The Help

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1.10 Reading Response
The Help (Novel) – Kathryn Stockett
In the novel The Help, the author Kathryn Stockett examines the idea of one’s pursuit of happiness, and what makes one truly happy. Stockett depicts this idea through three separate aspects in the novel. Firstly, she shows the huge prospects of happiness through the relationship between Skeeter, Minny and Aibileen. Additionally, Stockett portrays the pursuit of happiness of Miss Celia, and thus uncovers what qualities create true happiness. Finally, the author emphasises aspects of happiness through the contrast in the ‘two societies’ we see in Jackson, Mississippi. Stockett throughout the text, consistently shows the limitless levels of one’s happiness through friendships, as a result of the depiction of the relationship between Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. Both Aibileen and Minny are both black maids, while Skeeter , at the beginning of the book, is depicted as an upper class white woman. As the book progresses, Skeeter is outlawed because of her relationship with Minny and Aibileen. This shows that Miss Skeeter chose to continue her friendship with these black maids as opposed to being ‘compliant’ with upper class woman. This is because, the friendship which grew and the happiness of these people broke down the barriers of racism and segregation, which were major issues in the novel. The happiness and self-fulfilment in this relationship can be seen through Aibileen’s thoughts; “God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free. And I got to thinking about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done”. This example shows, for Aibileen, that her friendships, even with her sworn enemies in society, are the ones that make her truly happy, and that real friendship is not necessarily what society’s image says it is. This idea can be extended to many other...