Eleanor and Park

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… mixed-race. During the Vietnam War, Park's father was stationed in Korea, where he fell for Park's mother. It was the perfect love story – a story that Park, who finds it difficult to connect with either his father or his classmates, occasionally feels like he's intruding on.

Living... in white America. The year is 1986, the location is Omaha, Nebraska, and Park is the only Asian kid at his high school. Park realized at an early age that he was never going to fit in, and while he's made his peace with being an outsider, that doesn't mean he's unaffected by the small, daily acts racism at his school.

Profession… high school student, with a high school student's worries. Park's parents are relatively well-off, so he doesn't have to worry about much beyond grades, classmates, and girls. But that’s more than enough for any teenager.

Interests… comic books and music. Park's father has tried to get him into sports, but with the exception of taekwondo, Park's interests run more toward The Smiths and X-Men. It's through comics and music that he initially bonds with Eleanor, a new girl at his school who is equally passionate about the power of good art.

Relationship Status… dating Eleanor, sort of. While their relationship starts out rocky, Eleanor and Park soon find themselves drawn to each other as fellow outsiders. Soon, the two are inseparable, with Park declaring to Eleanor, "Nothing before you counts. And I can’t even imagine an after.”

Challenge… grappling with his relationship with Eleanor. As the new girl – and as a quirky, non-conventionally feminine girl to boot – Eleanor is the target of cruel pranks and teasing. Add onto that her disastrous relationship with her stepfather, and it's no wonder Park says, "my girlfriend’s sad and quiet and keeps me up all night worrying about her."

Personality… quiet, intelligent, and devoted. Park is a good friend and a better boyfriend, doing his best to help Eleanor and keep her safe. Like any teenager, he's not perfect, but despite his own insecurities and occasional errors in judgment, he does his best to be patient and understanding with her.


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