Eleanor and Park Chapters 1-12 Summary & Analysis

Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park

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Eleanor and Park Chapters 1-12 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 1 Summary: Park 

In the opening chapter of the book, we are introduced to the main character, Park, as he rides the bus to high school.He is listening to music on his Walkman in order to distract himself from the other people on the bus. Meanwhile, two of his schoolmates, Steve and Tina, make offensive remarks about Park’s ethnicity, but Park merely shrugs them off.

Park’s bus makes a new stop and picks up a passenger. The girl walks up and down the aisle but no one on the bus is willing to give her a seat. Park notices that she is red-haired and awkward-looking and that “obody would look at her” (4). When the girl seems on the verge of tears, Park scoots over and gestures for her to sit beside him. Park knows he will catch flak from his peers later for giving her a seat, and the two ride the rest of the way to school in silence.

Chapter 2 Summary: Eleanor 

The second chapter of the book begins with Eleanor sitting outside on the front steps of her school. She creates a mental checklist of things she can do to avoid riding the bus to and from school again. The narrative reveals that Eleanor has just moved to the area from out of town and that she rides the bus out of necessity, because her single mother does not have a car.

From Eleanor’s point-of-view, every single person that rides on her school bus is evil because they all left her hanging earlier that morning when she needed a seat. She even goes so far as to suspect that her bus mates had conspired to “kill her in a “past life” (7). Eleanor remembers her mother saying that her partner Richie can drive her to school, but Eleanor dreads this possibility even more than riding the bus.

Chapter 3 Summary: Park 

Back on the bus, Park is waiting for Steve to taunt him for letting Eleanor sit next to him, but Steve is too preoccupied with a conversation about martial arts, a topic that Park is well-versed in, unbeknownst to Steve….

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