Mutual Recognition: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

In the novel “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman we follow the journey of the 30 year-old Eleanor Oliphant who suffers from multiple mental illnesses due to childhood trauma. Eleanor lives everyday the same. She goes to work, eats, and sleeps. She also tends to think that she is better than anyone who crosses her path because of her cleanliness and organization, even though she lacks basic social skills. When Eleanor meets a new co-worker named Raymond, she is disgusted by his sloppiness and lack of manners (by her standards at least). Despite this, Eleanor and Raymond start to spend time together and Raymond helps Eleanor uncover some mysteries from her past.

Benjamin’s theory of mutual recognition is applicable to Eleanor and Raymond’s relationship because it was completely one-sided in the beginning. Although she spent time with Raymond, Eleanor never saw him as a friend, whereas Raymond treated Eleanor with kindness and respect. Throughout the book, we follow their journey on achieving mutual recognition from Eleanor’s perspective whilst discovering new things about each other. Eleanor never truly accepts Raymond until he pulls her out of her repetitive bubble and that is when their honest and accepting relationship begins.

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