FC: The Help Scrapbook | By: Courtney Henderson
1: Kathryn Stockett's The Help tells the story of three women living in Jackson, Mississippi during the tense times of the Civil Rights movement. Skeeter Phelan is an aspiring journalist who is just starting to realize the world she is living in. Aibileen is a middle-aged house maid who has been raising white babies for the majority of her life, but she has grown bitter towards white people after the death of her own son. Minny is another house maid who finds herself in search of job after her previous employer is put in a nursing home. | "A bitter seed was planted inside a me. And I just didn't feel so accepting anymore" (p.3).
2: Skeeter Phelan has just graduated from Ole Miss and has decided to return home in the hopes of pursuing her career as a journalist. Getting a degree and wanting to have a job is not the traditional for a young woman in the south during the 1960's. Her mother fiercly disapproves of the life Skeeter is trying to live. Mrs. Phelan believes that there is something wrong with her daughter. Not to mention, Skeeter is not considered beautiful in her mother's opinion. | "'Are you...do you...find me attractive? Are you having unnatural thoughts about'...She shuts her eyes tight. 'Girls or---or women'?"(p.75).
3: Aibileen works for Ms. Leefolt, a woman who is more concerned about the crack in her dinning room table than her own child (Mae Mobley). The house maid believes she has a way of making children feel proud of themselves. These same children grow up to act just as bitter as their parents did. Tension starts to rise when Ms. Leefolt insists on making Aibileen use a colored bathroom outside. | "I use my colored bathroom from now on. And then I go on and Clorox the white bathroom again real good" (p.29).
4: Minny is a former employee of Mrs. Walters, but is let go when her employer is put into a nursing home. Ms. Hilly, Mrs. Walter's daughter, wants Minny to work for her, and starts spreading rumors regarding when Minny denies her. Out of revenge, Minny does something horrible to Ms. Hilly involving a chocolate pie and a daily bodily function. | "They's something bout doing wrong to that woman that make it just seem right" (p.338).
5: The book covers multiple topics that were important to the time period, but one point that surprised me was the image of women. Mae Mobley and Skeeter are prime examples of how the help raise their self-esteem while the girl's mothers tear it down. | "You gone have to ask yourself, Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?" (p.63). | "'You is kind', she say, 'you is smart. You is important'" (p.443).
6: Minny finds it nearly impossible to find a job after the lies that Ms. Hilly has told all of Jackson. However, there is one woman that Ms. Hilly did not inform, Ms. Celia Foote. Ms. Celia is known as a trashy woman because she married Johnny, Ms. Hilly's ex-sweetheart. Everyone assumes that he cheated on Hilly with Celia, but that is not the case. Ms. Foote treats Minny as a friend more than the help | "I've never in my life had a white woman tell me to sit down so she can serve me a cold drink" (p.32).
7: The three main characters of the story are brought together when Skeeter decides to write a collection of interviews from the perspective of the help. Skeeter wants to work for a firm in New York, but they need her to gain more experience first. She talks to Aibileen who eventually gets other maids to join her. | "Stories about what it's like to work for a white family. What it's like to work for, say...Elizabeth" (p.102).
8: Stockett also touches on the topic of the elderly. Mrs. Walters is showing early stages of what could be Alzheimer's, and Ms. Hilly has no desire to look after her. As a result, Mrs. Walter's is put into a nursing home. Even though Mrs. Walters struggles with her memory there are some things she will never forget . | "I may not remember my name or what country I live in, but you and that pie is something I will never forget" (p.332).
9: The book gives examples of racial unfairness and indecency. Treelore, Aibileen's son is run over by a tractor while working. Men through him on the back of a pick up truck and dump him outside of a Negro hospital. Aibileen's neighbor, Robert. is beaten by policemen for accidentally using the white bathroom. | "Louvenia, with all her troubles, still wanted to know how each and every person in my family was doing" (p.124).
10: Skeeter not only makes the effort to change her life by becoming a writer, she also shows courage where others cannot. The bravery that Skeeter displays helps to mend the broken bond with her mother and gives a voice to those who cannot speak. The Help encourages people everywhere to take a stand for what they believe in, and to not accept the ropes that others try to bind them with.
11: The End
13: Never a day passes but that I do myself the honor to commune with some of nature's varied forms. -George Washington Carver
15: Go and walk with Nature; thou wilt find Full many a gem in her enchanted cup. -Isaac McLellan
20: As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can. -John Muir