The 1960s was the time when women and men were treated with cruelty, were paid barely enough money to spend on food, and were beaten senseless just because of their race. Though it sounds like an excruciating life to live, many of these African Americans lived life to the fullest despite what others thought of them. In Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, African Americans are treated hastily by whites, as analyzed by the book’s historical significance, personal analysis, and literary criticisms to fully comprehend life in the 1960s of the south.
In order for an audience member to comprehend the meaning of The Help, one must learn the history of segregation of the 1960s. For instance, everything started to become segregated when “The Jim Crow Laws emerged in southern states after the U.S. Civil War. First enacted in the 1880s by lawmakers who were bitter about their loss to the North and the end of slavery…” (“Jim Crow Laws” 1). The Jim Crow Laws were a way for whites to treat African Americans unequally, but at the same time to also avoid going against the abolishment of slavery. These laws discriminated against African Americans and led to the segregation of many facilities, such as the bathrooms, the restaurants, and even the cemeteries. Alternatively, African Americans wanted to fight for equal rights and the “…Fourteenth Amendment’s command of equal protection was a guiding light for many throughout the Jim Crow period, and has become one of the most quoted and discussed opinions ever issued” (“Plessy…” 2). African Americans were struggling with the Jim Crow Laws, so the Fourteenth Amendment improved the quality of their life. As proved in the book, African Americans began to fight for their equalit...
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...et even this character is portrayed with the compassion and humor that keep the novel levitating above its serious theme” (“Book Review…” 2). Although the theme of The Help is very serious, the book was full of humor. According to Steinberg, the novel was kept ‘levitating’ by this one humorous character. In conclusion, different critics took Stockett’s novel in many different directions. Some thought that the novel was divided between an African American’s side and a white person’s side, and others thought that Stockett did not make the book serious enough.
African Americans of the 1960s faced a lifetime of hardships, which were caused by white people. These hardships included segregation, beatings, and poorness. For one to understand the novel, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, one must dig deep into historical significance, personal analysis, and literary criticisms.
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