English The Help
The Help,Kathryn Stockett`s novel, narrates the story of racial insults andsilent bravery in 1960s regarding black maids who were working inwhite Southern households Mississippi. In“The Help,” Stockett’s most pushing, popular book about blackdomestic workers white households in the 1960s, one lady works sotirelessly. She extends working long into the night. She getsexhausted and hence eyes sting, her hands get sore. Her name isSkeeter Phelan, a woman, white by race. The white women in “TheHelp” don’t do degrading jobs and literally don’t do much ofanything either. The aim of this paper is to argue whether ornot I believe that Stockett is successful in pushing past the socialstigma surrounding race that existed in the 1960s. Ithink and believe that Kathryn Stockett is so much successfulin pushing that social stigma surrounding race that existed duringthat time.
One courageous Skeeter is however unique asshe slaves away in a book that blows the lid off the sufferingincurred by black house helps in Jackson, Miss. Skeeter’s decidedto call the place “Niceville,” but she didn’t make it sound asnice as it seems. All of Jackson’s girls from Ole Miss will beup in arms if at all Skeeter’s tell-all book gets to be published.
In comparison with the trouble Ms. Stockett’sbook risks looking into, the trouble in Skeeter’s book is nothing.This novel by a white author from the South who considers blackmaids’ voices in a dialect described as thick. (“Law have mercy,”one says, when asked to cooperate with the book project. “I reckonI’m on do it.”) It is basically a story that tends to give somemanner of value to the lives of maids’ while supporting them toSkeeter and her upcoming writing dreams. It also embraces andappreciates noblesse oblige so easily such that Skeeter’s daringacts earn her a present from a congregation in a church that wasattended by the black people “This belongs to the white lady, youtell her we love her, like she’s our own family.” the Reverend ofthe church said.
Ms. Stockett she came to know how deeply shefelt about her beginning when she migrated to New York City fromJackson. If a person from New York told her that Jackson must bebeautiful, she claimed it was a crime fraught yet if a person spokehatefully about Jackson, she would defend it by all means possible“Mississippi is like my mother,” it is at an afterword to “TheHelp.” Where she writes this. It is indeed true that in this awardwinning novel, when it sets to the love-hatred bonding between Ms.Stockett and her subjects, she speaks of the truth.
This white writer does not do the black maids adisservice, rather it’s the white folk. The major maid characters,the Aibileen who was maternally loving and Minny who was alwaysscrappy and angry. Their warm, dimensional praises makes book groupsto talk repeatedly about their silent bravery and the extreme insultsleashed by their racist employers. The worst employer, Miss Hilly,views Minny like a thief such that she lobbies to have Jacksonhouseholds add washrooms so that the black maid does not use thewhite families’ restricted bathrooms. The lead-footed connectionthroughout this book truly shows what Ms. Stockett witnessed in herchildhood years in the South. Miss Hilly’s Junior League conductsits fund-raising for “the Poor Starving Children of Africa” whilemistreating the poor African-Americans of Jackson.
Miss Hilly makes herself the devil of each ofthe black characters of the book as well as most of its white ones.Hilly shouts villainously about segregation virtues and rectitude ofthe politicians of Mississippi. Skeeter notices that “There is anunrest in Vietnam,” when News relating to the real world penetratedinto the book but with a short televised coverage of James Meredithintegrating Ole Miss and other rendered news. She also thinks that“The reporter seems to think it’ll be solved without trouble.“Tension rises as Skeeter sets her eye on a copy of Jim Crow lawsthat is taken into action as Skeeter, a spinster who was liberalminded starts cohabiting with an intolerant politician’s son,politician Both Aibileen and Minny increasingly become nosey totheir employers’ houses meanwhile as Skeeter wonders about the fateof the maid who caringly and lovingly brought her up.
Indeed “The Help” might as well have goneinto the violent repression of the outspoken natures of these maids(one character is blinded for having accidentally used a whites-onlybathroom), Ms. Stockett drive her point there, she is howeverinterested in the intimacy and sunken affection under the seeminglyimpersonal connections of the households.
The loveliest character in this book isAibileen, especially in the scenes that entail her bringing up MaeMobley, the toddler under her care. She is ready to accept anotherone even after experiencing the pain of raising a white child afterwhite child only for them to get away from her after growing up.Taking into consideration Ms. Stockett’s autobiographicalafterword, this is the only part of the story she is well acclaimedto she herself had an absentee mom who was white hence was raised bya black woman by the name Demetrie. She so loved Demetrie withoutever thinking what Demetrie’s life was like, and she acknowledgesthat “The Help” was written to fill that missing link.
At some point during that time, Skeeter hearsout a strange new guy by the name Bob Dylan singing out aparticularly strange song which she had never heard “The Times TheyAre A-Changin’,” and she finds herself with exceedingly muchoptimism. Perhaps “The Help” might have explored outside a harshbut still comfortable accommodative world if she had heard the sameone and only Bob Dylan singing “The Lonesome Death of HattieCarroll,” a song which he used to accuse the dangerous caning of a51-year-old black maid bar worker by a young patrician who was white.
Stockett has succeeded in teaching the newgeneration about the perils of racial prejudice. This is becausetoday`s changing trends are demanding and United States has alwaysbeen compelled to find effective methods for its populations tocoexist in harmony regardless of their diverse cultures to ensuretheir success and growth potential. We should be at a positionwhereby our children are prepared to live and work peacefully andharmoniously as well as productively with others from the various andmany different racial and cultural groups ‘abilities andbackgrounds in our society. One great challenge that is facing thecreation of such future is prejudice. In as much as many of us viewprejudice as a challenge, it is not the case as incidents 0fprejudice and discrimination occur every day.
Kathryn Stockett,The Help, 451 pages. Amy EinhornBooks/G. P. Putnam’s Sons. $24.95.
Janet Maslin,Books of the Times Published:February 18, 2009