What are some similarities in theme between the book THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett and the film MISSISSIPPI BURNING?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both works deal with Southern life at the height of segregation practices.  They both reveal the different worlds that existed between Southern Whites and Blacks.  Both works also explore how race was used as a dividing line between both groups that often kept both at unhealthy distances, increasing antagonisms and misunderstandings between them.  Another theme between both is that one sees White Americans seeking to try to bring the narrative of African- Americans into focus.  Eugenia strives to bring the stories of "the help"out in full force from the elderly generation, embodied by Abileen, to the perceptions of younger anger, as embodied by Minny.  In the same light, the FBI Agents Anderson and Ward try to solve the muder of the three Civil Rights Workers.  In doing so, they are trying to bring to light the caustic reality of racism on Southern African- Americans.  Both works seek to bring to light the predicament of those who are silenced by a prevailing social and political order.

reidalot eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The book The Help and the movie Mississippi Burning have a few similarities. First of all, both are set in Mississippi during the 1960s, a time of racial tension in the South. As well, both deal with prejudice and discrimination. In the novel, the Black maids are not allowed to touch the white women they work for, sit at their table, or eat their food. Likewise in the film, a white man is portrayed as drinking from a fountain labeled White, and a Black boy is seen drinking from a water fountain labeled Colored. Segregation is highlighted in both.

However, differences exist between the two. The book portrays the lives of the Black maids and their unfair treatment at the hands of their employers. The movie has more of a political focus, as it examines the murder of three civil rights activists at the hands of the Klu Klux Clan and the ensuing investigation by the FBI. However, both deal with life in the Jim Crow South.