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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Literature and Writing

The Help looks at the importance of literature – books, newspaper articles, laws, and bills – in creating, challenging, and changing the racist systems that ruled Jackson, Mississippi in the ea...

Race

Race is not a neutral concept in The Help – 1960s Jackson, Mississippi is one heck of a segregated society. Still firmly stuck in the Jim Crow era, there are strict rules, laws, and norms restric...

Society and Class

The Help shows us the inner workings of a segregated society against the backdrop of the growing US Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Although there is some variety in economic and social class,...

The Home

The Help gives us a chance to peek into the private lives of the citizens of 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. The novel shows how the dysfunctional social milieu created by segregation and racism influe...

Love

Deep love and bitter hate are ever-present in The Help, and the lines between the two emotions are often blurry. This is what we might expect from a society that teaches black people and white peop...

Violence

Set against the volatile backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, The Help looks at how the white community in a Mississippi town uses physical and other forms of violence against its black citizens...

Gender

The Help looks at rules and norms governing gender in a Mississippi town in the early 1960s. White women are valued in society by their ability to produce children, who are then to be cared for by...

Education

The Help is what's known as a novel of education, meaning that the main characters undergo a series of gripping adventures that open their eyes to new truths and their lives to new opportunities. I...

Justice and Judgment

In The Help, justice is often delivered South Park-style – let's just say this is not a fun novel to be a villain in, as Hilly will be the first to tell you. She is made to eat poo pie (yes, you...
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