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Monday, 10 April 2017

#AtoZChallenge - 4-11-2017 - Letter H

H for Help

I have just finished reading “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett”. The book is set in Mississippi, USA in the early 1960’s. It gives the reader a look into the lives of well-to-do white women as well as those of the black women who are employed as their house help. It is moving, funny and inspiring.
Throughout the book, as the characters live out their lives in the boundaries set for them, there is an undercurrent of menace. The story moves at a steady pace, yet the reader gets the feeling that something is about to happen
The black women are shown as spirited, and some of them are full of disdain for their employers. Yet, they love the babies they are in charge of. Needless to say, the babies love them back manifold.
The indomitable spirit of the black help shines out throughout the book. The pride they take in their work, the stoicism with which they face their hardships, the faith they have in a higher power despite terrible personal tragedies----all these are written with a deep, empathetic, compassionate understanding. It places a remarkable amount of value on human dignity, even a child’s.

Many of us in India still have the luxury of house-help. The book compels us to take a long hard look at ourselves and to check how we treat the women who enable our day-to-day lives to run smoothly.


  1. Well off people in America still have house-help. But now the help must be paid a fair wage and treated in a humane way. (Though there's some debate among au pairs about this, as they are "paid" partly with room and board.)

    It is a very interesting book and film though. It covers a very real time in American history. Hopefully it will help people avoid the mistakes of the past.

    1. Thank you for dropping by. The book was an eye-opener for me. Reading such things in history is one thing, but getting a close up view like this is something else!