One of the worst feelings a person in High school could experience is being in love with somebody and eventually figuring that that person you love does not love you back quite as much. This is something that many teenagers can go through, and Rainbow Rowell’s novel Eleanor & Park gives great insight on this topic. In the novel, Park seems to be in love with Eleanor, but Eleanor does not seem to love Park back, and there are several points of evidence that prove she does not feel the same way about him that Park feels about her.
One scene in the novel that suggests that Eleanor most likely does not love Park back is the bus scene. At the beginning of the novel, nobody allows Eleanor to have a seat on the bus, so Park offers her a spot next to him. On their way to school, Park tries interacting with Eleanor by showing her Watchmen comics, and at one point, he holds her hand. According to the novel, she did not seem engaged with Park and did not care or do anything when Park held her hand. This shows that Park has feelings for Eleanor, and he tries displaying that to her. However, she did not show any emotion back to him and she did not seem interested in him; if she was interested in Park, she would have expressed some emotion to Park.
Another segment from the novel that supports that Eleanor does not love Park back is when Park drove Eleanor to her aunt and uncle’s house in Minnesota. Eleanor had many problems back at her home with her family, especially with her abusive stepfather Richie. She wanted to run away from her problems and move to her aunt and uncle’s house in Minnesota, and Park offered to drive her there. As they were driving to their house in Minnesota, they both knew that they were most likely never going to see each other again, which made them both very upset. However, Park told Eleanor several times “I love you” and she never said it back to him. Eleanor states, “No matter what happens, I’m not coming home” (Rowell 305) which is then followed up with Park saying “No matter what happens, I love you” (Rowell 305). After Park told Eleanor that he loves her, “She was quiet” (Rowell 305) this shows that Eleanor most likely does not love Park back, or at least does not care about him enough to stay with him back at home in Omaha, Nebraska. When they eventually got to Eleanor’s Aunt and Uncle’s house and Eleanor was about to leave, Park mouthed, “I love you” (Rowell 312) and she did not say or do anything back, besides walk into the house. This also shows that she may not feel the same way as Park feels about her.
In addition, if Eleanor truly did love Park back, she would have most likely made her best attempt to try to make everything work out back at her home in Nebraska, despite the severity of her family issues. Eleanor could have just gone and lived with Park at his house if her family issues had escalated any further. She could have also reported Richie to the police or called Child Protective Services, but she decided to run away from her problems and abandon everybody back at home, including Park. The only option that Eleanor considered was to run away from home and go live with her aunt and uncle in Minnesota. This shows that Eleanor did not care about her family or Park enough to stay home and work together to get through the family issues that she was facing.
Eleanor obviously did not care about Park or her family enough to stay at home with them in Nebraska. If she truly did love Park, she would have stayed at home and gave her best effort to put up with the family issues she was going through, no matter how severe they were. She also never told Park that she loved him back; even though Park told her several times that he loved her. Overall, Eleanor did not love Park the same way Park loved her and she did not care about him enough to at least tell him that she loved him before she left to live with her aunt and uncle forever and that they would most likely never see each other again.