Day 29 of 31 Days of Books off my Shelf

Day 29
When I heard another book was written about racial issues in Mississippi I cringed and began to get defensive in my spirit.  I was concerned about how this native daughter might portray her home.   Ms. Stockett writes in her comments,

“”The rash of negative accounts about Mississippi, in the movies, in the papers, on television, have made us natives a wary, defensive bunch.  We are full of pride and shame, but mostly pride.”

The Help 
 Kathryn Stockett
The Help
Set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960’s,  Aibileen works as a maid for the Leefolt family.  She is befriended by one of her employer’s friends, Miss Skeeter.  Skeeter is a well to do young woman,  recently graduated from Ole Miss, who has a passion for writing and has the idea to write a book that features the experiences of the black women who serve as the help to white families.  Skeeter convinces Aibileen and several others to share their stories. 

“Wasn’t that the point of the book?  For women to realize, we are just two people.  
Not that much separates us.  Not nearly as much as I thought.””
I think one of the ways the author showed great care in writing about her home is in how she chose to write dialect.  Quite often, writers will use a gimmicky phonetic form for the dialect of a Southerner.  Ms. Stockett, however, achieved a real and authentic sound by her word choice and use of word placement and created the smooth rich lilt of the Central Mississippi dialect.

As Mississippians, we own our ugly past but we also own a bright present and future.  The Help graciously shows that hope and that people can move beyond the color of someone’s skin.

Happy Reading!

“If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”  
Ecclesiastes 4:10  NIV Bible

8 thoughts on “Day 29 of 31 Days of Books off my Shelf

  1. I heard the movie wasn't so good, but I thought this book was fantastic. It was sad and funny and engaging. When talking about race relations I love when authors show the microcosm—because really it is all about those personal relationships. I had a full time babysitter as a child, and I can attest to the deep love I have for he lady who raised me—if she were of another race, in that place and time, I can only imagine that it would soften my view away from the norm of the day.

  2. Soooo good. I loved how you talked about your apprehension and what made it so authentic. I loved the dialect and growing up near MS and having friends from there – I could just hear each of those characters. You can happily claim Ms. Stockett! A fantastic read!

  3. Oh, also I was kind of weirded out by the whole servitude thing. I had a babysitter, not. Nanny, housekeeper or domestic help. As a mom now I can't imagine relinquishing so much of the domesticity in order to go do social things. Not a world I am familiar with. It makes me think of Kate Chopin. Just reread The awakening not to long ago, and I have the same feelings about that character too.

  4. Thanks Katie I really appreciate the encouraging words! I was a little hesitant to put my thoughts out there but I'm trying to push myself to do just that. So thanks much!!

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