Most African-American Civil Rights movements during mid-20th century were marked by massive non-violent demonstrations and Martin Luther King’s speeches. Few people has payed attention to the quiet yet powerful resistance that came from the other side of the society: the African-American working-class women. The Help, written by Kathryn Stockett, describes African-American maids’ lives of working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi. In Stockett’s story, the maids who have long been suppressed decide to step out of their comfort zone and express their own opinions. To do so, they fought with their personal beliefs and with the society that despised them. Skeeter, the white woman that originated these ideas and encouraged the maids all along regardless of her society’s abomination, also experiences a journey of self-discovery as she continues to chase after her dreams.
The book displays women’s potential by showing these black maids, who, knowing the possible dangers they face, still make the decision to advocate for their rights and beliefs. When Skeeter first comes up with the idea of challenging the racial discrimination, which was the popular belief within her society, barely any maid agrees to help because they are terrified at the possible consequences. Yet after the KKK shot Medgar Evers and police’s attack on one of the most loved family in the African-American neighborhood, these maids no longer care about themselves. They are convinced that endurance will never improve their status in society and that they will attempt anything to save their families and friends. Although they have suffered through different levels of pain--being jailed, fired, scolded--the maids have not given up because they are determined to use their feminine power to give their race a brighter future. They fought a battle with the society’s prejudice and demonstrated their potential strength.
Stockett wrote her novel realistically, and reality is no fairytale. Although the maids tried their best, the outcome has a minimal impact on the society. Yet they discovered themselves and what they were capable of. These women’s self-discovery show the importance for females to stop surrendering under stereotypes and begin their battles. Unlike other girls of her age, Skeeter has never had a boyfriend because she is tall and plain. However when the Senator’s handsome son Stuart tries to go after her, she unexpectedly turns him down because through the process of helping the maids, she has discovered her own values and realized the importance of resisting. One of the maids, Minny, eventually decides to break free from her husband and leave her old abusive relationship behind. Minny has learned to say “no” and stop compromising. Another maid, Aibileen, after being fired, discovers her talents in household chore managements and writing. When these women stop submitting to public stereotypes and start initiating changes in their lives, they become the masters of themselves and triumph over the society.