Eleanor and Park Major Character Analysis

Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park

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Eleanor and Park Major Character Analysis


The book is named Eleanor and Park, and Park is the male protagonist. Park is a young American teenager who is half-Korean and who gets bullied at school for his Asian appearance. The bullying never really gets to him though, as he delves into music and comics as a way to distract himself from the harassment. From the day that he lets Eleanor sit next to him on the bus, their fates become intertwinedand their relationship quickly blossoms into “first love.” Park grows tired of watching Eleanor being bullied, so one day he stands up for her and ends up fighting her bully, Steve. This further solidifies the couple’s love. When Eleanor finds out that her step-father, Richie, has been writing lewd notes on her notebook, Park and Eleanor decide that she must escape to St. Paul. On the way there, Park and Eleanor almost have sex, but he ultimately decides not to, because he wants to make sure they have a reason to reunite again one day. After leaving Eleanor in St. Paul, the two eventually grow apart, much to Park’s displeasure. But he is absolutely ecstatic to receive the mysterious letter from her at the end of the book. Part of him will always love her. 


Eleanor’s life has been much more difficult than Park’s, who had the benefit of growing up in a loving, middle-class environment. Eleanor, on the other hand, has been abandoned by both her mother and her father at different points in her life, and at the start of the book she has the misfortune to return to the house of her abusive step-father, Richie. She is not particularly close to her siblings, and she feels like her mother has been brainwashed to rationalize and accept Richie’s increasingly intense abuse. Richie’s house is so hostile to Eleanor that her mother has to guard the bathroom whenever Eleanor wants to bathe. Her life completely changes when she meets and starts dating Park. He gives her a reason to live, a reason to be excited, a reason to smile, not to mention the fact that he…

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