The Help By Kathryn Stockett

The Help

Can one pinpoint the cause of racism in our world, past and present? I do not know.

Although racism has come to be one major societal issue, I do not see why there should be a cause for racism when we are all humans. We are technically the same but have different personalities, voices, behaviours, and skin colour; but that doesn’t make us less the same.

All my life, I lived in a community where we were all the same. We had similar skin colour, hair colour etc. I never had any knowledge of racism. But growing up, I learned about this societal issue from school (primary and secondary), the internet or social media, and the news on TV, radio and the newspaper.

Racism isn’t an issue that started in the present day but can be traced back to the 1960s in America and the middle ages in Europe. We cannot talk about American history without the issue of racism, and sadly, racism still features prominently in contemporary American society.


The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a historical fiction that focuses on the lives of black maids working for their white masters and mistresses. The book is set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960s, when racism was still in its heyday in the USA.

Reading through the book, one could picture how the blacks were segregated from the whites. The whites had a lifestyle, community and culture different from the blacks, and the two groups lived in two separate worlds. I felt so terrible and sad for the black folks. Love and unity never existed between whites and blacks.


The Help majors on the lives of two black women, Aibileen and Manny and a white woman, Eugenia, also called Skeeter, who share a bond due to their common interest. Being maids to white families and caring for their children was a good and bad experience for the maids. For instance, black maids weren’t allowed to use the same bathroom as white families. A separate bathroom was given to the black maids to use.

Due to these things, these maids (Aibileen and Manny) decided to share their experiences with other maids in the community with Eugenia, who wasn’t pleased with how the maids were treated and wanted a change. Their mutual stories were the bedrock of their bond.

Aibileen and Manny in the story were very good friends and always looked out for each other. Aibileen was reserved and easygoing, while Manny was unreserved and very outspoken. They both had different experiences working for white families. They were loyal and dutiful to their white masters and mistresses, cared for their children, loved them, instilled the right values in them, taught them and took good care of their houses irrespective of their skin colour.

Miss Eugenia was a white woman that aspired to be a writer, and I must note that she was a very determined woman who saw beyond the colour of someone’s skin. Her character in this book is admirable. As a white woman who isn’t supposed to interact with the blacks, she pays no heed to that and forms a bond and friendship with Aibileen and Manny, who are black women.

My thoughts

The Help is an eye-opener that makes you ask yourself why racism exists. Maids work diligently for their masters but still get segregated, and you get to see how this issue affects black folks.

Nevertheless, some white people in the book showed love to the black folks and treated them nicely in the person of Miss Celia and Eugenia’s dad.

I had a burning anger towards some of the characters in the book. Also, the lack of love between Elizabeth and her daughter Mae Mobley made me feel so bad. It got me wondering what led to that. Aside from the burning anger, I had full respect and admiration for Eugenia, Aibileen and Manny. I loved their bond and the friendship they shared, which made me see how beautiful the whites and blacks could be together.

At the start of the book, I had difficulty reading it cause of how it was written, but I got used to it. Meanwhile, the author wrote in the voice of a black person.

In all, the Help is an exceptional book. I love it so much. Books like this give good knowledge of how racism has been in the past and how it can be stopped. I highly recommend this book.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

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Oluwafadekemi Sophia Abayomi

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