Does The Help, as a film and novel, adequately convey the extent of the racial divide experienced by black people during the early 1960s? 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In both book and film, The Help is effective in communicating the extent of racial division that African- Americans experienced in America of the early 1960s.

I think that it might be difficult to place the weight of communicating the full extent of racial division on one work.  However, The Help is able to bring forth this experience of marginalization.  The idea that there are people who live in the shadows, the women who comprise "the help," and their stories need to be articulated is one way that the pain of racial division is communicated. Skeeter is insistent on bringing forth marginal voices to the center. This is a difficult process.  It involves people having to risk speaking out and others listening.  As a result, both the film and the book do a commendable job in communicating the extent of racial division in the Southern American experience of the late 1960s.

The book and film excel in communicating the pain of living in the midst of racial division.  People like Aibileen and Minnie struggle with this reality.  They are forced to tend to and care for white families at the cost of their own. When Aibileen must contemplate how her own son died without being noticed, and when Minnie must prepare her own daughter to enter the very same world that causes her pain and hurt, it is another way that the difficulty of living in the midst of racial division becomes clear.