Kathyrn Stockett's compelling debut novel The Help
investigates the relationship between black and white women in 1960s Mississippi. At the center of the novel are Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny, three women who have grown dissatisfied with the way things are. Each woman's life has been difficult in its own way, but all three see the stratified, racist society of Jackson, Mississippi as partly responsible. They band together to effect change, but their efforts result in something far different than what they originally expected. They soon realize that the ties that bind in this hierarchical society are not straightforward or clear-cut.
With vibrant language, memorable characters, and excellent pacing, The Help
contemplates what it means to live in the trenches of injustice. Though Stockett's insightful novel primarily meditates on the domestic...
Beyond the Book
As Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny begin their project, the Civil Rights Movement is boiling to high heat. It is 1963 and President Kennedy has just spoken out in support of Civil Rights; however, the message has yet to penetrate Mississippi where Medgar Evers was just brutally murdered by segregationist whites. This example of racial violence gives Aibileen and Minny pause as they consider the repercussions of what they are doing with Skeeter, but they decide to forge ahead because things need to change.
Medgar Evers's murder resounded across the country and was seen as an example of...