The Past Impacts the Future

Divorce to a child is like breaking something apart that is the foundation of what they find ultimate security in. Eleanor as a child had a lot of happiness when her parents were together. She saw the love and joy her family held with each other. Her parents seemed happy from what she could remember when they were all together as one family . She herself was truly happy with life and all the possibilities it had to offer. She also had more relationships with friends which filled more joy in her life as well. Having a family that she thought fully cared for her, loved her, and all the friends in her life, brought her such contentment. When all of a sudden it turned around really fast. She remembers her parents fighting one moment and the next her father was walking away from something she found such value in. Eleanor became accustomed to good things only once in a great while. Through time, she started to believe more and more how happiness can only be temporary. She experienced this all first hand.

When her parents divorced it turned bad very quickly. All of the foundation she once knew and believed in was picked up from underneath her so fast, that she could not digest it all in correctly. Her mother ended up dating a new guy who hated Eleanor. And it was clear that she hated him too. This man would abuse her mom and it made Eleanor feel scared and hopelessness. The worst part was her mother would continue to stay with him, despite the torment and abuse, she could never really wrap her mind around this or understand why. The relationship between Eleanor and her now step-father worsened and eventually he kicked her out of the house. This made her feel like she had hit rock bottom, making her experience an entire different level of hopelessness. She was taken away from her own family for over a year. This crushed her because she was not apart of her mother or siblings lives. Even though she was staying with another family, they too didn’t want her there also. All Eleanor has seen for her entire life is short term happiness just to be followed by hurtful betrayals and let downs. How could she ever experience love and love another in return if she herself has never experienced that type of relationship.

When she met Park something about him drew her close to him. She felt an amazing connection with him, which is something she had never felt before. She truly enjoyed his company, always wanted to be around him and talk to him. It was kind of like that feeling when she was a little girl that she once had with her family so long ago. Even though Eleanor finally found someone she tremendously cared for, her background with her family was always in the back of her mind. This is what influenced her decision to end things with Park eventually. As Stacey Johnson and Amanda Thomas states in the article, Divorce versus Intact Parental Marriage and Perceived Risk and Dyadic Trust in Present Heterosexual Relationship, “Children of divorced parents fear being rejected, and a lack of trust frequently hinders a deepening of their relationship.” Eleanor found so much joy with him but deep down she knew that this would only be a temporary thing. This thought of temporary happiness stemmed deep from her experiences in her past. That feeling deep down took over her mind and influenced her decisions whether she wanted to believe it or not. Anyones up bringing, not just Eleanor’s, truly effects the way you take things and the decisions you make throughout your life.

When they were finally apart from each other, Eleanor knew how Park felt about wanting to stay with her. She knew that he was going to write her every day and continue to do this best her could to make this work between them. Eleanor had already decided what she was going to do, as it tells us in the book “Letter, postcards, packages that rattled like loaded cassette taps. None of them opened, none of them read (Rowell 319).” She was convinced that this was the time to let Park go. They had their fun for a temporary time but it all has to end eventually. “There’s no such thing as a handsome princes, she told herself. There ‘s no such thing as happily ever after (Rowell 310).” When you tell yourself something over and over again, you start to apply it to your life. How can you ever love someone truly if you believe in something that is shown to you since you could remember?

Park had it differently because his parents adored each other tremendously. He expressed, “But Park’s parent loved each other. They kissed each other on the mouth, no matter who was watching (Rowell 301).” He had something to hold onto like your parents showing you a sturdy foundation about what truly love can be and what it should look like. Wouldn’t you have the biggest hopes and dreams for someone you truly cared for? Park understood that it wasn’t always perfect but that you need to fight for what you love because its worth fighting for. He told Eleanor, “I just can’t believe that life would give us to each other and then take it back (Rowell 305).” It was easy for Park to express how he felt for her but on the other hand Eleanor could never come up with the right words to say in the moment. Park told her multiple times that he loved her while Eleanor could never say it back to him.

Your up bringing of the past that you once lived can affect the way your life unfolds. Whether its how you’ve been taught religion, how to love, been around addiction and abuse, or your standard of morality, these all influences your future. How you will live your life when you become an adult, either good or bad, the past will always guide the decisions you make.


Work Cited 

 Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park. St. Martin’s Press, 2013.

Stacy G. Johnston and Amanda M. Thomas, “Divorce versus Intact Parental Marriage and Perceived Risk and Dyadic Trust in Present Heterosexual Relationships,” Psychological Reports 78, (1996)