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Segregation in “The Help” Film by Tate Taylor Essay

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Updated: Jun 6th, 2021

The film The Help (2011) was a story about the problem of segregation in American society of the 1950s and 1960s when the Civil Rights Movement of Blacks had just begun to appear. This period was a turning point for the US citizens faced with the past echoes when racial discrimination was prevailing in the society. Now it is hard to imagine that in modern society, there are slaveholding relations between citizens; however, echoes of the past racial discrimination sometimes still appear. For people not to forget a story that was filled with human suffering, there are reminders of that terrible events, and one of such racial reminders is the movie The Help.

The film was created on the basis of the novel written by the American writer Catherine Stockett. Before the book was published, many publishers refused to cooperate with its writer. However, when the novel was published, it immediately became popular among the population and was translated into three languages. At the time of the film’s release, about 5 million copies had already been sold. The film was directed by a longtime friend of Catherine, Tate Taylor. As soon as he learned about writing a book with such a story, he immediately expressed his interest in obtaining rights for the film adaptation of this novel. Catherine, of course, could not refuse her friend and immediately gave her consent. However, she insisted that secured and apparently prosperous white ladies should be depicted in the movie as hypocritical, mediocre, and inhuman creatures. In contrast to them, black maids are shown as honest, skillful, and kind-hearted people. Accordingly, the film changes black and white in places, making it clear who is positive and who is the negative hero in the picture.

In essence, I chose this specific movie because it is tightly connected with the issue of racial discrimination against females in the United States. In the 1960s in America, the issue of desegregation among the population was very acute. Measures were taken to eradicate racial discrimination and equalize rights between all citizens of the country, regardless of skin color. However, the movie touches not only the problems of racial discrimination but also the role of women in society and the attitudes towards children. The film takes place in the small town of Jackson, Mississippi. The main female heroine, journalist Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, arrives at her home after graduating from the university. She finds out that the maid Konstantin, who worked all her life in their house, is gone. Skeeter was very attached to her since it was Konstantin who was engaged in her upbringing throughout the entire period of growing up. The girl’s mother explains that the maid quit of her own free will, but Skeeter does not believe her. Having tripled to work in a local newspaper and talking with the residents of the city, the girl becomes more and more aware of the problem of segregation, which affects Black society. Wanting to influence this situation somehow and restore justice, Skeeter decides to write a book where the maids could tell about everything they have to deal with in their work.

Later on, the idea of the main female heroine, Skeeter, is supported by Aibileen, a black woman who has worked all her life for white people, raising their children. Her friend Minnie is at first skeptical of this venture, knowing the consequences of such revelations. However, after a conflict with the mistress, Minnie also decides to tell her story for the book. Subsequently, they are joined by other black maids who uncover the stories of racial and social discrimination. This film is a feminine look at the 60s, where there are almost no men, and if they appear, then only to drink whiskey, say rudeness, and then go back to work. Of course, other classic themes emerge in the film: the relationship between parents and children, the problem of education, the emptiness of high life. All these topics, thanks to the skill of the director, turn into an incredible and touching movie that cannot be missed. It might seem to many individuals that the central theme of social inequality is not relevant today. However, if they look closely, they can see that we live in a world of inequality. This means that the problems raised in the film are close and understandable to anyone who has ever faced injustice.

All in all, the film The Help is another attempt by the cinema to show how much cruelty survived black people and to uncover the problems of racial discrimination and the humiliation of human rights. The theme of racial discrimination raised by the main female heroine, Skeeter, shown in the movie can hardly leave the viewers indifferent. The disclosure of the main characters helps sympathize with the heroes, imbue their problems, and share their emotions. The combination of comedy and drama in the film is so successful that the review of the movie becomes a total joy, letting the viewers plunge into the atmosphere of those times. Thus, The Help is an amazingly warm, humane, and dramatic novel, which has become one of the leading literary events of 2011 year, not only in the US but also in the whole world.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Segregation in "The Help" Film by Tate Taylor." June 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/segregation-in-the-help-film-by-tate-taylor/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Segregation in "The Help" Film by Tate Taylor'. 6 June.

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