2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Race and Class Politics: The Portrayal of African American Women in The Help
Michaela N. LaBarbera
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

The Help, based on Kathryn Stockett's novel of the same name, centers around the interactions between middle class white women and their black maids in the 1960s. On one level the relationship between the white housewives and their maids seems to resemble that of the traditional upper class and worker relationship, but at the same time it is the marginalized position of the black maids which encourages them to create their own culture. While the white women struggle to fit into their predefined roles, it is their projection of this rigid system which ultimately undermines their authority. In this paper, I will use a critique of class and race to examine the larger historical and cultural impacts of these themes.

Keywords: The Help, Kathryn Stockett, Class Criticism, Feminist Criticism, African American Criticism, Historical Criticism

Topic(s):African-American Studies
Women's and Gender Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 307-2
Location: VH 1228
Time: 1:15

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