Eleanor and Park | Study Guide

Rainbow Rowell

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Eleanor and Park Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 Aug. 2019. Web. 2 Dec. 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eleanor-and-Park/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2019, August 23). Eleanor and Park Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eleanor-and-Park/

In text

(Course Hero, 2019)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Eleanor and Park Study Guide." August 23, 2019. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eleanor-and-Park/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Eleanor and Park Study Guide," August 23, 2019, accessed December 2, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Eleanor-and-Park/.

Eleanor and Park | Chapters 34–36 | Summary

Share
Share

Summary

Chapter 34

Eleanor

The day after Christmas, Eleanor visits Park and gives him a book (The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger). He gives her a present, saying he "tried to think of something that nobody would notice but you," but he didn't want to give her, say, a pen. Instead, he got her a necklace. She knows "she shouldn't take it, but she wanted it."

Park

Park worries that he should've gotten Eleanor something easier to hide: "Jewelry was so public ... and personal, which was why he bought it." She says the necklace is beautiful, and he fastens it around her neck.

Eleanor

Eleanor and Park are playing cards in the kitchen. His mom asks Eleanor how her Christmas was, and Eleanor tells her about their meal and explains that her mother is Danish. When Park asks what her father is, she says, "an ass." Then she tells him her dad is Scottish. Eleanor considers how much she should tell Park about her family. What if he asks her to "tell [him] all the terrible parts?" But he doesn't.

Eleanor spends most of Christmas vacation at Park's house. Her mom thinks she's at her friend Tina's house. Eleanor thinks back to when her mom first met Richie. Her mom said that Richie called her "as pretty as a spring day" and that all her friends swooned and thought he sounded wonderful. Now, Eleanor knows that Richie turned out to be far worse than her biological father, who is merely selfish.

Eleanor tries to get home early enough that she can take a quick bath before Richie gets there. Without a door, there's no privacy. She's thought about taking showers at school instead, but then there are the bullies to contend with. Back at school after vacation, Tina mouths "the C-word" at Eleanor. Fortunately, DeNice and Beebe are there to make Eleanor laugh.

Park

Cal asks Park about his relationship with Eleanor. He's a little offended that Park never shared the news that they're dating—he figured it out for himself. Cal says that he "wants the whole freaking report" if Park is "getting it" from her. "This is why I didn't tell you," Park replies.

Chapter 35

Eleanor

Park's dad tells Eleanor that she has a standing invitation to dinner at their house. He tells her that he and Richie grew up together and says, "I know that your stepdad isn't an easy man to be around."

Park

Park says that he and Eleanor are "always together, and it still wasn't enough." When he tries to convince her to spend time in his room, Eleanor refuses. She's nervous and doesn't want Park's mom "to think I'm slutty." Eleanor and his mom are definitely getting along better. Eleanor talks to her about being a beautician. Then Park's mom offers to give Eleanor a makeover. To make her happy, Eleanor agrees.

Eleanor

Eleanor gets the makeover. Park's mom washes and conditions Eleanor's hair and then starts putting makeup on her. Eleanor tells her that she doesn't wear makeup, but she doesn't tell her the reason: "makeup is a lie." In any case, Park mom's continues to apply the makeup, and she demonstrates how eyeliner works by putting some on Park. Eleanor thinks it looks great on him. He looks like the comic book character Ming the Merciless or one of the pretty-boy members of the band Duran Duran. After her own makeover, Eleanor is afraid to look at herself. "She wanted to disappear, to drop through a trapdoor." But then she finally looks in the mirror, and she's not as embarrassed as she thought she'd be; it's "like looking at a different person." But she still hates the makeover, and she starts crying. Park tries to reassure her; he says she looks like herself "but with the volume turned up."

Park

Park doesn't understand why the makeover upset Eleanor so much. "Sometimes it seemed like she was trying to hide everything that was pretty about her." But then he thinks she is brave for wanting to be true to herself—to be different from everyone else. Park decides to leave his hair "all messy and tall" the next day and wear eyeliner. His dad is very upset when he sees Park's new look at breakfast: "Look at him, Mindy, he's wearing makeup!" he says to Park's mom. He insists that Park go wash it off, saying he "looks like a girl," but Park refuses. Eleanor is thrilled with Park's new look. She kisses him "with tongue. On the bus."

Chapter 36

Park

Park expects to be grounded, so he tells Eleanor not to come to his house. But it seems his mom has talked to his dad, so the punishment never comes. Still, Park's dad says he "can't think of a single thing" he wants to say to Park.

Analysis

For context, Ming the Merciless is an Asian comic-book villain from the world of Flash Gordon. He's a supervillain and the main antagonist in that comic's world. He's portrayed with highly accented eyes. Likewise, the camera-ready members of the new wave band Duran Duran have highly stylized looks. When Eleanor thinks about how attractive she finds Park, it's natural that she grounds her compliments in the language of their connection: music and comics.

Eleanor also gets a makeover, which is surprising for a couple of reasons. She can't reveal her relationship with Park to her family, so she's usually extremely careful not to raise any red flags. A makeover may seem harmless, but if she's trying to avoid drawing any attention to herself, this probably isn't the best idea. She also just doesn't like makeup; it doesn't fit her persona and feels like a lie to her. Eleanor is nothing if not true to herself. But she goes along with the makeover because Park's mom wants to do it.

It's also dangerous for Eleanor to wear the necklace Park gave her for Christmas. Eleanor is poor, and her family will notice that she's wearing new jewelry. These small risks could lead to big trouble. But her feelings for Park—and his for her—are embodied by the necklace, and she can't not wear it.

The bullying at school also escalates as Eleanor and Park grow closer. In one instance Tina mouths the "C-word" at Eleanor. Readers may find this cause to hope that Tina is the one writing nasty phrases on Eleanor's books; it's better than any alternative.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Eleanor and Park? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!