Essay Example on The Help a novel by Kathryn Stockett

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The Help a novel by Kathryn Stockett tells the story of a young woman named Eugenia Skeeter Phelan She persuades African American maids to help write a book of interviews that will ultimately change the way Southerners see their maids forever One of the main characters a black maid named Aibileen trusts Skeeter first and tells her amazing but dark story On the other hand Celia a white upper middle class woman has a mysterious past that shaped her life This book weaves a beautiful tale with many literary skills but identity which defines a person prevails above all Reinforced and shaped through actions and thoughts someone's identity can have an infinite number of possibilities Aibileen and Celia convey the claim that a person's past experiences can alter their present identity First of all Celia shows the idea that a person's past experiences can affect their present identity For example once a naked white man came out of the bushes on Celia s estate Trying to scare the man away Minny comes out of the house and chases after him which escalates to him striking her across the ear Celia noticing this runs out and almost kills the man with a fire poker successfully saving Minny from the man When she looked at Celia Minny thought 



I see it I see the white trash girl she was 10 years ago She was strong She didn't take no shit from nobody 365 Celia originates from the town of Sugar Ditch Mississippi a place Minny describes as as low as you can go in Mississippi 39 The example shows that Celia s past made her strong and independent as she had to survive Sugar Ditch Where Celia comes from the people protect the ones they care about causing her to protect and rescue Minny who could have died from the dangerous man Another example happens when Celia lays in the bathroom with Minny Celia just lost her baby who slipped out of her womb and says laying heartbroken on the bloody bathroom floor how she thought that if I was really still maybe I could hold onto this one 276 The quote above shows how desperately wanted a child for Johnny Fearful of not having a child and upsetting Johnny Celia eventually reveals how she only tells him about the first miscarriage and not the others This unhealthy mentality caused Celia to remain almost completely bedridden for the length of the failed pregnancy and act strangely such as taking a tonic given to her by a Native American Undoubtedly Celia shows how experiences from the past can alter a person s present identity Last but most certainly not least Aibileen also reveals how a person s previous events can alter their present identity One example happens when Treelore her only son dies Treelore an intelligent child tries to help his single mother and while working for extra money slips and accidentally gets crushed by a tractor trailer While reflecting on that horrid day Aibileen says


A bitter seed was planted inside a me 3 This shows that because of Treelore s death she transforms into a less forgiving person Furthermore Aibileen even starts to not tolerate white people as much as she did before which could result in her losing her present and future jobs as the white ladies gossip Aibileen ultimately less welcoming a dark aura enveloping her that only disappears around her boss s baby Mae Mobley who she loves and cares for as her own Aibileen shows another example of identity later on in the story When Skeeter interviews Aibileen for the first time Aibileen stresses about someone finding out about them breaking the law Aibileen fears someone learning about what she is taking part in because she could have her actions revealed to the police or worse targeted and killed by whites as shown throughout the course of the novel Skeeter observes as Aibileen take s a napkin and dabs her forehead She starts to speak but stops herself and walks quickly down the hall When she comes back she holds a towel to her front the way I ve seen Mother do after she vomits 170 Whites have more power money and authority than a black person could ever have Aibileen and others in her community live in constant fear These frightening thoughts drilled in almost to the point of an instinct by Aibileen s family to fear and obey white people This makes her uncomfortable around Skeeter so much so that she vomits from the stress The way her family taught her and the killings of black people molded her identity into a fear and doubt filled person who doesn't even trust Skeeter a white person she knows she can trust Through these examples Aibileen shows how the past shapes present identities In conclusion Celia and Aibileen are perfect examples of that past experiences can alter a person's present identity We this even today how a near death experience can sometimes make someone more religious or how a vicious dog bite creates a lasting phobia of dogs But in contrast positive experiences also shape someone's identity a teacher who cares and believes in a student can create good memories to reflect upon later in life or boost the student's self esteem Still after one has found their identity it still fluctuates throughout life and its different stages


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