In the story “The Help” written by Kathryn Stockett we are taken back in time to Jackson, Mississippi in August of 1962, were we meet three women by the name of Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter. Aibileen and Minny are black women who work for white families as the help. Skeeter is a young white woman in her early twenties who befriends the other two and gets them to tell their stories of what its is like to be the help. The reluctantly hesitate, but eventually give in knowing that the stories they are telling are more important than the negative impact it could have on their lives.
While reading “ The Help” you cannot help but notice the symbolism that drips from almost every page. One of the main issues in the story was that using a bathroom that a black person used was not healthy for whites. In the book it was a fact that you could catch a disease if you did. It really symbolizes what is wrong with the white community in Mississippi in the 60’s. A man was beaten for accidently using a white bathroom. Little Mae Mobley gets a spanking for using Aibeleen's bathroom. One of the major projects of Hilly Holbrook’s is to get a law passed requiring white families to build bathrooms for their black help to use. At one point in the story Skeeter finally realizes that what is going on is wrong. She grew up with these woman but realizes she know them. After she reads the Jim Crow laws in the library she starts to understand. “But then I Realize, like a shell cracking open in my head there’s no difference between those government laws and Hilly building Aibileen a bathroom in the garage, except ten mines worth of signatures in the state capital.” (Stockett 203) The author uses bathroom problem to symbolize the great measure that white people in Mississippi would do to keep the whites and the blacks separated. Basically saying we not only want you to come in the back entrance, go to separate schools, work for us, raise our children, pay you pennies a day, but we also think so low of you that we want you to not use the same restrooms as us. It is hard to believe that this way of thinking was less than sixty years ago.
As stated above the setting for the story is set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. Just know that information alone sets you up to let you know that you’re in the south in a time where African Americans are not equal. It almost feels that it is not safe to be there. In one part of the story Skeeter is in the library looking for books on race relations and comes across a copy of a compilation of the Jim Crow Laws. One of them says, “Books shall not be interchangeable between white and colored schools.” (Stockett 202) That line right there shows the type of setting that you’re inn. It also symbolizes that touching a book that was held by an African American is damaging to a white persons health.
“The Help” does not just show that they should not live around each other. It also seems to mean that they can only have...