How does The Help effectively prove the deep-rooted prejudice and racism that existed?

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

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In being able to delve into the personal relationships that exist between White people and African- American people, Stockett's work is able to demonstrate the deep- rooted prejedice and racism that was a part of American culture during the Civil Rights Movement.  Stockett's work is able to enter the reality of people who both perpetrated prejudice and racism and the conditions of those who suffered through it.  In the use of dialogue and personal exchange, these realities are revealed and explored. Miss Hilly's statements, mannerisms, and ways in which she treats "the help" as well as all people of color is one way in which prejudice and racism are shown. At the same time, the growing emotional distance r between she and Skeeter regarding segregation also helps to detail the realities of prejudice and racism, causing great dissent.

At the same time, the technique of having Skeeter collect anecdotal narratives from the women who comprise "the help" enables the reader to fully gauge what prejudice and racism looked like on a personal level.  When segregation is understood, it is grasped on a historical level.  Separate but equal was the law of the land.  Yet, when the descriptions of having to use a separate toilet facility is broached and the subtle looks that are given and shared in this process are illuminated in the book, it helps to substantiate and prove the deep- rooted prejudice and racism upon which these social conditions were built.

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