So much of Eleanor & Park is about protection. Like so many first-love stories, Eleanor and Park continue to find a sanctuary in the other, a place of calm and trust and acceptance. They are each other’s protective forces, just by sitting on the bus, by being someone to smile at in English class, through comic books and mix tapes and phone calls. But sometimes you can’t be enough protection; sometimes you don’t understand or cannot fully consider who is hurting who and how exactly to stop it. Does it sound like these chapters left me sad? These chapters left me sad.
Park wants to protect Eleanor from both the taunting on the bus and the judgement of his mother, but, more than that, Park wants to protect himself. He cares about what his mother thinks. He is bothered by what Steve thinks. “This isn’t for me,” Eleanor argues, and she’s right. Park wants to protect Eleanor, but he also wants to stand up for himself — to not be worried about how they will react to him about his new girlfriend, to not have to listen to the loudest punk to drown out their voices.
Eleanor, also in this chapter, tries to protect herself, but is also willing to risk herself to protect others. She calls the police of out fear, but her subsequent worry at what might happen to her when Richie finds out seems more terrifying then the possibility of a gun to her. And in this chapter we see why — we see the little to no reason that Richie lashes out at her, the violence with which he throws the typewriter, the terrifyingly predatory way he repeats that she was asking for it.
Maybe this is partly why Park’s bruised and swollen face made her want to cry but also kiss him. She knows how scary it is to throw yourself into violence to protect someone else, to protect yourself.
What else? What else!
- I’m fascinated by Park’s dad because I just don’t know how I feel about him. Sometimes he seems a little jerky, sometimes he’s the sweetest — I just don’t know. I need to really examine my feelings and beliefs on this one.
- Are we meant to think that the other things that Richie has in the house is pot? Tell me what to infer!
I must admit — I’m very sleepy and need to go to bed and didn’t prepare anything to recommend. So, I’m going to cheat and suggest something that doesn’t really tie into the chapters: The Fosters. I’ve been bothering Christine to watch this ABC Family drama over text for days now, mostly because Rosie O’Donnell is on it and we need more Rosie in our lives. The show is about a family with one biological son, two adopted children, and two foster children, who just joined the family. It always make me cry because it’s so emotional and perfect.