Essay Example on The Help takes place in Jackson Mississippi during the early 1960s

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English Independent Reading Assignment Independent Responses The Help takes place in Jackson Mississippi during the early 1960s or the Civil Rights crisis in the South The novel begins with African American maid Aibileen Clark nursing Mae Mobley a white toddler who has been neglected by her mother and is under the care of Clark Later Clark is invited to join for supper at the Leefolts house She is accompanied by Hilly Holbrook and Eugenia Phelan However this supper turns sour when Phelan is appalled by Holbrook s idea to have outhouses built for all white families in Mississippi that own black employees So the maids decide to team up and attempt to expose Holbrook and her corruptive methods Along the way Clark s only son Treelore died in a work accident He slipped off the shipping dock at the mill and was pancaked by a tractor trailer Emotionally touched by this Phelan has a plan to write a book called Help which describes what life is like living in a racially torn Mississippi This follows Treelore s aspiration to write a book regarding life of a black man in Mississippi All the maids converge together to publish the book much to Holbrook s displeasure When the book spreads around the state Mississippians get a taste of what corrosive ways Holbrook is using to manipulate the rich and or white women in her community Infuriated Clark is fired and tells Mae that she is a gorgeous and intellectual girl With Clark s life hitting the reset button she starts a new life by writing about her life and the others around her good and bad 



2 3 The protagonists of The Help are Aibileen Clark Minny Jackson and Eugenia Phelan Skeeter is her nickname throughout the novel Hilly Holbrook is the antagonist Hilly s main goal in the novel is to manipulate the white women in Mississippi to support her dominance of segregation and racial superiority by threatening intimidating and blackmailing African American women In addition to this Holbrook tries to pass the Home Help Sanitation Initiative Bill which would tell all white families in Mississippi to build outhouses for all black employees 4 5 Some questions that I have are Who was Stockett s favorite character to write about What is her response to the novel receiving racial criticism and Why does Hilly have such disdain towards the African American community Colic Frequent crying from babies with symptoms that include arching while crying and having a red hot flushed face Manuscript A document that is handwritten compared to being typed or printed Wainscoting Wooden panelling that lines the lower panelling in a room Plumb To measure or test the depth of something Satchel A handbag with a long strap and is closed by a flap 6 I have not read any other literary piece by Kathryn Stockett However The Help sounds similar to To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee In The Help the maids fight for change in a racially divided Mississippi In To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch a well respected lawyer in Alabama stands up for Tom Robinson who has been accused by the Ewell s of rape Both novels display that blacks had little to no rights during segregation but the listed characters fight for what s best equality The novel can also be related to a song called War by Bob Marley 



The song talks about how Marley disagrees with racism and humane or governmental action needs to be done to help combat racism and to make life a bit more sociable and safe There was a movie about The Help made in 2011 Both versions still take place in Jackson Mississippi Hilly is still greedy and is manipulative the book Help is still published and others The differences in the film Mrs Leefolt seems to be more genteel to the maids Aibileen earns a journalism job whereas in the book she didn t Also she confronts Hilly to tell her that she lies to gain control of others in order to get what she wants 7 8 I believe that Stockett s intent for writing this book is to help show readers the hatred and unfair strictures that African Americans had to go through during the 1960s and the despised Jim Crow Laws in the South In addition to this the South was oblivious to the segregations and any person including African Americans were punished through brute force or potentially a shunning or death I also believe that Stockett wrote The Help to shed some light onto the grim situations and why segregation tore the nation apart 9 10 I would recommend The Help as a class reading because although the book can be very sensitive to certain audiences the common topic of racial injustice would be an excellent idea for a class discussion and potentially a research project about racism today compared to racism during the 1960s Also this book would also be a great book to understand the morale that people should be treated equal and have the same respect and values that everyone has and what makes them unique



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