Interracial Relationships Essay

Submitted By mscristinacortez
Words: 1464
Pages: 6

Cristina Cortez
Professor Angelici
Writing 111
30 April 2014
Interracial Relationships In Kathryn Stockett’s, The Help, Skeeter writes a book that shows the peak of racial segregation. Minny and Aibileen are very close friends, and they are both maids in Jackson, Mississippi. Skeeter, Elizabeth, and Hilly are white ladies who are friends in a bridge club together. Hilly seems to have friends, but they are not genuine. Hilly treats her mother with no respect and sends her to a nursing home. Although Hilly is very demanding, she is in control and gets what she wants. In Jackson society, there are “rules” of what black woman can or cannot do. It is like they live in a completely different world. Whites and blacks are not supposed to be friends because of a “line” that exists that separate them. But because of this “line” of separation, all the white ladies have black maids that help with the cleaning and caring of their children. Racial boundaries are manifestations in our own minds, like they are between Hilly and Aibileen. Therefore, relationships are formed by caring and having common interests for one another, like Aibileen and Skeeter do, while Hilly bases friendships on power and dominance. Aibileen works for Elizabeth, so Aibileen has to take care of her daughter, Mae Mobley. Aibileen and Mae Mobley have a different relationship than other babies she has taken care of. It is a different relationship because Aibileen has a seed of bitterness planted inside her after Treelore, her son, died. In an article by Jackie Crosby, it mentions the love Aibileen had for her babies, “There's Aibileen, the wise and gentle soul whose heart breaks every time one of the white babies she loves so much grows up to ‘become just like they mama’” (Crosby). So she teaches Mae Mobley something she has never taught any of her other children because she wants to avoid Mae Mobley turning out like her mother, Elizabeth. Aibileen has a maternal love for Mae Mobley and Mae Mobley, shows her love to Aibileen as well. Aibileen continually reminds Mae Mobley how smart and kind she is throughout the novel. On Mae Mobley’s third birthday, she asks Aibileen how many babies she had and Aibileen responds by saying she had 17. But Mae Mobley responds by saying, “I’m your real baby. Those other ones you said are pretend” (Stockett 336). We also see this type of affection at the end of the novel when Aibileen says goodbye to Mae Mobley. Saying goodbye is difficult because the maids grow to love the children and they treat them like they are their own. When Aibileen says goodbye to Mae Mobley she asks her, “Do you remember what I told you?” (520) and Mae Mobley says, “You is kind […] you is smart. You is important” (521). Aibileen left an imprint on Mae Mobley and wishes she could have done that for her other 17 children. The difference between this baby and Aibileen’s other babies is that she is not showing Mae Mobley that there is no “line” that separates races. Aibileen tells Mae Mobley many stories. For example, she tells her about two little girls that have a different skin color. The story had no plot but Aibileen told Mae Mobley that the two little girls had hair, a nose, and toes. Therefore, it showed Mae Mobley that they had similarities regardless of their color. Aibileen also told her another story about Martin Luther King. She mentions that he looks exactly like humans but is green. Aibileen is teaching Mae Mobley that she is worth something and no matter the skin color; other people should be valued too. Like Mae Mobley, Skeeter gains confidence about herself. Skeeter has never been attractive and Skeeter’s mother does not let her forget it. Skeeter’s mother constantly criticizes her about her appearance. For example, she says, “Eugenia, march upstairs and brush your hair down, what if we have an unexpected visitor?” (74). The reader notices that Skeeter’s mother believes that physical appearance is the most important thing in life and it