What is love? Love is being accepted unconditionally from the people around you exactly as you are and giving a value without expecting anything in return from that people. In the Novel Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell’s, passion is in the air between the two lovebirds Eleanor and Park, but they both have very different ways to express love to one another. Everyone learns to love by the way their families show love to each other, and both of their families show love very differently. Eleanor cannot show Park love the same way as he loves her due to her own family life at home. This effects Eleanor and Parks love for each other outrageously, because Eleanor has never felt actual love before. She grew up thinking real love was just in the movies.

Park grew up in the total loving household. Park’s parents are madly in love and have been together for many years. They are not afraid to show their love for one another, they are always hugging and smiling at one another. Once a week, Park’s family and grandparents have a formal dinner at their house. “Park’s family didn’t fit. They were the Cleavers. And he’d told her that his grandparents lived in the house next door, which had flower boxes, for Christ’s sake. His family was practically the Waltons.” (Rowell 127) This shows how much love Park and his family have, because growing up, Park noticed his parents love for each other, and their families traditions.

Eleanor’s and Park’s family were on two total different sides of the spectrum. Very different types of families. Eleanor’s step dad, Richie, abused her mother almost every night, which made her and her siblings very emotionally restrained. This took a big toll on Eleanor’s life growing up. Eleanor’s house wasn’t even comparable to Park’s, Eleanor’s father abandoned her when she was very young, and shortly after her mother married Richie. Eleanor grew up being abandoned and bullied, and that is how she expresses and thinks what love truly is. When Eleanor’s mother married Richie, her life turned to sorrow. One night in the book, Eleanor’s mother was mentioning to Eleanor at how she was scared to death to be alone and always wanted someone by her side to love and comfort her. Every little girl looks up to their mother as a hero and the perfect role model, a mother can do anything. Eleanor and her siblings, almost every night, have to hear her mother scream to the top of her lungs in pain and misery, as well as crying her eyes to sleep. “When it was worse than bedsprings, when it was shouting or crying, they’d huddle together, all five of them, on Eleanor’s bed.” (Rowell 27)

In the novel, Eleanor and Park both express their love for each other in very different ways. Park is very open about his feelings, whereas Eleanor is more closed off and is afraid to express her feelings because she is scared of what the reaction will be. She has been hurt her whole life, and is scared that if she opens up to another person, it will be a domino effect. Having Eleanor come to Park’s house was very difficult for her. Park lives the life Eleanor always dreamed of, having a loving and caring family. Because Eleanor was never around true love and happiness growing up, I believe that is why she is afraid to commit her love to anyone. She is scared to think that she will get rejected as she does at home with her own family. Park notices at first with Eleanor that she is just rude and is a red-head, but then just can’t stop thinking about Eleanor and ends up falling in love with her. Park fell in love with the non typical teenage girl, she was different. That is exactly what made Park fall in love with her, he was raised not to judge a book by its cover.

Abuse among relationships and family is very common in today’s world, which is very terrible. Abuse is the worst thing anyone and children could go through. Children who grow up in abusive households tend to grow up hating themselves and not wanting to let anyone in. They grow up thinking the love in romantic movies are just in the movies and not reality. From The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the statistics says “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.” This just shows how many people are abused each year, and adding on top of this, this statistic identifies just how many people being around harmful relationships can affect others around you. If there are 10 millions victims of abuse, you could just imagine the families that are being affected by abuse. This is exactly what happened to Eleanor, just by her family, she felt alone and very depressed. Eleanor did not want to let anyone in her life, she always just wanted to be alone and away from others.

After all Eleanor has gone through growing up, she really needed someone in her life to see the good in her and love her unconditionally. And she finally found that person, it was Park. This is very important to everybody in today’s world, especially young teens, to know that everyone will find their own true love one day aside from growing in a abusive household. Especially after reading the statistics at how many people get abused, the number is outrageous. The amount of people getting abused is very disturbing, and that number needs to go down. Even if you don’t think so, the people around you are getting just as hurt emotionally. Growing up in a household with a very bad atmosphere and negativity, does not mean that your life after that will be like that. You can create your own loving and happy life, exactly life Eleanor and Park’s love for each other.

Works Cited

  1. Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park. New York, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016.
  1. “Statistics.” Statistics, ncadv.org/learn-more/statistics. Accessed 12 Apr. 2017.