her by writing what he wrote in her books (Rowell 48. 281). When she got home from her date with Park she saw the familiar lowercase lettering and she left the house trying to find Park again. If Richie was a better step father to her maybe she would not have run away. She would have possibly stayed and just deal with what was going on at school with Park.

            If the novel would have taken place in the present it would of all been so different. Rowell wrote about bullying to inform us on how it can take a toll on a person like running away from it all. Rowell’s purpose was to open the reader’s eyes on how bullying was as big issue back then growing up and how parents should not be hurting their child. We as readers can learn from the novel by stepping and standing up to the bullies that might come in life and leaned a helping hand to anyone that might need it.