How does the kitchen in 'The Help' act as a symbol/motif that creates a sense of belonging between Skeeter and the maids?   

1 Answer | Add Yours

akannan's profile pic

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

Posted on

In a traditional sense, the kitchen represents a sense of communion.  It is where food is made and where people converge to share in the act of eating and, in a larger sense, community.  This symbol is evident in Skeeter's desire to forge alliances with the maids in order to detail their narratives.  So much of the maids' time is spent in the kitchen that it would make sense for Skeeter to approach them in the kitchen about the prospect of forging alliances with her.  It is not as if she would be able to go to their homes or be able to openly talk with them in the drawing rooms.  The kitchen was seen as the realm of the domesticated help.  It was where they prepared food to be served to their owners.  It was where the help "lived," to a great extent.  In approaching the maids in the kitchen, it shows how much good faith Skeeter has in trying to enlist the maids' help in order to both help Skeeter, but also help their voice to be validated.  Skeeter's discrete approaching in the kitchen helps to bring credence to the fact that there is little difference between the women.  Both a woman of color and a White woman must struggle to understand the role of domesticity in their own sense of being in the social context of the novel and in approaching the maids in the kitchen, this act of communion is evident.  

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,931 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question