The Help



- First person multiple narrative (except chapter 25 - third person omnipresent)

- Metaphor of the bitter seed

- graphic imagery - miscarriage scene (Both women are in the bathroom - goes against Home Help Sanitation Initiative)

- Hilly = antagonist (represents Old American ideals)

- 3 female protagonists (represent New American ideals)

- Domestic setting - female centric novel

- Shift of time & place - narrative jumps forwards & backwards in time


- Black characters use Southern dialogue (white characters don't? point of criticism)

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A02 pt 2

- Cathartic effect - come to terms with her own past & attitudes

- Skeeter = vehicle for Stockett's views

- References to historical events

- privilege of events in the novel (where/when do we learn about them?)

- Hopeful, slightly ambigous ending

- Mimosa tree - symbol of Celia's childlessness (baby hairs) & repression of gender roles

- Allusion to The Invisible Man and To Kill a Mockingbird

- Postmodern/Contemporary (2009)

- Minny's internal thoughts are in italics - will to oppose oppression

- Reader feels pathos for several characters, both black & white

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- Jackson Mississippi - 1962-64 - boiling pot of racial tensions - height of the civil rights movement

- Jim Crow Laws - enforced segregation - black people were 2nd class citizens

- Medgar Evans - activist - shot on his front doorstep - sparked outrage in black community

- surge of KKK activity (drive-by shootings, murders, lynchings)

- Freedom Summer - campaign launched June 1964 - increase black voter registration

- Women - expected to be wives and mothers - Skeeter challenges this by working, and having career ambitions - Hilly goes to college to find a husband

- Domestic violence not an offence - until 1970s **** only a crime if offender was not spouse

- Mississippi = racially stagnated with a rigid social structure that still exists today

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- Typically of a historical fiction novel it references real life events and is set in a speciifc historical time period

- Typically of a postmodern novel the ending is ambiguous and open to reader interpretation

Links with Streetcar:

- Domestic setting

- New v Old USA

- Female protagonist

- Geograpically close

- Abusive men

- Hope v hopelessness

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'She spins a story of social awakening as seen from both sides of the American racial divide'

Sybil Steinberg

'Why are Stockett's white characters free of the lingusitic quirks that white Southerners certainly have?'

Erin Aubry

Feminist Critic: female-centric novel - Skeeter rebels against social norms - much of Hilly's power comes from her ability to be a good housewife and mother (but she is constrained by that - tries to get her husband elected but couldn't run herself) - relationship between Skeeter & her mother (tries to make her confrom to expectations) - Celia physically cannot live up to expectations

Marxist Critic - might focus on Celia and Johnny's relationship - presented as hope for the future - and Elizabeth Leefolt, who suffers due to her class/financial situation

Racial critics - focus on roles of black maids in instigating change & impact of oppressive laws on black characters

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