"The Help" Research Paper

Topics: White people, Black people, Kathryn Stockett Pages: 6 (1699 words) Published: August 26, 2013
The Help
Civil Rights literature has been in hiding from the millions of readers in the world. Kathryn Stockett’s book, The Help, widely opens the doors to the worldwide readers to the experiences of those separated by the thin line drawn between blacks and whites in the 1960s. Kathryn makes her experiences of the character’s, making their stories as compelling as her own.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett, is a book set in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, told by three different women: Abilene, Minny and Skeeter, in each of their perspectives. Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan is a graduate student whose dream is to become a writer, but when she tries for a position at the local newspaper, she is given the job of writing housekeeping tips. At the time, it wasn’t uncommon to find a black domestic worker doing all the housework so, Skeeter tries to find a ‘help’ for tips. Skeeter turns to Abilene, her friend Elizabeth’s black domestic worker.

During the weekly housekeeping tip meetings, Abilene tells Skeeter about Skeeter’s old nanny, Constantine. Constantine was someone Skeeter loved, but upon returning from college, Skeeter’s parents told her that Constantine had left to go live with family in Chicago. Abilene tells Skeeter otherwise, saying that she’d been fired. This leads to Skeeter’s realization of how differently her friend’s maids are treated in comparison with white employees. She then gathers the three black maids and writes a book about each of their experiences working with the families. Hilly, Skeeter’s childhood friend, goes against the writing of the book because she has a different view of the future integration of Mississippi. In the end, Minny shows Hilly the secrets told in the book, getting Hilly to be quiet. The Help shows the irony of the relationships between the white children and ‘help’ who practically raised them even after the abolition of slavery. “This book becomes the voice the the black maids and causes the community of Jackson to rethink the fine line drawn between blacks and whites”.

Author Biography

Kathryn Stockett was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1969. She was raised by her help, Demetrie. Her mother wasn’t really there for her therefore, Demetrie was the motherly figure in her life. This wasn’t uncommon at the time, infact, it was normal to find the black help cleaning, cooking, and even raising the white children. Demetrie was Kathryn’s best friend, Kathryn not realizing the irony of the intimate relationship she had with her family’s help.

Kathryn’s publishing career began when she graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing. She then returned to Jackson, Mississippi, to find her dear friend Demetrie gone. She finds out that Demetrie hadn’t left on her own like her parents had told her, but instead, Demetrie had been fired by her parents. She now understood the irony of having the black help as her best friend and felt that the current situation with blacks and whites wasn’t right. Kathryn’s parents had just gotten divorced and her mother was constantly pressuring her to start settling down with someone. Kathryn then decided to move to New York City to pursue her career in writing with a job in Magazine publishing. She worked in NYC for about nine years. While working in New York, she wrote The Help because she was feeling homesick. She also wrote Gute Geister and La Couleur Des Sentiments, which also discuss the topic of the black-white relationship in the American South. The Help is now a major motion picture production by Disney.

Kathryn Stockett currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and one of her five children. She doesn’t have any plans on writing a sequel to The Help but is currently writing another novel which she doesn’t plan on publishing anytime soon. She is a very private author who doesn’t disclose much information about her personal life. She was sued by Abilinee Cooper because Mrs. Cooper said...

Bibliography: Kunhadt, Jessie. The Help: Kathryn Stockett’s Controversial Hit. March 18, 2010,
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Lahar, Marie. Book Review: The Help By Kathryn Stockett. March 6, 2012,
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Stockett, Kathryn
Stockett, Kathryn. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. 2010,
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Wikipedia Contributors. The Help. in Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2012,
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