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What are the symbols and motifs in The Help?  Are there any mentioned on a regular basis?

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marykayturner | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 1, 2010 at 5:33 AM via web

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What are the symbols and motifs in The Help?  Are there any mentioned on a regular basis?

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 1, 2010 at 6:42 AM (Answer #1)

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Actually, the phrase "the help" is a recurring motif throughout the novel.  Obviously, the phrase is used literally to refer to the maids; however, the phrase is also used to define the myriad relationships that are developed among white families and their maids.  As Skeeter and Aibileen complete the book with the other maids, it becomes evident that several families have become dependent on their maids.  Minny provided all care for Hilly's mother and when she was fired, Hilly's mother went into a senior facility.  Other families are equally dependent on their maids.  Yet other families appear to be indifferent to their maids and treat them with little civil regard, such as Hilly's treatment of her maids.  Then there are others who stand up for their maids even in times of hardship such as Celia's standing up for Minny even after she finds out Minny's terrible secret.  These variations complicate the racial divide in Southern society which is one of the themes that Stockett explores in her novel.

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marth33 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 18, 2012 at 1:49 AM (Answer #2)

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right on dude

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