The establishment of the novel, The Help, has brought about a heated debate on how Kathryn Stockett’s created and accurately portrayed the life and experience of a Black American women. The entire plot of the book revolves around the atrocities experienced by African American particularly, black domestic workers, due to their skin color in the 1960s. The major characters of the novel are the Minny, Aibileen and Skeeter. Aibileen is the main character in the novel, The Help, and her diversified cultural background will be analyzed and addressed in this discussion.
Aibileen is a 53-year-old African American woman who has spent most of her life time taking care of children of the white, cooking and cleaning. She worked as domestic worker for Jackson’s family. Per Aibileen, her mother also worked as a domestic worker for the white and her grandparents were slaves. Aibileen lost her son, Treelore, and this had huge impact on her life. From the novel, Aibileen worked for six days a week for about eight hours and was paid ninety- five cent per hour. Taking into consideration the above scenario, it is evident that Aibileen experienced a lot of discrimination from her employers who were whites. For instance, her payment was below minimum wage and with this kind of a pay, one can only afford basic needs. Due to her color and race, Aibileen worked for many hours and paid too low.
As the story evolves, it is evident that Aibileen understands and acknowledge how the people of color were demeaned in Mississippi and she decided that she could not keep quiet any more despite the risks. Aibileen comes out as a clever, reputable and trustworthy woman. Her reliability is what links her to Minny Jackson. The two are always there for each other. Aibileen faces a lot of ordeal as a black woman and a maid. She is answerable to Minny and even faces some thorough beating from Minny’s husband, Leroy.
For Aibileen, religion is very essential for the growth and development of a person. She writes down her evening prayers daily and refer God as Him as he illustrates to Mae Mobley that it is God that created him as black when Mae Mobley asked her of the difference of their skin. Additionally, across the novel there are various scenarios that occur in church. This is a clear sign of how Aibileen values religion. According to Aibileen, her prayers are answered and rewarded by gift of life and love from her bosses. She considers her prayers as powerful. Additionally, she is a truthful character who believes that human was created equally and in the image and likeness of God. This is depicted across the novel as she aims at teaching Mae Mobley not to judge people by their skin color and actions. For her, lying is not good, but does it in exceptional times. For instance, lied so that Minny could be employed.
Across the story, Aibileen develops in a way that the colored society was expecting of her. At the start of the story, Aibileen is determined and knows what is expected of her in a white society. She is obedient to her white employers and the white society at large and always alter words that make them happy. Aibileen scenario is a case for the many African American. It is evident that their liberty is restricted and cannot voice out their ordeal experiences due to the fear of being dismissed or even worse.
As the novel evolves, Aibileen began to acknowledge the situation and the relationship between the black and the white people. She understood that everything was not right and began to write a story with the help of Skeeter Phelan. Additionally, she spoke her mind after being asked a burning issue in her mind. This is well depicted when she responded to Hilly Holbrook that she had wished that she had an opportunity to attend the school of the whites. This is a clear indication that Aibileen understood the problems that they were subjected to. Her attitude changed from that of being obedient and subjective to being a disobedient and deceiving to her employers and the people of color. Aibileen status in the novel changed gradually. At the start, the people of color had great love and respect for her, however, after she began writing and involved other domestic workers, she lost the respect and acceptance among the whites. Additionally, many people began disassociating with her saying that she had lost her mind. However, this hatred does not last since at the end of the story, she restores her popularity and respect due appreciation and approval of what she had achieved.
Conclusively, from the start of the novel, Aibileen was bitter for the loss of her son and blamed it on the colored people due to the unwarranted conditions and the inferior status that they are forced to live in. For Aibileen, the racist and discriminated society is as result of the colored people. The realization of her power and refusal to be subjective to various rules and laws that made the blacks inferior, dangerous and fools made Aibileen open to Skeeter despite the risks that could arise. The bitter seed planted in Aibileen after the loss of her son grows gradually across the text towards Hilly Holbrook and the white society.
There are various variables that influence student’s behaviors and attitudes. The identity of an individual revolves around gender, race, ethnic group, social class and religion among other labels. Generalization of student’s behavior cannot substitute one notion for another. Even though a society may have common norms, behavior, artifacts and mode of communication, these assumptions are not acknowledged by all people in such a society. For instance, minority groups have strong affiliation to their racial, religious or national commonality but not everybody in such a group associate themselves with it. If the character, Aibileen, was a client assigned to the student, the major bias that would arise is the stereotypical view of the African American as inferior. The age could also be a major source of bias. Aibileen, is an elderly woman whose ideas could easily be rejected despite being meaningful. The African American have for long time be regarded inferior and until date, this is still a major issue in the United State.