The book The Help written by Kathryn Stockett is a wonderfully written book that is worthy of being read. Some people who have read The Help do not like it because they believe it is racist and shallow (Maslin). Many more people consider it to be an important work of fiction. Filled with accurate historical information, it deals with important issues past and present. The Help is a brilliantly written novel that gives the reader a deeper understanding of Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s.
The book takes place in the state of Mississippi in the early 1960s. The time and the place already set the groundwork for what will continue to be a great book. Mississippi in the 1960s was in a great uproar over the struggle to preserve racial segregation. Black and white society was relentlessly kept apart. The social, political, and economic rights of blacks were not upheld or protected. In her book The Thunder of Freedom Sue Sojourner speaks of those times with these words: “The system had been denying blacks their voting rights, oppressing them and stifling them in almost every arena for hundreds of years”. She also tells how any attempt to break from these social restrictions was immediately blocked with violence, pressure, and intimidation (Sojourner 27). The setting of this story promises this book will be full of interesting content.
The best features of this book are the characters of the three narrators. The character of Aibileen Clark has been working since she was a teen. Her grandmother was a slave, her mother a maid, and now she too is a maid. At the beginning of the book, Aibileen is 53 years old and has raised 17 white children, the child she is currently raising is the first daughter of her employer. Aibileen is quite intelligent and she loves to write. She lives alone after the death of her son. Minny Jackson is a complex mix of strength and vulnerability (Shmoop). She is a large woman with great physical and mental strength, and she is known for her cooking skills. Yet she is always afraid her husband is going to hit her again or that some white person to betray her. The character of Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan is full of contradictions. She is a high-society white woman who writes a book about the black women who work as maids in Jackson, Mississippi. She was raised by Constantine, a black woman who influenced her a lot. Not only are the characters interesting and well-described they are also historically accurate. However, some consider the tone of the book to be trite and consider the characters, especially the African American ones to speak with obvious and stereotypical voices Stockett.
Another reason The Help is a great book to read is its historical accuracy. Many historical details are seamlessly included in the story. Historical figures such as Martin Luther King and James Meredith (Stockett 97) are mentioned. The author also includes historical events such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Birmingham Church Bombing. Much of what the author wrote was based on her own experiences growing up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s (Stockett 525). These details make the novel historically accurate and believable. Some readers however think that The Help is simply a white woman’s imagination of what it would have been like to be a black maid in the 1960s. Many readers have felt outraged at Stockett’s audacity to write such a book something she knows nothing about.
The third reason to like the book is because of the three messages that are taught by the three narrators. The message found in Aibileen’s narrative “You kind. You smart. You important” (Stockett 234) is an attempt to prepare and support the little white child whose mother does not think she is beautiful. Minny’s narrative is fewer words and more actions. The message that she gives is that all people need the same thing: respect. The message from Skeeter spoken by Constantine her old maid is “Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, 'Am I gone believe what they fools say about me today?” (Stockett 73) Everyone has a choice of what to believe. These three deep and important messages are the foundation of the book. However some critics like Janet Maslin of The New York Times who read the book say that it is 'shallow, and a poor representation of the truth'. They say it is a feel-good story that does not take into account the full scope of the issue it is discussing.
Those who say that the characters are stereotypical are right. Each character fits nicely into a mold that has been used many times over in fiction writing. The author uses these stereotypes to help the reader get a better understanding of the situation. The characters bring stereotypes to life in an effort to fuel a raging fire. Not only does the author use stereotypes, but she also does not go very deep into the issue it is discussing. In order to fully understand an issue one must first grasp the basics. The Help was not written to dig deeply into the issues it is representing; it was written as a tantalizing promise that if the reader looks further into the issue there is more to come. How does a white woman born in the 1960s know what it was like to be a black maid in the 30s? Stockett does not say she knows, she does not say what she has written is how it was, she has simply written a work of fiction based on historical facts.
The book The Help is a most enjoyable read. It is a celebration of how far society has come and a reminder of how far society still needs to go. It is a story of love and of coming of age. It moves the reader to tears of happiness than tears of pain. It is a masterfully written story of change. The story seamlessly weaves issues of race that are still open wounds today with humor and love and creates characters the reader can identify with. The Help is a book that can melt the heart of even the strongest skeptic.
“Courage is daring to do what is right, in spite of the weakness of our flesh.” This quote basically describes the entire point this movie is trying to point out to the audience. This movie is similar to the book “To Kill a Mocking Bird”. This has scenes of how blacks are being mistreated in our society.
“The Help” is a movie about how blacks are being mistreated in a 1960s American setting. The movie was directed by Tate Taylor and was inspired by the book made by Kathryn Stockett. The main characters of this movie are Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny acted by Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer respectively. The main antagonist in this movie name is Hilly acted by Bryce Dallas Howard.
The plot of the movie is that Skeeter gets accepted to a new job in a newspaper company but she is not content with her job as a writer for the cleaning column. So, she uses her free time to make a book about the black maids on their stories, and how they are being mistreated. Her main maid for her book is one of the maids of her friend. And this friend of hers is signing a bill requiring everyone to build toilets for their maids because they have this belief that maids are full of diseases. And this angers Aibileen so she tells Skeeter the stories of her time being a maid. Minny, one of her friends of Aibileen has been fired from her old job and she becomes mad. So, she joins Aibileen in opening up to Skeeter about her life as a maid. After a few times, Skeeter asks Aibileen questions about an incident that happened of a black man getting shot. And that gave Aibileen and Minny more fear about what they are doing. And after some time contemplating they more maids to help them share their stories which helped Skeeter finish her book.
The actors in this movie did an amazing job with the acting. I was convinced by the emotions they were showing. The actors showed their emotions in a very convincing way that I felt what they were feeling. I think that Viola Davis had amazing acting skills throughout the movie. She showed her emotions in such a way that it was fitting for the scene and dialog. She also had the look that convinced me that she was serious.
This movie is not perfect movie. There are many different scenes that are good and there are also bad ones. First, let's talk about the good scenes, I’ll talk about 2 scenes, in particular, the first one is in the humor side this scene is the scene of Minny giving a pie made of feces to Hilly. Well, this scene just shows how many times the maids wanted to do something bad to their house owners. It shows how much hatred has grown in them for the time they have worked there. We can clearly see her hatred in this scene but it is added with humor. The next scene is an inspirational scene. This is the scene of the Priest giving a very inspirational message on courage. Some of the scenes I don’t like in this movie are the scenes that are really dark. Especially since the movie doesn’t have any very bright colors. I would recommend this movie to people that are having a hard time right now so that they can find inspiration in this movie.
This movie was amazing. I would recommend anyone to watch it if they have the time. This movie is really inspirational and maybe it can help with your everyday problems. This movie really shows us how we mistreated the black before and how much they have suffered more than us.