What deppens Aibileen's bitterness toward white society?

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

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There is a great deal that deepens Aibileen's feelings of bitterness towards White society.  She is not consumed with this bitterness, but it is there because of the condition of her life and what she has experienced.  One such example would be her role as "the help."  She raises White children, teaching them lessons of goodness and importance only to see these children corrupted by Southern racism and become the new people in the position of racist power.  There is something bitter about this experience in seeing her nurturing and care result in something  completely opposite.  Seeing the condition of racism and discrimination corrupt her own efforts helps to instill bitterness within Aibileeen.

Along with this aspect of blighted nuturing would be her own maternal instincts being gutted with the death of her son.  Treelore's death caused a bitterness within Aibileen because of the unnatural way in which he died.  Supplementing this would be the elemental reality that haunts her:  She nurtures and protects children that are not her own but she could not protect her own child from harm.  The social experience of bitterness that is a part of Aibileen's experience has personal roots, as well.


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