The Help

Document Type

Senior Honorable Mention

Award Date

Fall 2011

Course Name

Gender Studies


Dr. Dan Gleason


Kathryn Stockett’s The Help focuses on the racism that was prominent in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi. Two black maids, Aibileen and Minny, and a white socialite, Skeeter, join together, in secret and risking their lives, to write a book that tells the stories of black domestic maids working in white Southern households. Specifically, Skeeter focuses on beginning a career as a journalist, instead of finding a husband and starting a family, which was not a norm amongst the Southern women. The Help not only addresses racism in the 1960s, it also focuses on the importance of a husband and a family to most of the Southern women. Kathryn Stockett uses Skeeter Phelan to break the norm of a husband and family being the top priority of women, an issue also addressed in The Feminine Mystique by Friedan. This allows readers to see how women’s priorities have evolved since the 1960s.