Tina bullies Eleanor during gym class, and, following Tina’s lead, so do the rest of the girls. They have to wear extremely short, red and white gym suits in class, which embarrasses Eleanor. Eleanor gets to the bus before Park, and although they still haven’t spoken, she notices that he wears cool shoes and reads comic books.
Park feels more and more awkward not talking to Eleanor on the bus, even though he still thinks she dresses weirdly. Park’s younger brother, Josh, is already much taller than Park, and Park has to pretend that he can still beat up Josh to maintain his status as an imposing older brother. Park’s father comes home and kisses Park’s mother, which is a normal occurrence in their household. Park’s dad is much larger than Park’s mom, and Park thinks they look like Paul Bunyan and an It’s a Small World doll.
All the kids have a very early dinner together at Eleanor’s house before Richie gets home, and her mom makes Richie a separate, much nicer meal. After dinner, the kids escape from the house outside, and Eleanor retreats to the bedroom. Before Richie had kicked Eleanor out, Eleanor and her siblings were allied against him, and they would listen together to shouting and crying from her mom and Richie’s room. When Eleanor gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, she is too scared to flush the toilet because she might wake Richie.
Park’s friend Cal tells Park that he’s going to ask out a girl named Kim, and Park advises Cal to set his sights elsewhere. Cal sees Eleanor staring at Park, and he says that she has jungle fever. Park points out that that isn’t even the right kind of racist. Park contemplates Eleanor’s weird clothing, which makes him realizes that he actually likes some of it. Park is annoyed with Cal and tells Cal to ask Kim out.
In the library, looking for a poem to memorize, Eleanor ends up in the empty African-American literature section. Even though most students in the school are black, the majority of kids in her honors classes are white. She observes that the honors kids are nicer, or at least more polite, because they’re scared of getting in trouble. Eleanor copies a poem called “Caged Bird” to memorize, and is pleased when she realizes that it rhymes.
Park figures out that Eleanor has been reading his comics over his shoulder on the bus. Park also finds himself noticing Eleanor’s unusual red hair and dark eyes. He holds the comics wider and turns the pages more slowly.