Identify competing cultures in The Help.

1 Answer | Add Yours

akannan's profile pic

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

Posted on

The original question had to be edited.  I think that the most dominant examples of completing cultures would be the culture of those who hire "the help" and the women who are "the help" themselves.  This is a competition of cultures that exists on racial, gender, and class- based grounds.  The vision of competing cultures that exists becomes one of entitlement and exclusion.  Stockett's work brings to light the condition of women who are essentially hired to take care of another person's children, sometimes at the cost of their own, only to see that child become a new embodiment of oppression.  This becomes the basis for Skeeter writing her book, exploring the dynamics of both cultures in the South of segregation.

I think that another set of competing cultures exists within the help, themselves.  Especially evident in the early part of the book, the collision between those women who want to help in writing the book such as Minnie and Aibileen and the women who don't want a part of any such resistance is a collision of cultural values.  There is a compulsion to articulate their narratives and to make a statement of resistance within Minnie and Aibileen.  This is not entirely shared with the other women who comprise "the help."  Such a competition of culture helps to illuminate how fundamentally difficult life under segregation was for these women, forced to choose between survival and validating their voices.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,917 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question