The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

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Why does Miss Celia in The Help desperately seek acceptance?

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Miss Celia is seen as an outsider to the close-knit society of the Jackson Junior League women; and, unfortunately for her, she will probably always be considered one. First of all, she’s from another part of Mississippi altogether. When she first tells Minny that she’s from Sugar Ditch, she seems embarrassed to admit it. Minny writes:

Sugar Ditch is as low as you can go in Mississippi, maybe the whole United States. It’s up in Tunica County, almost to Memphis. I saw pictures in the paper one time, showing those tenant shacks. Even the white kids looked like they hadn’t had a meal for a week.

Secondly, Miss Celia happened to marry Johnny Foote, who used to date Hilly Holbrook. Hilly is the pretentious and vengeful League president. She’s not about to let Celia into the League, no matter how often the woman asks. And third, Celia just doesn’t understand the protocol of this class level. She dresses flamboyantly and inappropriately for the ball. She behaves more like a country girl than a city socialite. For all these reasons, Celia desperately wants to be accepted by the most important women and families in Jackson. She wants to feel as though she is just as good as they are. But for all these same reasons, she won’t ever be admitted to this closed club. At least not until Hilly Holbrook is squeezed out of it.

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