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Symbolism is a device in which an author uses an object to represent a much deeper, more significant meaning than just what the object means itself ("Symbolism"). One example of a symbol we can find in Rainbow Rowell's novel Eleanor & Park is a comic book, specifically the comic books that the title characters Eleanor and Park read together on the bus that actually, eventually, initiate their friendship. What's particularly interesting is that the comic books they share are all about superheroes, comics like Watchmen and the X-Men. More importantly, in sharing Parker's comics with him, Eleanor is able to see someone treat her well for the first time in her life, as we see her express when she says to herself, "That stupid Asian kid totally knew she was reading his comics. He even looked up at Eleanor sometimes before he turned the page, like he was that polite" (39). Since Eleanor is frequently bullied for looking differently from everyone else, the comic books symbolize her need for a hero in her life and also for her need for someone to simply be "polite."
When we look at syntax, we're literally looking at the grammatical structure used to group words together into sentences. Syntax, along with diction, is used to "develop tone, mood and atmosphere" ("Syntax"). Rowell uses many varieties of syntax to help establish the youthful voice of her characters and to emphasize their thoughts and feelings. One example can be seen in the following two sentences: "He didn't talk to anyone on the bus. (Especially not her.)" (39) The use of placing a sentence in parentheses particularly creates significant meaning. First, parentheses are only used in informal writing, so the use of parentheses automatically creates an informal and youthful tone. Second, the use of parentheses also draws special attention to what's inside the parentheses, so their use also draws attention to Eleanor's feelings concerning being ignored.
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