English Essay – ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett
Behind every great story is an author whose powerful expression of ideas reflects their skilful application of language devices. Stories have the ability to carry us into worlds of imagination where complex values and morals are presented through intricate settings, characters and themes. Powerful storytelling has the innate capacity to inspire individuals; change ways of thinking; and teach important lessons through various plot elements and key events wherein issues in societies are explored. ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett presents power struggles between segregated communities and highlights the inequalities that existed in the past. Stockett effectively employs her literary expertise and masterfully manipulates language devices to deliver an engaging story of great historical significance. It is clear that the power of storytelling would be null and void without the talented craftsmanship that authors utilise within their creations.
Dynamic characterisation is essential to stories as it allows the audience to truly comprehend underlying themes and messages through forming an attachment with the characters. An author’s portrayal of characters and their struggles evokes emotion within the audience who are able to relate as the plot develops and the story’s purpose takes shape. ‘The Help’ features a diverse range of characters—from varying socioeconomic status backgrounds—who are connected through intricate relationships; specifically, the friendship between Minny, an outspoken black maid; and Skeeter, a privileged young white woman. Their dubious friendship begins poorly due to Minny’s hostility, “What makes you think colored people need your help?” The rhetorical question expresses Minny’s aggressive distrust towards white people and clearly conveys the tension that exists between races as the black community struggle to find equality within society. The theme of loss is displayed in the metaphor, “A bitter seed was planted inside me. And I just didn’t feel so accepting anymore,” Aibileen reflects upon the unfortunate events surrounding her son Treelore; his untimely death has made her resentful and less tolerant towards the racial prejudice that exists within society. Stockett’s characterisation evokes sympathy and compels readers to emotionally connect with Aibileen and support her throughout her adversities. An author’s ability to convey powerful ideas through storytelling is heavily reliant on characterisation as readers are able to better understand a story’s purpose by forming emotional connections with characters.
Authors are able to reflect upon societal issues through stories by placing historical significance on various plot elements. The theme of racism is woven throughout ‘The Help’ as the story focuses on the wretched situation of minorities who struggle to belong in a segregated society. “What’s going on? Behind me, I hear the driver say, ‘I don’t know, some nigger got shot…” Slang...