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Kathryn Stockett explores issues that faced African Americans in the 1960s. Events in Stockett’s book expose bad treatment of black maids in the South. The novel’s setting is in Jackson, Mississippi where three women narrate about their sad workplace experiences. The three women are Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny; this paper will reflect on their experiences.
Sense of place
The novel develops sense of place in various dimensions. For instance, the whites are seen to fit in their locality. This can be seen in Skeeter who feels a sense of wealth and beauty in her surroundings. She sets her sight on writing, which comes with a sense of place. Firstly, the whites are compatible and legible in their environment. Additionally, they show preference for Jackson as opposed to their black counterparts who feel out of place within the community.
Aibileen does not feel a sense of place in Jackson. In fact, Aibileen feels out of place both personally and collectively as African Americans. The repercussions of racism take toil on Aibileen; she works wholeheartedly for her white employer but still find herself sacked. Initially, sense of place is only relevant to the whites like Hunt and Skeeter; however, Aibileen starts to feel a sense of identity when she finds the new job as a writer.
Sense of place and Scale
The African American house cleaners in the novel have a sense of fear in their places of work as can be observed in Aibileen and Constantine. It can be noted that the whites register high scales, which are consistent with their sense of space.
The whites are more connected to Jackson than their black counterparts are. For instance, the whites register higher scores in place scales than blacks based on their feelings and self-esteem. However, it can be noted (later) that Skeeter felt more at home with the African Americans than her white counterparts.
Race is quite dominant in the novel. The author uses African Americans to bring out plight of blacks in Jackson, Mississippi. The house cleaners and employees in cotton farms are portrayed as African Americans in the novel. On the other hand, employers and university students (represented by Skeeter) are portrayed as whites. There is a notable distinction between whites and blacks in terms of their workplaces. Moreover, social class is also distinct between the two races.
However, later on, Skeeter comes on to bridge the gap. Additionally there is evidence of a child born out of wedlock to Celestine but with a white man. The novel develops racial differences in Jackson setting. Additionally, the novel bridges the gap between the two races through Skeeter and Aibileen.
The novel shows great disparities between whites and blacks in Jackson, Mississippi. This disparity is reminiscent of the wide gap that existed between the whites and African Americans in the 1960s. Various human rights are abused in the novel. Celestine’s right to work is abused when she is sacked. Moreover, Minny’s right to speech is also violated through her sacking. However, in the end, Aibileen finds a new job as a writer. This changes the perspective of Africans. Moreover, through this, Aibileen attains a sense of place.
The novel is quite intriguing. It provides real life evidences on the sufferings African Americans underwent in the South. Moreover, it expounds on the extent of racism during the 1960s in Mississippi. The three women provide evidences of racism, forced labor, and negligence that they underwent under the whites. It should be noted that racism is bridged through Skeeter as the novel ends.