By Ployphet RastameephromFilm studies
Dr. Anngieline Lu
TMC Academy – School of IT, Digital Media & Mass Communication
Middle Road, Singapore
October 18, 2018
Have you ever watch racism film? I would like to recommend this film, named The Help. I chose this movie due to many topics that have notions in this film and for me, nothing is more salient than the topic of racial intolerance.
“The Help” is a dramatic film about a racism. The story presents how African-American maids or black maid in the South see their employers during an era of civil rights movement (Jim Crow days) in Jackson, Mississippi, United States of America during the early 1960s. The story features how they permit a young white woman to write the best seller book about them. This essay presents black people in a nourishing way. The movie is an example of narratives of difference and the representation of the characters include Skeeter, Minny and Aibileen. Black people are presented as the slave. By contrast, whites are presented as the norm. Moreover, the essay includes the analysis of drama genre, the representation of three characters, sociological and political representation.
Drama Film is serious story with facts, setting or life situation that show realistic characters in disagreement. This shows us human doing at their best, their worst and aims to tell an honest story of human exertions. This film shows a lot of dramatic issues. For example, Jackson was a flashpoint for the civil rights movement and it was a dangerous and violent place. Due to the news of the murder of Medger Evers, he joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Evers was a worker for NAACP so he had to travel around his hometown encouraging poor African Americans to enroll to vote and enlist them into the civil rights movement. After that, He was killed by white supremacist named, Byron De La Beckwith. This case shows how the whites frighten black people and it is one of the reason why the blacks are not dare to resist the whites. Refer to the scene in movie, when Skeeter ask for help to write the book that she believe the book would help put an end to the cruelty against black people, a number of maids refuse it because of fright and anger . “what makes you think colored people need your help? , Why you care about this? You are white, I am black” One of the black maid named, Minny says. It shows fury and those two reasons makes movie into drama film.
The representation of three characters
There are three main characters of this movie; Skeeter, Minny and Aibileen. I would like to present analysis how different those three persons represent social issues in America 1960s on their own ways.
First, Skeeter described as an innocent, kind and educated white people. In the beginning of the movie she says, “by sixteen I was not just not pretty, I was sore tall. I was very tall so in class, I was always stand in the back row with all boys. The kind of tall where your mother spends her nights taking down hems, yanking sweater sleeves, flattening your hair for dances you had not been asked to”. I am thinking about herself as not pretty and tall can give me an innoxious view of her, even though it can also show her as weak and in need of saving. Furthermore, her behavior makes her friends think the feeling of her as feeble. For example in movie, when Skeeter and her friends Hilly and Elizabeth are talking and Aibileen ;black maid comes to serve them tea, her friends start to talk about separation toilet for black maid. “They carry different diseases than we do, that is why I have drafted the Home health Sanitation Initiative ” Hilly says. Skeeter knows it is not proper, she try to talk in other news because she cares about the feeling of Blacks. However, she never tell her friends about their bad behavior. Furthermore, Skeeter is described as naive. When she asks Aibileen if she wants to help her write the book, Aibileen answers ” ‘Miss Skeeter’, I do this with you, I might as well burn my own house down” (Aibileen). This scene present Skeeter or most of the whites do not seem to realize how dangerous it can be for Black people telling their views in the relationship between white and black people. Instead, she thinks about the sarcasm of the relationship between the maids and their employers “I would like to write about what is the point of view of the help. They raise the white child and then many years later the child becomes the employer. It is that sarcasm, we love them and they love us but we do not even allow them to use the toilet in the house” (Skeeter). This scene, Skeeter try to clarify the relationship, which fail to give attention not only of the reality of racist violence but also of the separateness of the black. She represent that the whites are not only horrible but some of them still would like to help Black people. Even if in the movie Skeeter is the only one who is supposed to fight for the colored people, shows her good-hearted attitude to another whites, who are not same as she is.
Second, Minnie represents for maid who has fury to her old employer. For example , in the movie, Minny ask for using indoor toilet or guest’s restroom because of the terrible storm but the employer do not allow. However she use it. Resulting in her getting fired by her employer named, Hilly who then slanders her name with claims of theft, making her essentially unemployable. This is example to confirm why Minny hates whites and why she revenge Hilly. Minny calls Aibileen and she tells her “I am not tell, I am not tell no one about the pie. However, I give her what she deserve! I cannot get work again, Leroy; who is her husband gone kill me” (Minny). This shows the reason why she tells herself to keep fighting, since she is afraid not to get work ever again. Minny act like she both obeys and resists the white culture. In the pie scene shows her resistance against the white system and its values, but she also tries to conform to the white norm. In my opinion, her role represent Blacks who are accused and also who is accuse whites.
Third, Aibileen is portrayed as a old kind maid. In movie, Mae Mobley is really love Aibileen. Mae Mobley is the white child Aibileen takes care of. One day, Mae Mobley says “I know I am your real baby” This sentence shows a social issue that is whites are not care their children enough and it makes kids feel unimportant. Some of them grow up without enough love and attention. Mae Mobley is ignored and verbally abused by her mother named, Elizabeth. She start to believe these things are her fault. Therefore Aibileen changes the girl’s thinking, she always tells the girl how important she is and when she has free time from her work, she wants Mae Mobley to remember what she has taught her. “Baby Girl, ‘I need you to remember everything I told you. Do you remember what I told you?’ ‘You are kind, you are smart, you are important’. This sentence represent how kind black maid is, they are not poor and uneducated as whites think they are. Aibileen is not only act as the old kind maid. One example is when Mae Mobley goes to Aibileen’s restroom and her mother screams to her “this is dirty out here, you will get diseases!”(Elizabeth). Elizabeth act like she is very objectionable. In the movie white and black people were supposed to have separate bathrooms since according to the white people, black people were dirty. This scene presents about one of the many conflicts that occur in the movie. Moreover, the colored people are not allowed to use the whites’ restrooms because they have diseases and are dirty. However, the white people want them to clean their houses, cook their food and take care of their children. In addition, at the end of the movie Mae Mobley has colored herself black in school class, because she was told to draw what she liked the most about herself. However, her teacher said to her that black means that
she has dirty and bad face. When Aibileen hears about this she feels disappointed, “After all the time I had taught Mae Mobley how to love all people, not judge people by color. I hurt in my heart because why white people do not remember they first-grade teacher? Maybe they do not remember what they learn, but I am m telling you, I done enough kids to know includes Mea that they matter” (Aibileen). This scene shows that Aibileen is the one who actually shows some reasonable thinking about how the relationship between whites and colored people could be.
Refer to the Home health Sanitation Initiative. This is a law that require white homes to have an outside bathroom for the Black help. By presenting this new law, Hilly is give new guidelines to how Americans are supposed to live and what they are supposed to do, if they are American. Especially who live in the south of United States of America. She believe that everyone has good inside of them and a positive conscious that tells them what is wrong and what is right and that is why Skeeter was more open to the idea of composition than her social group of friends. However, those other women grew up being told how to think and how to behave and what their actions are supposed to say and do say about the kind of person that they are. (American dream) Moreover, I think this represent the political issue that why their government allow to do this the Home health Sanitation Initiative. In spite of knowing that is racial discrimination.
To sum up, the book is to highlight the relationship between white and black people. The movie shows black people as not as good as whites, both through their language and the way they are addressed. Moreover, it features that all of the whites are not have only people who cruel, but other of them are scared to be hated from the rest. This movie have though many people who judge another by their cover that maybe some people are not be like you think they are.
The Help, 2011. Online (updated 20 Oct.2011) Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Help_(film) Accessed 31 Sep.2018
Buffam, N.,2011. Drama Onine (updated 14 Mar.2011) Available at https://thescriptlab.com/screenplay/genre/952-drama/ Accessed 31 Sep.2018
The Help Film,2012. Onine (updated 12 May.2012) Available at http://the-help-film.wikia.com/wiki/The_Help_Film_Wiki Accessed 7 Oct.2018
Malley, S.,2011. A movie about a white woman who told the story of the suffering of black women Online (updated 8 Sep.2011) Available at https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2011/08/ Accessed 7 Oct.2018
TheAmericandream,2011.Onine(updated.2011)Availableat https://margeekolozsvary.weebly.com/home-health-sanitation-initiative.html Accessed 8 Oct.2018