"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett: Book Review

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“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett: Book Review

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Importance of Writing

During this time period of extreme prejudice and the segregation of colors, it was hard to voice an opinion that would go against the social normality of treating blacks as inferior. Writing was a way that people were able to tell the world how they felt on important topics, whether basing their writings on true stories or creating a whole new one. This activity is able to promote positive energy and self esteem as authors are finally able to release how they feel on topics they have always stayed quiet on. Narrators Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter work together during a time of segregation and violence to reveal a number of different point of views on the help. Skeeter believes the only way to make a change in the violent and frustrating time they were going through in Jackson, Mississippi was to show the truth about working as a black maid for a white family, the good and the bad parts. Though this put everyone writing the story in danger, they felt it was worth the risk to make a difference in the world. In The Help by Kathryn Stockett, the author shows the importance of writing as the characters work to end the immense prejudice and racism they are forced to live with everyday.

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Writing is a way to escape from the real world and express your feelings in a way you can not do with anything else. You are able to state your opinions of what makes you happy, upset, what annoys you or what you feel needs to be heard. While talking with Elaine Stein, the New York agent that published The Help, Skeeter receives a great quote. “Don't waste your time on obvious things. Write about what disturbs you; particularly if it seems to bother no one else. (Stockett 83)" Stein shows that the importance of writing is to express opinions that will get people thinking and cause conversations. Isn’t the goal in writing something to try and get people to understand? Skeeter hopes by getting this book out there, she will get people in her town to try and understand that blacks are people too, just as much as they are. The main purpose of the book being to start the talking and lighten some peoples minds.

Another topic that shows the importance of writing and its ability to change peoples minds is the fact that because the segregation laws are written down, people believe they have to follow them. That somehow by having them on paper it makes it more official. One day while in the library, Skeeter finds a booklet titled Compilation of Jim Crow Laws of the South, a book filled with laws made to separate the colors. She is shocked by the large amount of rules that are enforced to keep them apart. “”Separate but equal” Miss Hilly say back to Mrs Leefolt,”That’s what Governor Ross Barnett says is right, and you can’t argue with the government. (Stockett 218)” Hilly says to Leefolt as she tells her about finding Skeeters book, arguing that because official people said it and believe in the books rules, its automatically correct. That there is no possible way they could be wrong and you can not argue with their opinions. During this time, whites did not see a problem with how they were treating blacks, although their actions towards them were extremely racist. Darker color does not equal lesser of a being, and sadly no one seemed to grasp this idea.

Throughout the novel we are able to see that writing is a big part of this time period. It is how everyone communicates, how news is reported, what everything is revolved around. From this it is easy to understand that a book like The Help could make a huge difference in how colored people are treated. “Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, we are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.( Stockett 492)” After speaking with Lou Anne, Skeeter is left to think about how much you really do not know about a person. Although you may think you know what they are going through or how great their life is, reality can surprise you. We all have our struggles and the color of our skin does not change that. In the end, we are all the same. We all feel emotions and deal with life’s conflicts just like each other. She realizes thats what she truly wants people to get from this book, that there is not much difference between them all. By writing this book, she will be able to make a huge difference in how people see colored people and help them realize their similarities.

Writing has been an extremely important part of our world for hundreds of years. This being one of the biggest reasons we are able to know what occurred before we were here. Without these writings, we would have no idea about our history or how to voice our opinions to the world. Authors use this activity as an outlet to express how they feel on topics that they can’t or won’t speak about publicly. Throughout this story, dozens of maids come forward to tell their stories, whether good or bad, about their lives as the help. These women have worked so hard to be where they were and they were taken for granted simply because of their skin color. During this time, the Jim Crow Laws control all segregation, while racial tension continues to rise. Black help work everyday raising white babies while their parents, who only care about them every once in a while, teach them to hate colored people. By writing this story, Skeeter and the helpers wish to change peoples minds and begin a revolution in racial equality. They feel that the darkness of their skin should have nothing to do with how they are treated, or the opportunities they are given. Skeeters main goal overall, was to make people think about what they are doing and consider the possibility that it was not fair.

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