It was also interesting that the maids were so used to "the lines", that they disliked it when they were crossed, e. Not between her and me, not between her and Hilly". Yet the maids train their own children into subjugation by teaching the rules "for working for a white lady".
This has strange effects: On the other hand , it seems improbable that all the powerful white women in the town are only in their mid 20s. I presume that was necessary because they needed to be contemporaries of Skeeter, and she needed to be young, but it still made me question the story in broader terms. That creates a tension in the reader that is quite powerful. The saddest white person is the little girl Aibileen cares for; she is a misfit in her own home, because her mother never bonded with her, "She like one a them baby chickens that get confused and follow the ducks around instead".
Aibileen tries hard to compensate, particularly by repeating the mantra "You kind, you smart, you important". Mind you, she also sows the seeds future disagreement with her parents by telling secret stories about a kind alien visitor called Marti a n Luther King who thinks all people are the same, and by wrapping identical sweets in different coloured wrappers to make the same point. As Skeeter says, " The dichotomy of love and disdain living side by side is what surprises me ", and that was the core of the book for me.
She is an ageing maid who cares for white children when they are young, then moves on. Her own son died in an industrial accident at 24 and from then "A bitter seed was planted inside me. Is this dialect accurate, patronising appropriation, or both? Minny is the other black voice: She speaks her mind, so has often been fired. The final voice is Skeeter, the daughter of a plantation owner who has returned from college and is shocked to discover that the beloved maid who raised her has gone, and no one will tell her why.
It should have been possible to mention them in a more natural way. View all 35 comments. The Help is a tale of lines, color, gender and class, in the Jackson, Mississippi of the early s. This is a world in which black women work as domestics in white households and must endure the whims of their employers lest they find themselves jobless, or worse.
It is the Jackson, Mississippi where Medgar Evers is murdered, and where spirit and hope are crushed daily. It is the Jackson, Mississippi where Freedom Riders are taken from a bus, a place where segregation and racism are core belie The Help is a tale of lines, color, gender and class, in the Jackson, Mississippi of the early s. It is the Jackson, Mississippi where Freedom Riders are taken from a bus, a place where segregation and racism are core beliefs and where challenge to the status quo is met with resistance, to the point of violence.
It is a time of political turmoil on the national stage, as the civil rights movement is picking up steam. It is also a place where using the wrong bathroom could get a black person beaten to death. The Help sees this world through three sets of eyes, Aibeleen, a fifty-something black woman who has taken care of many white children and is beginning again with a newborn.
Minny, in her thirties, has troubles enough at home, with an abusive, drunken husband and several children of her own, but her inability to control her tongue has led to a series of jobs and a series of firings. Skeeter is a young white woman, newly graduated from college, and eager to pursue a career in writing.
Skeeter has grown a conscience and no longer accepts the presumptions of the past. She yearns to know what happened to Constantine, the black woman who was so important to her as a child. Skeeter sees the unfairness of the social structure. The story not only places the events in historical context, but offers a taste of what it must have been like for the Aibeleens, Minnys and Skeeters of the time.
Stockett has created living, breathing characters, people you can relate to, cheer and cry for. If there is softness here, it is that the devils are painted in glaring red, which may be an accurate portrayal of the time, but makes for a melodramatic feel at times.
The heroines are fully realized. We get a sense of how they came to be the way they are. While we are offered some background on the baddies, it is not enough to make them as completely human as the three narrators.
The Help is a powerful, moving read, blessed with a colorful, believable cast of characters, a compelling setting and an eternal message of shared humanity, a knockout of a first novel.
View all 13 comments. Jan 26, Maggie Stiefvater rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Recommended to Maggie by: Nearly everyone in the world knows what this book is about as I pen this review, it is at 2 in Amazon sales ranking but I shall reiterate: It sounded like it was going to hit the Maggie Trifecta of Doom: However, I loved it.
It was engrossing, very well characterized and often funny. Strangely enough, two of those are also part of what I consider its flaws. The characters are so reliably themselves that they are nearly caricatures in some areas. But this book is upbeat, uplifting, and ultimately made a bit fluffy by all its humor and optimism.
Again, I could imagine this as a Hollywood screenplay in a New York minute. I think that everyone who reads it will at least like it, even if it will not become their absolute favorite in the world. And we need books like that. So go out and read it. View all 8 comments. The story is about African Americans working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early s.
Dec 25, Praveen rated it it was amazing. I done finished this book finally! May be a seed was immediately planted inside a me. After finish it I seen a small baby in street. She very much like Mae Mobley Leefolt. When I see her, she laugh, dance a little happy jig. I touch her cheeks, she smile again. Then I go to work but find her dancing again weaving her hand!
View all 10 comments. May 06, Lucy rated it it was amazing Shelves: Gush, gush, gush, gush, gush! I cannot gush enough about this book. Two of the women, Aibilene and Minny are black, hired as help to wealthy, or trying to appear wealthy, white families. Eugenia, or "Skeeter" as she is called, is a white woman recently graduated from Ole Miss University and trying to become a writer.
She is what probably most of us are, kindly ignorant of the world around her. Rai Gush, gush, gush, gush, gush! Skeeter is the least developed character of the three but she is the means in which this uniquely uplifting story can be told. Without Skeeter, who at 22, finally and lonesomely comes of age, The Help would simply be another shocking look at the racial inequality that existed still so recently in the South. They mattered to me. Aibilene, especially, is so vividly written, that her voice, her mannerisms More than anything, I wanted her to thrive.
As rich as this book is in both characterization and plot, its real accomplishment is that it encouraged me to examine my own prejudices. Racism has always been a frustrating topic for me to think about, as has sexism. My mind has a hard time wrapping around the idea that there was a time when educated people - enlightened people - sincerely believed that any race or gender was superior to another. It seems our spirits must have always had the capacity for understanding that this could not be so, but The Help showed me how such beliefs are possible.
Stockett, a southern white woman herself, exposes this possibility with an experienced sympathy. Foolish traditions, yes, but they were able to be easily convinced that a separate toilet was not only desirable but necessary because they lacked scientific understanding about germs and contamination and genetics.
They only thing available to counter such painfully offensive actions was personal reflection and, perhaps, their consciences. More so, and what was really eye opening to me, were the attitudes of "the help", and how their own actions and attitudes were also heavily influenced by tradition and fear - as much so as their white counterparts. Whites, with control and power, dosed out injustice after injustice that was defended by their fear and blacks adjusted to the degradation based on their own learning and fear.
Minny was taught by her mother how to behave as a maid in the home of a white woman - what to say and do and how to say and do it. She also experienced first hand the consequences of breaking with that tradition, being fired and blacklisted and unable to provide for her family. The difference between what excuses the fear as loathsome or imaginable was the availability of recourse.
I must believe, as a human being, that there is something inside each of us that witnesses the value of our souls. However, blacks, then, had even less access to understanding and knowledge than their white peers which left them with little other than their own consciences as proof of their worth. How frustrating to be human whose freedom is limited by the understanding of others. Are we currently kindly ignorant, arrogantly holding all the answers, quietly giving the best of ourselves with what society allows or protecting our vulnerability with a tough outer shell?
Perhaps, we are all of them, at different times of our lives, progressing at our individual rates of enlightenment and courage. Now, go read this book! View all 16 comments. Sep 15, eb rated it it was amazing. An engrossing, vivid, funny, and important book about three women living in Jackson, Mississippi in the s.
Stockett writes in three first-person voices: The Help is "about" race and feminism, but not in an earnest or heavy-handed way. During the climactic party scene, I was wincing and writhing in my seat, so nervous about what was going to happen that I could hardly look at the page. I cared deeply about all of these characters, I was outraged and amused and upset whenever Stockett wanted me to be, and I read for five hours straight without getting restless.
View all 3 comments. Oct 02, Natalie Vellacott rated it really liked it Shelves: What I care about is, if in ten years, a white lady will call my girls dirty and accuse them of stealing the silver. The Help is fiction that reads like non-fiction--probably because it is in large part based on some of the experiences the author had as a child growing up in Mississippi.
She explains this in an additional section at the back of the book. The maids are at first reluctant to share their experiences fearing the backlash from their employers. But are persuaded by a young, ambitious white girl nicknamed Skeeter, who happens to be best friends with Hilly--the white girl who treats her own maid in an appalling manner. Losing friends, a boyfriend and falling rapidly out of fashion with the rest of her social circle, Skeeter eventually produces an anonymous book with fictional characters simply entitled Help.
But what will happen in their small town if the book is published and people start to recognise themselves? The book is related in the first person by several of the maids and by Skeeter herself. The chapters alternate between the different characters. The perspectives are incredibly realistic and the characters well developed on both sides of the racial divide. It is difficult to see who is more shocked by this--their peers or the maids themselves. There were clearly employers who went out of their way to demonstrate care and compassion but others who treated the maids like trash on the street.
It is a good reminder for us, as Christians, that cultural division and attitudes are not an excuse for sinful behaviour. We all have a choice. The Help is also a reminder that God sees what we are doing in secret even though others may not know about it. The book written by the maids exposed all of the behaviours of the employers that they had no doubt expected to be kept hidden--the good, the bad and the ugly.
We need to remember that God sees all of our dealings with others and He will hold us to account. This book is a page turner, the author somehow makes every-day details interesting and I was hooked. I wanted to give it 5 stars and I would have done but for the bad language and fairly regular blasphemy--there are at least fifty swear words in the book.
There are also some graphic details of a miscarriage which may upset some people. I recommend this book. Jul 24, Joanna rated it it was amazing Shelves: I LOVE this book, with it being one of my favorite book ever.
As a child growing up in Atlanta, Lillie Frazier came to our house three times a week. She loved and nurtured me in a way that noone else ever did. She taught me about the power of faith and the power of prayer. I was her favorite and she was my favorite - and everyone knew it! Lillie attended my graduations from high school and college. She remembered my birthday each year, and was always happy to see me come in the door from school. I baked her a pound cake for Christmas each year, and fussed at my brothers if they treated her with anything less than respect.
After Roger and I married, Lillie retired. She phoned me every week or so, giving me support and advice about raising my own children. I visited her twice with the my kids before her death a little over 10 years ago.
What a beautiful, appropriate ending to a terrific book. Definately this book receives my two thumbs up! From my point of view, the story tells us exactly about the life of people living in Mississipi, America in the 19s.
With such wonderful eyesight, Kathryn Stockett has created a novel including different characters with their own special personalities which, on a whole, describes a small society of white people living with their maids - the colored ones. I truly, honestly adore this book since I watched the movie on TV and it helps me broaden my mind as well as knowledge about different lives and people living and working their arse up for a living.
But after all, I think that we are all humans living in the same home called Earth. It is true that we have different skin colors but honestly that is not the factor we should care about. View all 4 comments. Jul 04, Luffy rated it really liked it.
The help has a lot of female characters. I mean a lot. Even when a woman gives birth outside of wedlock, the father is not to be found. Skeeter seems like a well scrubbed character, very upright, with a few flaws hastily thrown in. For a 4 star book, I did have issues with the book.
The latter is too saniti The help has a lot of female characters. The latter is too sanitised. And the ugly side of life is left in the dark. Nevertheless I liked the twists and turns of the book and I feel that it will endure for a long time.
Aibileen reluctantly agrees, but soon finds herself as engrossed in the project as Skeeter. Aibileen brings in her best friend, Minny, a sassy maid who is repeatedly fired for speaking her mind, to tell her story, too. Hearing their stories changes Skeeter as her eyes open to the true prejudices of her upbringing. Aibileen and Minny also develop a friendship and understanding with Skeeter that neither believed possible. Along the way, Skeeter learns the truth of what happened to her beloved maid, Constantine.
Constantine had given birth, out of wedlock, to Lulabelle who turned out to look white even though both parents were black. Neither the black nor the white community would accept Lulabelle, so Constantine gave her up for adoption when she was four years old. This is the climax of the story. The Main Characters Aibileen Clark Aibileen is one of the main characters and narrators in this book.
She quit school as a teenager to support her family. At 53 years of age, she has waited on a total of 18 families.
Aibillen is the first person Skeeter proposes the idea of Help. After three years of working for the Leefolts, Aibileen is fired but went to work at a newspaper until retirement. Minny Jackson Minny is a struggling mother taking care of five children and living with an abusive husband. After moving to a nursing home Minny was jobless. Rumors were spread by Hilly accusing her of being a thief.
Minny finally found a job working for her new friend. Minny was the second person to tell her story to Skeeter Skeeter Phelan Skeeter is a college graduate in her early twenties. She returned to her family farm and saw that her old maid Constantine was gone. Skeeter joins the Junior League, a club filled with prestigious women.
Skeeter feels strongly towards ending segregation in the south. After getting an idea about writing a book, Skeeter consults Aibileen, Minny and other maids to create and anonymous book about southern maids. Celia Foote When Celia moves back to Jackson after many years with her new husband Johnny, she becomes the talk of the town.
After various failed attempts at trying to please Johnny and the Junior League, Celia becomes fed up and fixes her life. She is better at defending herself and continues to treat Minny as a friend rather than a lower-class maid. Hilly Holbrook Hilly is a newly married woman who wants her life and the south to run her way. Not that Hilly is a completely terrible person, but she has ruined multiple lives and postponed some from working. She once spread a rumor that Minny Jackson was a thief so nobody would hire her.
She had one maid beaten and arrested for stealing a cheap ring. Resolution For mostly all the characters, life became better after the book was published.
Skeeter moved to New York to professionally work as a writer. Aibileen worked for the old newspaper and was paid "like a white lady".
In the end, it is a secret about Hilly that Minny reveals in Skeeter's book that silences Hilly. The book becomes a powerful force in giving a voice to the black maids and causes the community of Jackson to reconsider the carefully drawn lines between white and black.
This fictionalized account of the relationships between several rich, proper, lily-white ladies and their "hired" help in Jackson, Mississippi that takes place in the early 's. That setting pits the height of the civil rights movement in the heart of .
The Help study guide contains a biography of Kathryn Stockett, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Book Report: “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett “The Help” is a novel written by the author Kathryn Stockett, published in and was made into a major motion picture in , The storyline is about a young aspiring writer called Skeeter decides to write a book based on how the black women working as maids in white households were .
The Help is set in Jackson, Mississippi and begins in August The novel features three main narrators – Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. year-old Aibileen Clark starts . Just as the political and social climate of proves ripe for Skeeter’s book, these early days of Barack Obama’s administration might give Stockett’s debut a boost. However, even without the timeliness of the racial themes, this novel would touch many hearts. THE HELP is over pages long, but I didn’t want it to end.