The Help

Kaylee Montanari

Character Analysis

                          The main characters Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter impact each other and influence the story. Aibileen influences Minny by helping her get a job working for Celia Foote after being fired over and over again for talking back to her bosses. Aibileen also is Minny’s best friend. Aibileen influences Skeeter by giving her information for her book about the Help in Jackson. Skeeter wants to make the book in honor of Constantine, her old maid who she loved like a mother. Skeeter’s opinion changes in the beginning of the book, whens he realizes it’s not fair for blacks to be treated the way they are. She does not like the Jim Crow Law and Hilly's law to make blacks have a separate house bathroom, “But then I realize, like a shell cracking open in my head, there's no difference between those government laws and Hilly building Aibileen a bathroom in the garage, except ten minutes' worth of signatures in the state capitol” (Stockett 203). Aibileen starts a revolution by giving black people hope to be noticed and for people outside of Jackson to see the way they are treated. Minny also gives stories to Skeeter to put in her book. Skeeter’s book becomes a success and makes Minny and Aibileen heroes in the Jackson area. Without a doubt, the main characters of this book effect and influence each other in many different ways.

Skeeter, Minny, and Aibileen are heroes in Jackson, Mississippi for publishing the stories of the Help.

Setting Analysis

                   The setting impacts the story of The Help. This book takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960’s. It tells the story of two black maids that help out with white people and about a young white woman who wants to tell the maids stories. The place and time help readers picture what the mood of the book was and how life was back then for black people. Movements like the March on Washington and the bus boycotts were occurring at this time and mentions of actions in the book help shape what time period it takes place in. Skeeter knows that this is the time to show how unfairly blacks are still treated in the south. She decides to try and publish a book with the good and bad stories of the Help. Skeeter’s publisher sees eye to eye about getting the stories out now when she says, "Good. Then get going. Before this civil rights thing blows over” (Stockett 186). Furthermore, the vast farmland and hot weather show that it takes place in the south. The southern dialect and accents also tell how the characters talk and where they are from. Obviously, the setting impacts the story greatly.

Minny and Aibileen talk about their experiences from being the Help while Skeeter writes down any notes she can get.

Thematic Analysis

             The most significant theme in The Help is stereotypes can lead to many misconceptions and unfair treatment. Throughout the entire book, stereotypical things are apparent. White families treat their black maids horribly and unfairly. Treating them without respect, not giving them even minimum wage, and acting like they are completely and utterly stupid are all things that most of the whites did. If a maid messed up one time, she was fired. If she needed any extra money or help for her family, it was not given. Not only were they treated bad, but were thought of to always be uneducated, filthy, diseased people. Even the white people that were nice to their maids sometimes thought the same way. Skeeter wants Aibileen to tell her the stories, but Aibileen is having trouble saying them because of the fear of getting caught and being overwhelmed. Aibileen decided she should write down her stories instead. Skeeter thinks, “I know I’ll have to rewrite everything she’s written, wasting even more time” (Stockett 174). Skeeter doesn’t realize that Aibileen could write and was educated because of the misconception that all blacks are not smart. Clearly, the most significant theme in The Help is that stereotypes can lead to problems and unfair treatment.


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