By Julie Denice Griffin
“I was off the farm. Out from under the criticism – I was the happiest person in my freshman dorm,” wrote Kathryn Stockett – “Say your prayers.”
“May Mobeley was born on an early Sunday morning on 1960 – A church baby, we called it.” Her African American nanny who raised about seventeen children for white, southern women altogether dissapears during Skeeter’s senior year. She finally stopped asking people what happened to her one true ally who defended her from her own family. She grows up to love black market books, figuring if the state of Mississippi bans them, they must be pretty good. But more important than that, when she goes to the mailbox, she finds a letter from her desired place of employment – Harper and Row. The boss woman advises her to go to the local newspaper and write only about everything that disturbs her. The woman tells her someone once did it for her. The kind of New York City advice the editor of Harper and Row, Elaine Stein gives her leads her to write a book.
The child following her around everywhere she went, hanging onto Constantine’s Dr. Scholls, Eugenia Skeeter Phelan – Grows up to find a job at her local newspaper and to find her writing developed into some of the best penwork around. And she owes the greatest amount of gratitude to the African American woman she tells her birth mother is her real mother. Aibeleen pushes Eugenia to work on her writing gift and to do something with it. Eugenia’s first job consists of using a pen name to write a column. Her excitement overides her mother’s insistence that her life at the typewriter makes for a life of waste and disaster. Eugenia wishes the ceiling fan would crash down on her the day her mother accuses her of being a lesbian. Eugenia states she does not want to be with girls in a way that makes her run for the door to avoid mother’s violence against her.
“She aint’ gonna be no beauty queen.” The nanny takes the child as her own when her young southern mother rejects her. “The best part of a person’s life,” and Constantine falls in love with the brown-eyed girl – Her son died in a sad accident when a tractor ran over him, as he had to go to a white person’s hospitol who would not treat the boy expediently. His mother sadly laments about how he was writing a book about what it was like to be an African American man. May said the bitter seed over losing her son made it so she did no longer feel accepted anymore – Skeeter hates the navy blue dress her mother wears when she comes home from college. Constantine hates the party dresses baby girl’s mother wore as a young woman. It took the maid hours to iron them.
The movie covers a great deal of the stereotypical life of Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960’s and the south in general. Dipping up the truth about the fact the black women taught and raised and brought up all of the white women’s children. The demonstration of this comes out more clear when the film depicts May’s mama purposely ignoring her little girl. She seems to notice she owns a daughter when the girl tears up a bundle of her good stationary. She does not want her daughter seen or heard at her southern belle party.
Twenty-two year old Skeeter finds herself glad about graduating from Ole Miss. But it’s 1962, and a southern woman with a college degree means one thing and one thing only for Skeeter, according to her mother – Marriage to a high ball drinking man with money. When she goes out on a double date with her friend, she tells him to stick a straw in his hard liquor so that he can drink it down faster. She does not care for him at all, and she wastes no time telling him what he is and what she thinks about him. Skeeter does not fall for that or Miss Hillie’s statement about separate home bathrooms for the black maids. Skeeter’s high school friend threatens to throw Skeeter out of her house for her open disparity against the prejudicial problem. Skeeter also begins to launch an investigation about her missing adoptive mother Constantine. Skeeter dreams of Constantine and gets into trouble for watching the nationwide news about the de-segregation protest at Old Miss – Forbidden from watching James Meredith of historical fame. Another maid agrees to help her write her book and Skeeter knows not the situation about all of this truth yet. “Do you ever wish you could change things?” Skeeter asks.
In order to write her expose’ on the mistreatment of the southern black maid, Miss Skeeter has to sneak around to their houses very late of the evenings to get the Jackson, Mississippi interviews. Skeeter knows her mother would not listen to the secretly admitted truths of the ungodly oppression – She would change the subject to white rice or silver polish, according to the book. “But the colored part of town – We one big ant hill,” states the narrater. May’s mom’s rejection of her daughter until she grows up, Sissy Spacek is more interested in spending time with her friends on the telephone too. “Maybe we ought to burn the chicken a little,” the new wife of the plantation owner tells her new maid. Popping the top off of a pepsi, she treats her maid like her best friend from the beginning. She incorporates a plan to make her husband think she takes on the cooking and the housekeeping all by herself. A humble woman though, she enjoys spending time with her maid, while learning to cook and clean from her.
Her maid fears that the husband may find her and hurt her like her husband Leroy did when she pied her last employer for rudeness. She goes from speaking of his dissapointment with her, to bragging about how he strutted like a peacock when she obtained this new job. At the same time, Eugenia does not know how to tell her mother she wants to be a writer. “My own mother is looking at me as if I completely baffle her mind.” She notes how if she does not use hair straightener, her hair waves. She notices her blue eyes. Yet also notes a skin that she calls sometimes too bland and pale. “Death by no husband” and a left behind Skeeter, even after three months of college – The pink crepe myrtle tree the writer describes, she declares the truth to herself. Her baby brother called her a skeeter when she was born, as he said she did not quite fit the bill of baby. Mrs. Charlotte Boudreau dislikes nicknames.
“The heat swells and gathers like a hot air balloon up here.” She sleeps in a room that’s a wedding cake – Twenty-five thousand in cotton money, and she reminds herself any man dumb enough not to marry her when she’s ready, is not worth it. She sweated it out in the study parlor at Ole Miss, writing poems, short stories and essays while her friends went out drinking and had a good time. Harper and Row Publishing her goal, she figures once she publishes her book, she owns the job there too. The Home Help Sanitation Initiative, Skeeter as editor of the newspaper, Hillie’s trying to tell her what to print. “When we were kids, mother told us she’d spank us if we ever used Constantine’s bathroom.” Once, Skeeter’s dad took her to Constantine’s house at Hot Stack, named after the textile company that used to be there. He made her promise not to tell her mother he had paid the maid some extra. Constantine’s the reason Skeeter went to college. “Am I going to believe what those dumb fools say about me today?” Constantine tells Skeeter she must ask herself that question every day of her life if she wants to be successful.
My mother’s white child – Politics and being a girl. “I actually had a choice in what I would believe.” She learned to wear socks instead of shoes, to cover her face with a hat, and how to reach the back door quickly for physicial safety, as well as how to hang out in the kitchen a lot. She admired Constantine’s brown eyes like a daughter admires a mother.
“The Help is a 2011 comedy-drama film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same name. The film is about a young white woman, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, and her relationship with two black maids during Civil Rights era America in the early 1960s. Skeeter is a journalist who decides to write a controversial book from the point of view of the maids (known as the Help), exposing the racism they are faced with as they work for white families. The film takes place in early 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, and stars Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Sissy Spacek, Mike Vogel and Allison Janney. The Help opened to positive reviews and became a box office success with a gross of $161.6 million against its budget of $25 million.” Wikipedia Encyclopedia