6th October 2013
Literary Analysis paper
A Controversial Tale
The book that I have chosen to read is, “The Help”. An American novel written by Kathryn Stockett. Along with two other journal articles, “The Dish on the Help” written by Karen Valby, and another journal article titled “Will the Help Hurt?” by Rich Eldridge. The genre of the book is a novel. I picked these journal articles because they both had great reviews of the book.
This book is about African-American maids working in the homes of upper class white collar residents in Jacksonville, Mississippi. The book has three main characters, Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. Skeeter lives with her mother and father in a very nice home. Skeeter is a reporter who graduated from Ole Miss University. She forms an unlikely partnership with two of the "colored" maid’s one; "Abilene, that works for one of her sorority sisters, and another who used to work for the mother of another friend. When Skeeter started having these friendships with the maids, she began to trust them and they also began to trust her. Skeeter comes up with this idea to write about what really goes on inside the homes where the maids were employed. Skeeter starts to interview the maids secretly. She has to do this clandestinely because if anyone in the town found out that their own maids were going behind their backs and sharing secrets of the home, they would get fired or maybe even arrested. Skeeter soon finds out that some of the people who do have maids in their homes are treating them with dignity, and conversely, some are treating them with malice and disrespect. Eventually, Skeeter starts to write a book about it, and her book gets published. A lady in the town recognized one of the stories in the book as being one of her stories, and then the town finds out that Skeeter is the one writing these stories. The author Kathryn Stockett is a Caucasian female who was born in 1969 in the town where the book takes place, Jacksonville Mississippi. The idea of a white female writing about African-American maids made people wonder if she really had a grasp on what was truly going on in the homes that the maids were living in. Was it right for a white female to be writing about Southern maids? For a white lady to use the same dialect that a southern African-American uses is crossing a very thin line for many. As she was writing this book, Stockett was worried about what her family thought about the book and she was also worried about the reaction they would have when the family found out that the stories in the book closely relate to the experiences that Stockett had with her with Grandmothers house maid. White people were not to interact with the black people back then. Her parents failed to notice the strong bond that she had with house maid, Demetri. Stockett and Demetri’s relationship closely resembled the relationship of Sketter and the house maids in her town. Both relationships were frowned upon and kept a secret. There is no trickier subject for a white person from the south to have an affectionate relationship with a black person in a world of unequal segregation.
Here are some issues that I would find to be controversial when it comes to a writer who is not of African American descent to be writing a book that goes into great detail about the life of a black house maid. First off, the colloquial in the book is not as accurate as one describes. After reading the journal article, “The Dish on the Help”, Valby noted that, “I have lived in the south, and never heard people speak the way the black characters do in, “The Help”. (Valby2) I believe that Stockett was trying to emphasize a typical stereotype that people have against black people in the south by making them sound feebleminded and for lack of better words, “dumb.” It seems there are a number of complaints about the author’s choice of African American Vernacular, which a large