The Help Essay

Submitted By nikkinaidu
Words: 1075
Pages: 5

How does a hero connect with culture, time and/or place?

For centuries of years, there have been various heroes in different time periods, cultures and places. Robert E. Lee was the confederate hero of the South during the civil war. Gandhi was the hero for many Indians when India was rebelling against the British for independence. In my book- The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, there’s Eugenia (Skeeter) Phelan writing a book and revealing the secrets of what it’s like for black women to work for white women. The Help was set in the 1960’s, a time when there was lots of prejudice and discrimination against blacks and the Jim Crow laws didn’t make anything much better. During this time period, the major hero was Martin Luther King Jr. He started a revolution to fight for the civil rights of African-Americans. They weren’t allowed to use the same bathrooms, water fountains and cinemas as the whites. There was also the constant threat of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) who would parade streets, lynching blacks and whites that supported the civil rights movement. You don’t have to be Martin Luther King Jr. and have thousands of people following your lead to be a hero. In The Help, there were many heroes who can be acknowledged for the little things they’ve done.
Right off the bat, there’s Skeeter Phelan- A 23 year old white woman who lives with her parents in Jackson, Mississippi. Skeeter has a college degree, a cotton trust fund and a junior league membership in high society with her best friends, Hilly and Elizabeth. Intrigued by her friends’ treatment of their colored help, she devotes herself at considerable risk to write a book featuring the real stories of black women who work for white families. She interviews many reluctant black maids, and slowly her friends began to realize what she is doing. So, she becomes distanced from her high society social status. Skeeter basically becomes Jackson, Mississippi's very own Boo Radley. She begins to stay inside, and avoids her friends as much as possible in order to hide from the true ugliness of society. Even though, she wasn’t fully accepted in the white community anymore, she continued to conduct the interviews in secret and finish her book. Once her book was published, “We love her like, like she's our own family. (Pg. 398),” the preacher at the black church tells Aibileen to tell Skeeter. Skeeter may have been an outcast, but the black community accepted her. Skeeter is a hero to all the colored maids, and blacks living in Jackson because she listened to them. She wrote down their stories in an effort to reveal the truth and in hope that by reading her book, people would change their views on the treatment of black people and give them justice. Next, there’s Aibileen Clark- a colored woman who works at Elizabeth Leefolt’s house and has a pure heart of gold. Aibileen is another hero in this book; she is Mae Mobley’s hero. Mae Mobley Leefolt is the two year old daughter of Elizabeth and Raleigh Leefolt. She faces constant neglect as well as physical and verbal abuse from her parents. Aibileen believes that it is her duty to instill the little girl, with a sense of self-worth. “You is kind, you is smart, you is important,” Aibileen tells Mae on a day to day basis to help raise her self-esteem. Aibileen realizes that she has the power to influence future generations by what she does or doesn't teach the white children she takes care of. If she teaches kindness, equality and love, there will be a chance that Mae Mobley will grow up to be someone like Skeeter– a person who will use their position in society to make that society better and more just. Finally, there’s Minny Jackson. Minny is definitely not a maid who does what she's told. She's a maid with a runny mouth, who tells it exactly like it is. Just like Skeeter, Minny says unpopular things that can, and do get her into trouble. After having a hard time working for Hilly