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The Help (Niceville)

Skapad 2019-01-07 15:18 i Nolhagaskolan Alingsås
Grundskola 7 – 9 Engelska
In this area you get to write an essay investigating one of four themes that has to do with the movie The Help, based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett.


Write an essay (500-1000 words) about one of the following themes:

Themes from the novel/movie The Help 


The Help gives us a chance to peek into the private lives of the citizens of 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. The novel and the movie show how the dysfunctional social milieu created by segregation and racism influences the home lives of the characters. This society has certain rules for men and certain rules for women. White women, like Elizabeth and Hilly, are expected to not work – neither in nor out of their homes. Black women are expected to work only in the homes of these women, caring for their children and cooking their meals. White women are simply tasked with being involved in social events and supervising "the help."

Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with cooking, cleaning, and caring for children for a living. The maids in the novel and the movie take pride in their work. But this work clearly isn't valued in this society. If the maids were being paid well, protected from abuse, treated with respect, and provided safe and comfortable work conditions, things would be different. If these women had access to jobs other than domestic work, things would be different too. The novel shows how complicated employee-employer relationships become, especially those between the black women and the white children they care for.


Theme of the Home/Questions

  1. How would you describe Aibileen's home life?

  2. What would life be like for Mae Mobley without Aibileen? What will it be like for her now that Aibileen has been fired?

  3. How do Minny's children help take care of the family while Minny is working? How successful is Minny at balancing her home and work lives?

  4. Why does Minny stay with Leroy for so long, even though he makes their home a place of violence and tension? What gives her the strength to finally change her mind?

  5. Why does Skeeter want to leave home so badly? How would you describe her home life? Do you think she will be homesick for Jackson once she's off in New York City?

  6. How does Celia Rae Foote's home life change over the course of the movie? 


Theme of Love

Deep love and bitter hate are ever-present in The Help, and the lines between the two emotions are often blurry. This is what we might expect from a society that teaches black people and white people to hate each other, but where they also live side by side. The novel is about trying to counteract the hate and irrationality through acts of love and courage. Many of these acts involve storytelling, conversations, interviews, reading, and writing. Through the relationships between Aibileen and Mae Mobley, and between Constantine and Skeeter, we see that lessons of love learned young can counteract lessons of hate. This isn't a highly romantic novel, but Skeeter and Stuart's relationship offers some romantic intrigue, and Johnny and Celia offer us a glimpse of what true love can look like.

Questions About Love

  1. What would you say about Minny's and Aibileen's church in the context of the theme of love?

  2. How can Hilly be such a loving mother, yet such a hateful person? Can she be considered a loving mother if she teaches her children to hate others?

  3. Why does Minny love Leroy, even after he's beaten her for so many years? Does she still love him when she leaves him?

  4. Johnny seems to really love Celia, but it's not so clear how she feels about him – or is it? What's do you think about their relationship?

  5. What are some of Aibileen's motivations for teaching Mae Mobley to love herself?

  6. How does Skeeter's relationship with her mother change throughout the novel/the movie?

  7. Were you surprised that Skeeter and Stuart's relationship did not last? Did you like them as a couple?

 Theme of Violence

Set against the volatile backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement The Help looks at how the white community in a Mississippi town uses physical and other forms of violence against its black citizens to try to stop the flow of change. It explores domestic and workplace violence through Leroy's beating of Minny, Elizabeth's beating of Mae Mobley, and through the stories of the maids who have been raped and brutalized on the job by their employers. When Hilly uses her influence to have Yule May sentenced to four years in the state penitentiary, we can see how the legal and penal systems can be used to inflict violence as well.

And the violence doesn't stop there – The Help also looks at the violence of laws and speech that teach hate in the first place, and the power of loving speech to counteract all of that. Although violence is always present in the novel, its major focus is on those kind and loving acts that work to diffuse it. When we say diffuse it, we mean in the big-picture, long-term sense of the word. We would argue that the book Help, featuring the stories of the Jackson maids, works to diffuse violence by exposing it. But all of the women in the book are at risk of some severe repercussions by telling their stories at all. Would you risk your life to bring something important before the public eye?

Questions About Violence

  1. Why are white people allowed to hurt black people without punishment in the novel/the movie?

  2. Why are the black maids so afraid to tell their stories? What finally makes them change their minds?

  3. Do you think The Help can help minimize the violence in the world? Why or why not? If you argue that it can not, are there other books that might be more effective? Which ones and why?

  4. When Minny bakes Hilly's pie with poo, would you consider that an act of violence? Why or why not? Is it justified?

Theme of Education

The Help is what's known as a novel of education, meaning that the main characters undergo a series of gripping adventures that open their eyes to new truths and their lives to new opportunities. In the process, they act as educators, using storytelling, story writing, and devious pranks to effect positive change in their community.

This book also looks at attitudes toward education and the unequal access to education in general for black citizens of Jackson. College for Jackson's white women is more of a place to find a husband than a place to get a good education. Skeeter is even considered a failure at college because she didn't find a husband, unlike Hilly and Elizabeth who drop out as soon as they find their not-so-charming princes. Minny and Aibileen both have little formal education but are both very literate – in terms of literature and current events, more so at times than many of their white counterparts, especially the female ones.

Questions About Education

 1. What are some important truths that each of the main characters learns? 

2. What are white children taught by their parents and community about black people?

3. What does Constantine teach Skeeter? What does Aibileen teach Mae Mobley?

4. What do Aibileen and Skeeter teach each other?

5. What reason does Hilly give for refusing to loan Yule May the money she needs for her sons' college education? What do you think of her argument? Have you ever heard it before?

6. What do Minny and Celia learn about each other in the movie?


- Create a document on drive, name it "The help" and write between 500-1000 words.

- Start with a short summary of the movie and your opinions about the movie. What was good/bad, anything you thought was funny/tragic/sad?

- Answer the questions are a part of your essay. Do not just write question/answer. Introduce each point and write out your answer.

Make sure your essay has:

- a clear introduction stating what you are going to write about

- answers to the questions

- a clear conclusion - what have you found out answering the questions?


Also check that:

I is always written with capital letters

Spacing and paragraphs are correct

Grammar is correct

That you have written using a formal language - no slang! (no wanna, gonna etc), write out the full verbs (what is, not what's etc)



  • The-Help writing

Kopplingar till läroplanen

  • Centralt innehåll
  • Intressen, vardagliga situationer, aktiviteter, händelseförlopp samt relationer och etiska frågor.
    En  7-9
  • Åsikter, erfarenheter, känslor och framtidsplaner.
    En  7-9
  • Levnadsvillkor, traditioner, sociala relationer och kulturella företeelser i olika sammanhang och områden där engelska används.
    En  7-9
  • Talad engelska och texter från olika medier.
    En  7-9
  • Talad engelska med viss regional och social färgning.
    En  7-9
  • Skönlitteratur och annan fiktion även i talad, dramatiserad och filmatiserad form.
    En  7-9
  • Muntlig och skriftlig information samt diskussioner och argumentation med olika syften, till exempel nyheter, reportage och tidningsartiklar.
    En  7-9
  • Olika sätt att bearbeta egna framställningar för att variera, tydliggöra, precisera och anpassa dem efter deras syften.
    En  7-9
  • Muntliga och skriftliga berättelser, beskrivningar och instruktioner.
    En  7-9
  • Samtal och diskussioner samt argumentation.
    En  7-9


Engelska åk 7-9


Att kunna förstå talad engelska i måttligt tempo.
Du förstår det huvudsakliga innehållet och uppfattar tydliga detaljer. Du använder dig av någon strategi för att förstå innehållet i det talade språket.
Du förstår det huvudsakliga innehållet och uppfattar tydliga detaljer. Du använder dig av och väljer i viss utsträckning strategier för att förstå innehållet i det talade språket.
Du förstår såväl helhet som detaljer. Du använder dig av och väljer i viss utsträckning strategier för att förstå innehållet i det talade språket.
Att kunna formulera sig skriftligt i egna framställningar och i interaktion.
Du formulerar dig enkelt, begripligt och relativt sammanhängande.
Du formulerar dig relativt varierat, relativt tydligt och relativt sammanhängande samt även med visst flyt och i någon mån anpassat till syfte, mottagare och situation.
Du formulerar dig relativt varierat, tydligt och sammanhängande, samt med flyt och viss anpassning till syfte, mottagare ocn situation.
Du bearbetar och gör enkla förbättringar.
Du bearbetar och gör välgrundade förbättringar.
Du bearbetar och gör välgrundade förbättringar.
Att kunna välja texter och talat språk från olika medier samt använda det valda materialet i sin egen produktion och interaktion.
Du väljer från olika medier och använder materialet med viss relevans.
Du väljer från olika medier och använder materialet på ett relevant sätt.
Du väljer från olika medier och använder materialet på ett relevant och effektivt sätt.
Kunskap om engelsktalande länder.
Du diskuterar översiktligt några företeelser i olika sammanhang och områden där engelska används, och gör enkla jämförelser med egna erfarenheter och kunskaper.
Du diskuterar utförligt några företeelser i olika sammanhang och områden där engelska används, och gör välutvecklade jämförelser med egna erfarenheter och kunskaper.
Du diskuterar utförligt och nyanserat några företeelser i olika sammanhang och områden där engelska används, och gör välutvecklade och nyanserade jämförelser med egna erfarenheter och kunskaper.
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