The Help is Kathryn Stockett's debut novel. It has been favored by the critics as a highly readable and accurate portrayal of life in Jackson, Mississippi during the early civil rights movement. Toby Clements at The Telegraph says of The Help, “Each of the many relationships between the large cast of characters is perfectly captured, and there is a layer after layer of irony....but most impressive—and attractive—is the blend of rage and humor with which she writes and that is what makes this novel at once so horrifying and yet so savagely funny.” While most critics have hailed the novel as a success, some have criticized Stockett for her use of outdated dialect. Janet Maslin from the New York Times, said, “The trouble on the pages of Skeeter's book is nothing compared with the trouble Ms. Stockett's real book risks getting into. Here is a debut novel by a Southern-born white author who renders black maid's voices thick, dated dialect.” However, Janet Maslin praises the novel later on in the same review, saying that Aibileen's and Minnie's voices “leap off the page in all their warm, three-dimensional glory.”
Heller McAlpin at the Christian Science Monitor says of The Help, “By addressing not just the injustices but the inexplicable love' that flourishes between servants and their employees, 'The Help' arouses both admiration and indignation.”
The consensus among critics is that The Help is an accurate and highly readable novel set in the south in 1962, accurately portraying the lives of black maids and the white women who employed them.
Essay The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
1143 Words5 Pages
Feminist theory is a term that embraces a wide variety of approaches to the questions of a women’s place and power in culture and society. Two of the important practices in feminist critique are raising awareness of the ways in which women are oppressed, demonized, or marginalized, and discovering motifs of female awakenings. The Help is a story about how black females “helped” white women become “progressive” in the 1960’s. In my opinion, “The Help” I must admit that it exposes some of our deepest racial, gender, and class wounds as individuals and social groups, and that the story behind the story is a call to respect our wounds and mutual wounding so that healing may have a chance to begin and bring social…show more content…
For example, when Celia was afraid to tell her husband about the maid she hired without his knowledge and kept it a secret because she had not got his permission for making that type of decision. Also the mere fact that Minny was afraid and pressured Celia into telling her husband and I believe they both knew what the consequences would be if he found out. However, when he did find this black women in his house I feel like the author down played what really might have happened especially during this time period. Also the author swoops in several times to play omnipresent narrator in order to rehabilitate the white male characters stating Stuart is an “good man” on their final meeting, and that her father is an “honest” man, yet she admits she’s never known his stance on integration or blacks even though he has a number of African American workers on his plantation/farm as referred to many times in the novel. There are five white female characters that help make up The Help and the only blacks being the maids themselves. One is the protagonist, Miss Skeeter Phelan who in my opinion is only viewed this way because she is the one supposedly helping the black women out by exposing the inequalities and injustices that black women faced during this time period but I feel she used them to empower herself as a white women and progress in her own life. Another white female character is Hilly Holbrook