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The Help

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

November 8th

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Three years ago today, Treelore died. But by Miss Leefolt's book it's still floor cleaning day. (7.100)

November 8th is the date of Treelore's senseless death. For Aibileen, it symbolizes the lowest day in her life, and the months of depression that followed. It also symbolizes the beginning of a change in her. After Aibileen loses her son, her vision of her society sharpens, and she becomes more critical. This change in vision makes her receptive to Skeeter's idea for a book about the lives of the black women who work in the homes of white families. Aibileen sees the book as a chance to speak the truth, and, perhaps, make things better for people in her community.

For Elizabeth, the date symbolizes (ironically) nothing but approaching Thanksgiving. She doesn't consider giving thanks for Aibileen, or how it must feel to be working oneself to the bone to cook food for people who take the cook for granted. Somehow, this moment brings home the complete disconnect between Elizabeth and the woman who cares for every aspect of her home and family. It highlights Elizabeth's blindness, her numbness, and her view of Aibileen as less than human.

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