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While we generally may think of domestics/maids as hired house servants (such as in The Help), I know that domestics apply to people who worked in the North (I know a woman who struggles to make ends meet having done such work all her life), and I have a friend who lived as a child in Germany who had domestic help until the family lost all their money, and moved to the US.
I would have to agree with post #3 (given the popularity of The Help). You could also research the pay, responsibilities and benefits of domestic maids as seen in different regions/areas.
You can take this topic and go in so many different directions. Let me suggest one idea. You can study the increase of domestic maids from Indonesia that serve in the homes of the wealthy people in the Middle East. The reason why maids come from Indonesia is that Indonesia is a Muslim country like many in the Middle East. Recently, there has been an uproar in Indonesia, because one maid was executed without the Indonesia government even knowing. A study on this topic can be facinating. Here is the link:
My mom worked for many years as a domestic and often took me with her to the houses she cleaned. Seeing her work so hard helped give me an appreciation of how hard domestics do indeed work and how good it can be not to have to work so hard for such little money and such little recognition and thanks.
Here are some links that may be helpful to you:
Another possible source of information to consider would be Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. She spent some of her time researching the existence of minimum-wage workers as a maid, cleaning houses and hotels.
There are maids, who usually have specific cleaning and/or cooking responsibilities; and there are housekeepers, who often have greater responsibilitis concerning the home and the children; and there are nannies, whose primary responsibility is to care for the children while the parents are out of the house. Since your post is in Language Arts, you may want to consider the do-all housekeeper in To Kill a Mockingbird, Calpurnia. She served as a combination of all three of the above occupations: cooking, cleaning and looking after Jem and Scout while father Atticus was away. She was considered a member of the family and loved by the Finches, not always the case with maids, housekeepers and nannies.
Domestics can include almost any servant or helper. In literature, maids often play an important role. A domestic is often invisible, but sees everything. They are expected to be discreet. So they make good narrators or interesting main characters, such as in The Remains of the Day.
You could probably find some very interesting information about black maids in the South, especially in light of the recent popular success of Katherine Stockett's novel The Help. The writer grew up in a house with domestic help that she was very close to, but the book and the movie explore the tension between the fact that these maids where fundamental to the running of the house and family, and yet kept at a distance at the same time because of racist attitudes. It is a great source of irony for everyone involved.
What do you need to talk about here? Are you talking about the effects on the maids or the effects of the maids. You might talk about how domestics in many countries tend to come from other, poorer countries. You might talk about how they tend to get exploited by their employers. For example, you can read about things like Filipina maids in the UAE here.
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