Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Help

We have seen the trailer for the film The Help which will be released next weekend while we waited to watch the last two movies we took in. It looks promising, and it is based on a novel by Kathryn Stockett which was very entertaining, if one can be entertained by a story of banal, everyday, disturbing injustice.

Set in the 1960's, in Jackson Mississippi, The Help invites us into the awakening of a young white woman, Skeeter Phelan, who sets out to write the story of the women of colour who are the poorly paid and disrespected housekeepers in white households. Even though they are good enough to raise the children of their employers these women aren't allowed to use the same bathrooms. Without the courageous assistance of two of these women, Aibileen and Minny, Skeeter's book couldn't become a reality.

There aren't strong religious themes in this novel but religion is present. For the white folk the church justifies the status quo. For the blacks the church is a place of comfort and community and courage in the face of injustice.

Have any of you read the novel? What were your impressions? Are you looking forward to the film?


Laurie said...

I hope the film is better then the book. I read the book. It didn't really do anything for me. It was O.K.

dmy said...

I am half way through the book and can't wait for the movie. It is a compelling story and simplifies the double standard that was accepted as the norm in the 60's. The black women(the Help)raised their employer's white children and learned to love them as their own and these children loved them back going to them for the comfort their parents didn't or couldn't give. The irony is brought to light as these same children become adults, marry and repeat the pattern when their own children come along. The injustice is even more disturbing by the wording and language (written as if spoken by the black women themselves)...simple and powerful words that jump off the page with raw emotions.

lionlamb said...

Thanks for these differing perspectives.

I would agree that To Kill a Mockingbird is isn't, but I appreciate the reminder that so many black people were involved in menial labour but brought dignity to it. Rosa Parks was a seamstress who was already part of a movement toward civil rights before she refused to shift to the back of the bus.