After receiving a Job at the Jackson Journal writing for the home cleaning section, she goes to Abilene, Elizabethan colored maid, for help. She and Abilene develop a close relationship over time through the columns. She comes up with the idea to write a controversial book with points of views from the help with encouragement from a New York editor and memories from her own maid, Constantine. Hilly Holbrook, who was one of Setter’s best friends, provides her with motivation after strongly imposing segregation with her bathroom sanitation initiative.
Abilene Clark, the Leaflet’s maid, and Ninny Jackson, Cilia’s maid, are two aids that are affected by Hilly bathroom sanitation initiative. Ninny was once Hilly maid but was fired and now is Miss Cilia’s maid. With the help of Beeline’s determination, she convinces Ninny to help with the stories too and eventually get other maids to Join in. After their book is published, it becomes very popular and controversial quickly. Thanks to the books success, Skitter is then offered a position up in New York.
She accepts it and offers Abilene her Job as the columnist for the Miss Mourn piece. This opens up doors and creates new opportunities for the black race in Mississippi. II. THEME Each child of God is different, however, that does not mean we need to treat them as such. Everyone wants to be treated with love, dignity, and respect, so we should treat them that way, wither they are like us or not. This is the major theme of The Help. No matter what race or if the individual has been educated or not, everyone deserves the same equality and respect anyone would want.
Everyone who walks through life should remember this rule and apply it every day. This is vital to our society and to how we treat others. The author’s attitude towards equality for everyone is made obvious through the novel by her character’s dialogue. This theme becomes clear when Skitter goes to the library and ends up taking out a segregation law book. As she read through the book, she was amazed at the weirdest, simplest laws that separated them or what they could and could not do. “l read through four or five pages, mesmerism’s by the laws that separate us…
But then I realized, like a shell creaking open in my head, there’s no difference between those government laws and Hilly building Abilene a bathroom in the garage, except ten minutes’ worth of signatures in the state capitol (Stocked 203)”. Skitter acts differently than what Hilly or Elizabeth would, because she was brought up the morally right way by her maid, could take away from her. This relates to theme because she could not image being treated that way or having to live that way either. Towards the middle of Stockpot’s novel, Ninny is at Cilia’s house.
Suddenly, she is being attacked by some crazed racist white man. To her surprise, Celia comes out and knocks the lights out of him. The following is Ninny’s response: “… In the back o my head, there’s this voice asking me real calm, like we’re Just having tea out here. Is this really happening? Is a white woman really beating up a white man to save me? Or did he shake my brain pan loose and I’m over there dead on the ground… (363)”. Ninny is in such astonishment that Celia would come out and do that for her. Hilly would have pushed her in front of herself! Celia shows the theme quite well here.
During the Civil Rights movement, any white person would have cared less if another white person attacked their help. Because Celia grew up in Sugar Dutch, she does not have the same value influences like Elizabeth and Hilly might have. Towards the end of Stockpot’s novel, Abilene has rowan older and is now caring for two kids in the Left house. Skitter now tells Abilene she has gotten a letter to go to New York and work for Miss Stein. When she goes, someone will need to take over the Miss Mourn columns at the Jackson Journal. Here, Skitter gives Abilene the chance to take over for her.
She also includes that she will receive the same amount of pay as she did. To this, Abilene responds, “Me? Working for the white newspaper? I go to the sofa and open thee notebook, see them letters and articles from past times. Miss Skitter set beside me (512)”. This is Abilene basically conquering the issue of racism. The fact that Miss Skitter put in such a good word about her that she got the Job without an interview says wonders. In The Help, there was also a minor theme. Skitter demonstrated a quality most young women do not obtain, which is sense of self or security. It’s until after I mail the letter that I realize I probably chose those ideas she would think to be impressive rather than the ones I was really interested in (84)”. Skitter lists a variety of ideas that she would write about and mails it to Miss Stein, part of Harper & Row Publishing Company. Skitter realized after mailing her letter to Miss Stein that the epics she Wanted’ to write about she was not at all passionate about. By writing the bookвЂ?along with the other maidsвЂ?she was taking a huge risk that involves their own self-security and going outside their comfort zone.
Skitter was willing to go outside of hers in order to make difference. Along with Skitter, the maids also wanted a better world for their children and their children to come. Ill. DICTION The plot of Astrakhan’s novel moved through the dialogue of the characters and their tone. The story is mostly told through narrative and uses dialogue between characters for clarification on the subject if it is needed. In certain parts of the novel, the narrators’ thoughts would help the readers understand what was going on and what they were feeling.
In less important sections, the author uses dialogue being exchanged between the characters. The author gives its three narrators, Skitter, Abilene, and Ninny a southern sounding slang. For an example, “Mister Johnny, this anti none a my business. But I can tell you Miss Celia anti having no relations outside a this house’ (163)”. With Astrakhan’s brilliant writing, the readers can hear the southern slang Ninny is using in their head as they read. All of the maids talk with improper grammar and slang when they are talking to each other and their bosses’. Roper, implying they have been educated. They are often talked down to because most of the white people think that they would not have understood what they were saying to them. “Abilene, she’s up. Goon and get her now. I can’t lift a nail file with my back… Go on and get eh salads ready now, we’re all waiting’ (353)”. Here, the readers see Miss Left talking down to her maid in a demanding tone. Throughout the novel, Kathy provides her readers with many vivid images. One of The Helps elements of word choice is made through the use of vivid images.
The novel uses these to have readers paint an eloquent picture of what if being described to them. For instance when Ninny is cleaning off the bear in Miss Cilia’s house, she gives the audience a vivid description: First, I swat at the dust with my broom, but it’s thick matted up in his fur. All this does is move the dust around. So I take a cloth and try and wipe him down, but I squawk every time that wiry hair touches my hand… ‘ go get the Hoover. I suck the dirt off and except for a few spots where I sucked too hard and thinned him, I think it worked out pretty good. 50) This description of the dust on the ear and how she cleaned it shows the author’s use of vivid imagery perfectly and how well it is used to make one imagine how dirty and difficult it must have been to clean the bear. Kathy Stocked uses more short sentences rather than a long sentence style. Mostly all the narrators use a short sentence style when talking or thinking to themselves. “l feel my lip curling. A course we different! Everybody know colored people and white people anti the same. But we still Just people! (218)”. This, along with many other examples, shows how Kathy used a short sentence style when writing.
However, Stocked also provided her readers with long sentences as well. She would most often do this with Skitter since she had the most education. “As she brushed and smoothed and brushed and smoothed, Mother kept asking how I’d met him and what happened on our last date, but I managed to scoot out from under her and dash down the stairs, shaking with wonder and nervousness of my own… (199)”. Kathy also allowed Abilene to use long sentences as well but not very often. Most of the characters spoke with short sentences to imply what their feeling or due to the fact that they had little or no education.
These sentences also let the readers experience how people in the south had talked during the sass’s. The sentence structure definitely contributed to the mood and tone throughout the story. The dialect the author portrays in the novel reflects the time and place the story takes place in. Due to the segregation, each of the narrator’s dialect was different because of their lack of education and age. During the Civil Rights movement and before, most blacks did not have the change to go to college or even finish high school to continue their education. When comparing Setter’s grammar to Ninny or
Beeline’s, their diction seems very poor and lacking. The readers can see this in the way they talk and communicate with their families they are helping, such as, “And I said, ‘Can’t afford no air condition’. Them things eat current like a boll weevil on cotton (254)”. Stocked has a distinct style she adds to her characters by giving them certain attitudes and words they use that flow very well with their personality and character. The theme of race and education becomes apparent in the dialogue of the characters. The greatest example of this is seen when Abilene is talking to Mae inside, the women she gone grow up to be…
And she is remembering the words I put into her head. Remembering as a full grown women (521)”. Abilene teaches Mae Mobile about teaching everyone with respect no matter what color they are and during their final goodbyes, it’s almost like she can see the wisdom she has instilled in her. Stocked does a great Job of using the diction to support the subject and theme through the characters and their narration. ‘V. TONE The tone of The Helps diction provides the audience and its readers with the feeling of hope. Through the book, the audience is hoping that things will change between the blacks and the whites.
The feeling of hope is also found in Ms. Stein. By Ms. Stein approving the book, it will show the state of Mississippi Just how much these women and men truly do for the white people. Hope is also found in Leroy and Ninny’s relationship. The readers are hoping that Ninny will take her kids and leave Leroy for a better life. An underlying tone of this novel is that of frustration and bravery. In the state of Mississippi, it is made evident the maids are most likely not liked by their bosses. The help is constantly talked down to which is frustrating in the fact that they are people too; why treat them any differently?
At first, most maids are reluctant to Beeline’s and Ninny’s cry for more maids for Setter’s novel. After the K. K. K shot someone who was dear to their community and sending a woman to Jail for ‘stealing, they have decided they have had enough, they are frustrated. These women take their frustration and turn it into bravery. Those women were all aware of the consequences for their actions, however, they were brave. They are brave because they know the penalties for their actions but desperately want change for their future generations. Skitter also shows a sense of bravery.
She does this by standing up for hat she truly believes in, even if she was standing alone. V. SYMBOLISM In The Help, the readers can observe Stocked using characters, objects, and events to get across powerful messages in her novel. She hints at danger, passion, value, invisible boundaries, and peace and hope along with other properties to give the story a deeper meaning and help the readers fully understand the universal meaning. These symbols can be seen throughout the book and tie to the theme and mood of the story in ways that might be overlooked by readers.
Throughout the novel, Mae Mobile is the symbol for hope in the future enervation. Mae Mobile is the daughter of Missus and Mister Left. Abilene, the Leaflet’s maid, takes care of her and helps her grow up to be the right young lady. The earliest hint that the readers can infer that Mae Mobile is the symbol of hope for the future generation is when Abilene instills her wise words in her. “l look down at Baby Girl, who I know, deep down, I can’t keep from turning out like her mama. And all of it together roll on top a me… Law help me, but something gone have to be done (33)”.
This is where Abilene sees that Mae Mobile is hope, hope for the future generations. Fearing that she will turn out to be like her mama or, even worse, Miss Hilly, she tries to instill good values and qualities in her. One day when Mae Mobile asks Abilene to tell her a story, she tells her a story about two little girls with different colored skin but still had the same everything. When it’s time for Abilene to go, she makes sure that Mae Mobile still remembers everything she had taught her. Eyes, like she done lived a thousand years. And I swear I see, down inside, the woman she gone grow up to be.
A flash from the future… And she is remembering the words I put in her head (521)”. This is where the readers can see that Mae Mobile is the hope and the answer the future generation needs. Skitter, later in the beginning of the novel, starts to carry around an ugly red satchel. In that satchel, she keeps the maids testimonies she has been working on, the segregation law book, Hilly bathroom sanitation initiative and the Miss Mourn columns. Her ugly red satchel symbolizes rebellion, danger, and passion. The red mostly represents the rebellion and danger seen in the stuff that her satchel carries.
The symbols that her satchel represents fit perfectly to its description. Red also presents passion, and in it she carries her passion. These books and testimonies are very dangerous and totally rebels over everything she was taught to believe as a little girl by her mama and peers. On November eighth, Abilene lost her son, Trolley. “Three years ago today, Trolley died. But by Miss Leaflet’s book it’s still floor-cleaning day (114)”. On that day, she lost and she gained something. She lost her son, who was very intelligent and had a lot of potential. However, she gained a new trait in her personality.
She gained some gassiness to her. That day symbolizes what she calls a seed. She claims that his death planted a bitter, angry seed inside her that seems to grow whenever she is bossed around by white folks. However, she gains peace when the book comes out; telling Miss Skitter that Trolley always told her that there would be a writer in the family someday and guess it had been her all along. Another symbol is The Helps book cover in the book. When the book is published, a copy is sent to Miss Skitter. That book cover is a light blue, the color of the sky, and has a white dove on it. Miss Skitter say the peace dove be the sign for better times to come. Say folks is wearing me on they clothes out in California’ (462)”. The white dove stands for peace and love. It’s on the cover of the book as a symbol for better times to cone and change that they hope the book shall bring upon the town of Jackson and its people. Hilly comes up with a bathroom sanitation initiative that the surgeon general approves. This is a symbol of the invisible boundary that separates the blacks and whites. This is what initially gets Skitter interested in the rights of the opposite race.
Hilly asks Skitter, who is in charge of the monthly newsletter for the League, to include it in this month’s letter. When Skitter looks at it and how her relationship with Abilene has come along, she sees Hilly initiative as unfair. Skitter sees that are separate but not even being treated like human beings let alone ‘equal’. VI. SPEAKER In Kathy Stockpot’s novel, there are three different narrators to represent three different point views speaking in the first person that re name and involved. The main narrator is Skitter Phalanx, a young educated white woman, who also speaks in the first person.
The narrators demonstrate this by being involved in the action of the Tory, observing everything in their point of view by using “l”, “me”, or “we”. The narrators are not omniscient, or all knowing. VI’. STRUCTURE chapters are divided into the different points of views and attitudes. The book begins with Abilene giving the readers some of her background and about Mae Mobile. Astrakhan’s novel ends with Abilene leaving the Leaflet’s house forever and what new life she has ahead of her. The story follows the order of time. The books external structure also contributes to the organization of The Help.
It is a paperback book. This novel starts out with a dedication page and critic’s positive views about Astrakhan’s book. The novel consists of five-hundred and twenty-two pages that are divided into thirty-four chapters. At the end of the book, there is an acknowledgment page, commentary made by Kathy, and then a reader’s guide for The Help. Evil. IMAGERY The author, Kathy Stocked, uses figurative language in various ways throughout her novel. By using figurative language, the readers can see firsthand Astrakhan’s own personal touch she adds to her novel.
The author’s figurative language helps support the theme and diction of the characters. One of the first examples of imagery that is mound is in the seventh chapter. While Abilene is at the Leaflet’s house caring for Elizabethan daughter, Mae Mobile, decides to come out and sit with the help rather than her own mother. In her thoughts, she says, “She like one a them baby chicken that get confused and follow the ducks around instead” (106). Abilene uses a simile to compare Mae Mobile, a confused toddler, who follows around the African- American help to a baby chicken following around ducks instead of her own kind.
Abilene hints at the internal hurt that Mae Mobile feels from her mother’s disregard toward her. Abilene says this is the reason for confusion. Towards the middle of the novel, onomatopoeia is shown. This is used to show the action of the character through sound, “Crack! (363)”. This sound was made by Miss Cilia’s fist when she punches an intruder in the face while protecting Ninny. The intruder tries to attack Ninny because of her race. The sound is made to show the audience how hard she punched the man. This is also made to show the readers how Celia and Ninny have come to care for one another.
When Skitter tells her mother that the man waiting for her on the porch is the state senator’s son, the author implies Missus Phalanx’s shock wrought a hyperbole. “Mother’s Jaw drops so far it hits her string of pearls (196)”. Setter’s mother is so shocked to have the state senator’s son unexpectedly visit her daughter at such an odd hour considering Skitter has never been visited by a man. Throughout the novel, the author stresses Setter’s mother’s disappointment in the lack of interest her daughter has had in men. So when the state senator’s son shows up at the door, she is taken by surprise.
It is a hyperbole because it is clear she is exaggerating saying that her mother’s mouth dropped so far it hit her necklace. While Ninny is at Miss Cilia’s house, she has noticed that Miss Celia has been acting weird. When she goes up to clean the bathroom, she figures out that Miss Celia has locked herself in there. Worried, Ninny asks her repeatedly if she is okay; she says yes but is unconvinced. Finally, Ninny breaks down the door to discover Celia pale and limp, leaning against the bathtub. After talking to her and lifting up the toilet seat, she discovers she has Just had her second miscarriage, to which she responds, “Oh Lordly (275)”.
Kathy uses an apostrophe to express Ninny’s sympathy and sawflies. It is an apostrophe because Ninny is addressing the Lord for help, who by curious, noisy women who are concerned about Setter’s love life. After she has confirmed the rumors, that yes, she is in fact seeing Stuart Whither. After being interrogated by the whole room, Skitter explains to the readers how she feels by using reification. “The white spotlight of wonder follows me as I make my way to Hilly (205)”. She says this because she is not using to this much attention paid towards her. Kathy gives concrete abilities to something that is not really there.
There is no footlight following her and wonder cannot follow people either. Kathy uses personification to bring Setter’s chapter to life. Skitter wakes up in a cold night sweat from a shrilling scream. “The green-veined wallpaper is snaking up the walls (487)”. This is a personification because Kathy is giving an inhuman object human quality. The green wallpaper is in Setter’s room. When she is awoken by a scream, her room feels eerie, like something has changed. She feels eerie enough that the wallpaper appears to be moving around her. Another form of imagery Kathy presents is irony of the situation.
Miss Skitter decides to meet Abilene in her neighborhood strictly for colored people. Skitter is somewhat surprised by what she sees when it is not what she had expected. “l guess I thought it would be like visiting Constantine, where friendly colored people waved and smiled, happy to see the little white girl whose daddy owned a big farm. But here, narrow eyes watch me pass by (121)”. Before going over to Abilene house, she thinks that her neighborhood will be just like what she remembers Constantine to be. However, when she arrives at Beeline’s house, she is very surprised at what she sees.
It is nothing like what Constantine was. After Ninny is fired by Hilly and her mother, Abilene helps her find work. Abilene recommends Ninny to Miss Celia during a phone call. Upon her arrival, she is greeted by Miss Celia covered in flour and sugar. When asked if she was cooking something she replied, “none of those upside-down cakes from the magazines? She sighs. ‘It anti working out too good’ (37)”. However, when Minnie walking into the kitchen it looks like a boom of flour went off. Kathy uses litotes to imply to her readers how much help Miss Celia needs.
It is classified as litotes because it is not working out at all. X. GENRE The Help is an example of a historical fiction novel. According to The Handbook to Literature by William Harmon, “Fiction whose setting is in some other time than which it is written (Harmon and Holman 270)”. This novel fits perfectly in this classification because The Help was written about the Civil Rights movement, which took place in the sass’s, and was released in 2009. Stocked often wrote about how much the Civil Rights movement during the sass’s had on the maids and their families and how they were treated as an affect of it.