The Help The Help discussion

The white saviorism

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Dominique I went into this, thinking it was going to be a 3-star read, at best. However, I ended up giving it a 4, and then a 5!

However, there are still moments of "white saviorism" that many have had an issue with. For example, when Aibleen recieves a copy of the book signed by everyone at her local church, being told that Skeeter is now considered part of the community (although Aibleen did receive the exact same gift). Minny being accepted by the Footes seemed more believable to me, since they were just two people.

I also kind of wish that it was Minny who beat the pervert instead of Celia.

Another thing the book has commonly been criticized for is the stereotypical way the maids' narratives are written; but, clearly, this flew by me because I listened to it on audiobook -- great performances from all three narrators!

Despite this, however, I still immensely enjoyed the story -- and feel a little guilty about it, because, again, the controversies that surround it. How about you?

Meghann I've returned to this book a few times and I go back and forth. While I appreciate the spotlight on a little know piece of the civil rights movement (And I'm a fiend for anything women's history). I would prefer a story more centered around the black community. As you said, there is an element of both the "White Savior" and also the "Magical Negro" (to be clear the second one is an named trope.)

I think the discussion comes back to this, what steps should white writers take when telling black stories? There's many examples of this in literature from the excellent (Henrietta Lacks) to the horrendous. I would put 'The Help' somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Not great, not terrible. Entertainment literature that brings up a seldom talked about issue in the south, but has some missteps that make the reader pause.

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