In The Help, how does the existence of racial hatred and violence in her world affect Skeeter?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The existence of racial hated and violence in Skeeter's world causes her to be an agent of change.  Skeeter sees the brutality of discrimination and prejudice on both political and personal levels. As a result, she is compelled to do something.  Whether it is defiance of Hilly and the mentality of segregation or writing the book and collecting narratives from women of color who function as "the help," Skeeter's responses to racial hatred and violence end up forming the basis of her characterization.  The existence of racial hatred and violence affect her in that she feels the need to do something to counter it.  In her own life, the abandonment she felt from her mother through Constantine's expulsion provides further reason to take action.  It is in this light where the presence of hatred and violence fuels her.  These forces make Skeeter aware that she cannot be isolated and detached from what is happening. Rather, she must actively work towards countering these forces.  In the end, Skeeter recognizes her own condition as an outsider and this makes it easier for her to recognize the plight of "the help" as well as people of color.  In this light, Skeeter's character represents a direct response against the existence of racial hatred and violence in her world.

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