Ethical Principles In The Help Essay

1649 words - 7 pages

Ethical Principles
The Help chronicles a recent college graduate named Skeeter, who secretly writes a book exposing the treatment of black maids by white affluent women. The story takes place in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, during the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. The death of Medgar Evers triggers racial tension and gives the maids of Jackson the courage to retell their personal stories of injustice endured over the years. The movie depicts the frustration of the maids with their female employers and what their lives were like cleaning, cooking, and raising their bosses’ children. The Help shines a light on the racial and social injustice of maids during the era of Jim Crow Laws, ...view middle of the document...

She works for Elizabeth, an affluent white woman who is pregnant with her second child, even as she neglects her first child. Aibileen is the liaison between Skeeter, Elizabeth’s best friend, and the other maids.
The final scenes of the movie illustrate the racial injustice Aibileen receives when she exposes The Junior League Women’s Society with the book. Hilly, the president of the Junior League, is outraged at the disrespect she believes Aibileen displays in revealing the true character of the white women of Jackson. Hilly accuses Aibileen of stealing silverware, and makes naive Elizabeth fire her on the spot. However, Elizabeth fails to take into account the needs of her daughter who is dependent on Aibileen for nurturing and compassion because Elizabeth herself fails to provide motherly affection. Aibileen begs Elizabeth not to fire her for the sake of the toddler, but to no avail.
Aibileen stares injustice in the face when she confronts Hilly and dares her to call the police, knowing that she has been falsely accused. The movie ends with Aibileen walking down a long road with tall trees on both sides with her head held high and her heart filled with pride. She may have lost her job, but not her dignity. She confronted the injustice and mistreatment that sparked the Civil Rights Movement, and in the process was able to free her mind and forgive her enemies.
Skeeter is a recent college graduate who returns home to find a job and her place in Jackson, Mississippi. What she encounters are former high school friends married with children and living privileged lives with the help of their maids. She acquires a job writing a column in the local newspaper. She decides to elicit the help of maids to assist in writing her column. What she encounters is the unjust treatment of black women by white socialites in the Junior Women’s League. She jeopardizes her relationships with her mother and her friend Hilly to uncover the skeletons of the white women in Jackson. She also discovers the reason behind her own family’s treatment of their long time maid Constantine, who was fired because her daughter disrespected Skeeter’s mother in front of other white ladies.
Skeeter struggles with the condescending behavior of her childhood friends toward the help. She disagrees with the myth that her friends hate black people. She befriends Aibileen and other maids, and encourages them to talk about their struggle with the intolerable treatment they have endured as domestic help, which she then incorporates into a book. Skeeter realizes that telling the stories of racial and social injustice between the blacks and whites in Jackson could bring public humiliation to her family. She is willing to confront these injustices in order to bring awareness to the treatment of black women in the South.
Minny is a close friend of Aibileen’s, and is the second maid to consent to telling her story for Skeeter’s book. She is reluctant at first, but is...

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