The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a timeless novel which shows the peak of racial segregation in America. The novel illuminates upon a time where turbulence and conflict grew as black people pushed harder than ever before for their civil rights. However, it demonstrates how not all areas were in time with these change, especially not in the novel’s setting of Jackson, Mississippi.
Stockett manages to marry together fact and fiction flawlessly, and reflects an unbelievable insight into the lives of black maids and their struggles without descending into fanaticism. The story is narrated by three very different women; Minny, a voluptuous maid whose loose tongue leaves her battling for a job, Aibileen, another maid whose love and devotion to her white children warms the heart, and at the other end of the scale is Miss Skeeter, a white woman who wants to be a writer. She grew up on a plantation and had a deep bond with the black maid who raised her, Constantine, who mysteriously disappeared whilst she was at college.
The Help explicates the stories of these three women and how their lives become interwoven in their pursuit for change, exposure and justice. Skeeter instills the interest of a prestigious New York writer with her proposal to write a book about ‘The Help’ and their stories of working for white people. In the creation of this book, the three women become tied together in a dangerous and tense mission; to expose the cruelty of racism.
Stockett provides us with an overwhelming spectrum of emotion in her writing. The story is an unforgettable and at times, an unbelievable creation. The humour and joviality of many moments lay in stark contrast with the macabre and sickening themes that run throughout. As well as being an all-round brilliant piece of fiction, The Help is also an excellent piece of informative writing. Stockett educates on the ferocity of racial segregation in the Deep South, as well as the plight of the individuals who faced the near-impossible task to get rid of it.