By Kathryn Stockett, the American novelist, “The Help” has gained much praise for its courageous depiction of how black maids were treated working in the households of white people. It was published in 2009, and it is based on the 1960s in the town called Jackson in Mississipi. It also received a film adaptation.
A Brief Look Through the Story
This novel follows the lives of three women. First, we meet Aibileen Clark, who is an older maid, and she had lost her son to a road accident. She works in Leefold residence taking care of their youngest, Mae Mobley. Aibileen has a friend by the name Minny Jackson who struggles to keep any employment. She, however, works in the home of Mrs. Walters currently. Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ is a woman from a rich-roots who prefers supporting black people by giving them jobs. She is a college graduate and follows her dreams of succeeding in the writing industry. Her mother wants her to get married instead. Skeeter is in search of a missing maid called Constantine who played a big part in her upbringing. Constantine had quit while Skeeter was in school. Skeeter had a gift she intended to give Constantine.
Skeeter starts looking into the disappearance of her friend, and while conducting her investigation, she realizes that in Jackson, black maids are being subjected to difficult conditions. She decides to bring this to the attention of the public through writing, and hence, she finds a publisher. The black maids are, however, reluctant to talk about their struggles since it was risky for them in the ’60s.
Minny gets fired once more by Mrs. Walters but lands on her feet by getting a job with Celia Foote. Skeeter is with her posh friends in the Leefolt residence for casual interaction, and they suggest that the black maids should build their toilets so they cannot use the same ones with the white people. This infuriates Skeeter, but she hides it. She approaches Abileen, and they decide to join forces to change the conditions in Jackson.
Abileen and Minny are onboard, and Skeeter is working hard so that she can get to the top at her job in the paper so that she can get the opportunity to publish her views. Other maids are still afraid to assist. Skeeter starts to speak out about the racism she had seen, and she starts being a pariah in the society and to her friends too. One of the maids at Hilly’s house steals from her to pay for her son’s education, who was in college. This causes an uproar in the town. She gets arrested. The other maids finally step up and combine forces Skeeter to try and change things. They share their stories. Some are about generous employers, and others are portrayed to resemble slave owners of the past. Skeeter starts to understand what these women have been undergoing. Her book gets released, and its impact becomes felt among the towns. Maids receive better treatment. Skeeter learns that her mother fired Constantine for an altercation with her daughter but regrets it. She could have given back her job, but Constantine passed away before the chance.