Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by *NikkiBell*, Apr 4, 2010.
I started reading the first chapter.
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I finished the first chapter last night, and carpooled with my husband this morning so I could keep reading, so I'm into Chapter 2 and totally hooked. I ordered it from Amazon, but got the free sample for Kindle on the iPhone (also free) so I could get started. So far, the free sample looks to have at least the complete first 2 chapters. I'll let y'all know when I reach the end of the free. But, I get the book tomorrow.
I grew up in Jackson, so I'm recognizing the names of places, streets and neighborhoods. I think that's why it's really drawing me in.
I'm joining in on this one!
I've already read the book, can't wait to discuss!
I'm on board, am just starting it in waterstones (the bookstore.) This is also the first post I've ever made from eTicket! Can't wait to get started talking about the book with everyone
Hi, can I please join in. I read it last month so quite upto date.
Welcome to the discussion Angie!!!!!
I was looking for this book this week at the library from a recommendation on the budget board that the book was great.
There's something like 200 holds on the book from all the libraries in my county. I may have to buy it. Off to amazon I go. I'll be back soon!
I would like to join this discussion. I listened to this book a couple of months ago. One of my very favorites. I missed the last book just got Pirates Latitude. I am excited to join this discussion about The Help.
Ok, I am into chapter 8 and can't put it down!!!!!
It has made me dry, laugh and wanna slap someone in just a few short chapters!
I am LOVING it!
I would LOVE to join your discussion- we read this book in my book club just a couple of months ago and it is one of my favorite books ever! GREAT choice!!
I am so glad that everyone is enjoying their reading thus far. I have oh so many things to say about our first section and wanted to give everyone a chance to dive in before posting my thoughts. As a reminder, you should finish reading Chapters 1-7 by Monday, April 12th. Feel free to go ahead, if you'd like!
One of the major focuses of The Help is the issue of race amongst the women living in Mississippi. Told through Aibileen's point-of-view, we learn just how deep of a role segregation played in 1962 during the bridge club scene. It is at this time that Miss Leefolt and Miss Hilly discuss the idea of a separate bathroom for Aibileen to use due to her being African-American (7-8). While I am not naive of how things were during the early years of the civil rights movement, I still found myself raising an eyebrow at how ignorant Miss Leefolt and her lady friends were acting. It brought to mind the AIDS crisis in the 1990s and how so many people were afraid to be near someone with the disease. I remember watching television shows with individuals who were afraid to even sit near someone who had AIDS because they were concerned that they could contract it. Did anyone else have the same reaction to this scene in The Help? Have you ever been in a situation where you felt alienated against because of a physical trait like skin color, gender, etc.? How did you cope and what did you learn from the situation?
Later on, Miss Leefolt actually hires a contractor to build a "colored bathroom" for Aibileen to use. Towards the end of Chapter 2, she lets Aibileen know it is ready for use and hints at her to clean the white bathroom immediately. Aibileen's reaction was absolutely priceless and really showed the raw emotion felt by those being discriminated against during the 1960s:
" 'I use my colored bathroom from now on...And then I go on and Clorox the white bathroom again real good'...I put the iron down real slow, feel that bitter seed grow in my chest...My face goes hot, my tongue twitchy. I don't know what to say to her. All I know is, I ain't saying it. And I know she ain't saying what she want a say either and it's a strange thing happening here cause nobody saying nothing and we still managing to have us a conversation." (29)
I can really picture this scene in my head here: white woman nervously fiddling with her wedding ring and staring down her black maid. The anger and hate that Aibileen must have felt at this very moment was monumental. Still, she keeps it together out of fear of losing her major source of income and access to her beloved Mae Mobly. Have you ever been in a situation where you had a "conversation" without saying something? What led to this taking place and how was the tension resolved?
I have to say that these are very thoughtful questions...
and I may not respond to them directly but feel the need to share my reaction.
I certainly reacted to the conversation about needing to have separate bathrooms with immediate anger and felt a lot of respect for Aibileen in keeping her feelings to herself. But then my next thought was that while we may not have resolved all of the inequities or erased stigma, I feel good that my children have been able to grow up without some of the sociatal myths. As a child growing up during the sixties I do remember the novelty of integration - while I went to school with African American children, the community was not truely integrated.
We still have a lot of work to do in our society to erase stereotypes and stigma.
This was such a powerful part of the story and it made me think about how the character of Abilieen would grow.
This looks like a GREAT read! Will be getting it on my Nook tonight!
I'm in too. I picked up the book for 30% at Border's today, thanks to the tip from PP. I was behind on the first deadline (to get the book by the 7th), but I'll do my best to keep up from now on. I'm excited to be a part of this group!
Yay, a new book! I almost put this on my Kindle before our trip, I am so glad I didn't now so I can read it with all of you! I will get it downloaded today and start reading.
Nikki, love your thought provoking questions
I raised an eyebrow at this too. I felt sad that someone who was so needed and important to this family was so marginalized. My husband is hispanic and he has said several times in the past how strange he felt when he took our blonde daughter (mine from previous marriage) to the store--he sometimes felt that people were looking at him strangely. I always told him that he was imagining things but this book has made me wonder how he was treated in the past to make him even consider people were wondering about him.
I can't think of any situations I have been in with this kind of non-verbal tension. When I read this I thought about how both of the women were so restrained. I can't imagine not being able to say how I felt to that extent, but I do understand how she felt she needed to stay quiet and keep her thoughts to herself.
The comedian, Wanda Sykes (who is black), tells a very funny story which I think speaks to this situation in a modern, timely fashion.
She explains that she and her wife have twin girls who are both blond and blue eyed and that one of her favorite things to do is go to Babies R Us and while her blond haired, blue eyed, French wife is shopping...she slips on a baseball cap and sunglasses, grabs the stroller and goes running through the store. She then mimics the looks of the faces of the people in the store.
While she tells this story in a very funny way...I see it as a very similar situation and while things have changed......we still might have a way to go.
Any book I read along "historic" lines I always find myself picturing what I would have done, been like in that situation. Sometimes it's fun to imagine, such as 'what kind of pirate lass' would I be. A book like "The Help" though gives me a jolt because being born in the 60's means that I've come within a hairs-width of growing up in this time period. I'd like to think that I'd have been one of those women that would have marched in the streets, fought for what was right, but I could just have easily been a "miss Leefort", struggling to do what my friends thought was socially acceptable.....I find that scary.
I grew up in a primarily 'white' neighbourhood...in fact there was only two kids in my highschool of any kind of ethnicity. When our church hired a black minister, with his wife and five kids, they were the first black family in our community and I can remember seeing them in our local mall when they first arrived and thinking how much they stood out. I later became very good friends with all of them but I clearly remember that first sighting. I think it bothers me because I can remember seeing other people in the mall looking back over their shoulders and blatently staring and feeling guilty that perhaps I was staring too.
In reflection the differences between this generation and our parents are huge and I think that there is an even greater difference between our children and their grandparents because our parents world was so small. If you didn't go off to war at one point in this century you probably never traveled anywhere, unless you were an immigrant (there's a whole other set of discriminations!). My generation spread out horizons a little more and discovered that people are people where ever you go. The world came to us through media that was more advanced then the National Geographic spread of the African tribal village; we learned more about the good and the bad sides of history, moved farther away for work then the next town over and found out that the differences between us were smaller then what our parents thought. Now my children's school, that had one black child when I went there, has a hugely diverse population and they learn and celebrate many types of cultures. The line has finally gotten blurred to the point that maybe, just maybe there isn't a line anymore. Here's hoping.....
I don't think there's ever been a time where one decade caused so much change as the 60's. Not just in segregation but in women's rights. No more do we go to college to find a good man to marry.....thank heavens!
I found this book at a neighboring library and started reading it tonight, halfway through chapter two and I feel so bad for poor little innocent Mae Mobley...she just wants her mother to pay attention to her! Sooo sooo sad
i'm in, and have really enjoyed what i've read so far.
as a 23 year old who's grown up in a rather progressive area, it's rather frightening to me that these women that are my age are displaying such overt ignorance and hatred. Yes, it's a different time period - but it really wasn't that long ago. It's fairly unsettling to picture myself and my friends in the place of the bridge club ladies.
as far as experiencing any overt discrimination myself, i can't really think of any specific instance. However, when i was younger, i was quite a punk, and chose to dress in the "gothic" style - black clothing, black hair, black makeup, wallet-chains, etc. etc. Whenever i see kids like that now, my own thoughts surprise me - those were my people, at one point, and yet as an adult, i am suspicious of them and make judgments against them. To a point, though, i almost feel justified, since i do know that it's likely they are up to some sort of mischief - i know i was!!
i also played rugby for a long time in college, and it happens to be a sport that attracts a lot of lesbians. It's pretty clear that, when we go out in groups, the majority of us are gay. i definitely recall getting some strange looks from people - i think most people are used to seeing gay folks as couples, and not as a massive homosexual swarm, hahahahah. But we certainly never experienced any overt hatred or discrimination, thankfully.
All this being said, it is interesting that i consider myself living in a progressive area, when in reality there is not a whole lot of diversity. The majority of the people i see are WASPs. It's very different to believe in acceptance and equality as opposed to taking action for it - and i am very much looking forward to seeing what the protagonists do for the latter as this book progresses.
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