“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it”. Aiblieen, Minny, and many other black Americans in the South had to fight a constant battle against whites and their prejudiced attitudes every day. This separated whites and blacks because of their clouded view of the opposite race. In the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett, the author uses growth and development to show how Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter’s points of view on relationships that cross racial boundaries changes.
Aibileen’s view on the other race changed as she got to know someone of a different race and began to understand whites. At the beginning of the book, Aibileen felt a burning hatred towards white people. As Hilly is talking about building a bathroom for the help, Aibileen thought, “I’m surprised by how tight my throat get. It’s a shame I learned to keep down a long time ago”.
This quote shows how much emotion Aibileen had about the racism that was shown to maids and all blacks.
She had to bite her tongue several times to keep herself from saying something she might regret. Comparatively, Aibileen felt intense fear of the opposite race when she started writing Help. While interviewing her, Skeeter noticed, “…open, honest fear on Aibileen’s face…I exhale but she stays tense”. This shows how scared Aibileen was that someone would discover she was writing the book and retaliate. Brutal events had recently happened in her town, such as the killing of Medgar Evers, and she did not want to be next.
As a result of writing the book, she formed a bond with Skeeter and broadened her view on the white race. She said, “Thank you, Miss Skeeter. For this, for everything”. Aibileen felt sincere gratitude for what Skeeter had done for her and other maids by letting them tell their stories in the book she published.
To summarize, Aibileen’s point of view on the opposite race changed from hatred to love as she gained a relationship with Skeeter while writing their book. Similarly, Minny felt a lot of strong feelings towards white people and how they treated her race. She had a loathing towards them and made her opinion known in many ways. She described one of these events to Aibileen by saying, “‘…I bout spit in her face. But I didn’t. No sir…I did worse’”. Minny had such a powerful hatred that she went so far as to put poop in a chocolate pie and watch Hilly eat two slices of that pie. Again, in the middle of the book, her opinion on having a friendship with a white person had not changed much. She exclaimed to Skeeter, “‘What makes you think colored people need your help? Why you even care about this? You white’”. Minny had no clue why a person of the opposite race would care about her opinion or any other maid’s opinion. She was also too stubborn to admit that they needed the support that the book could give.
As a result of the need for a change, Minny wrote her story and also bonded with Skeeter and changed her view on the white race. This was portrayed when she said, “‘Thank you, sir,’ I say and I mean it”. Writing the book with Skeeter and working for the Footes helped her realize that maybe not all people in other races are prejudiced. They had a chance to let people see that blacks and whites aren’t so different after all. To put it another way, Minny had a big change of heart. She egan the book as a hard-hearted person who just wanted to do her job and have little interaction with the family she worked for to having a second home with the family she worked for, and had become a lifelong friend with Skeeter. Because of Aibileen and Minny, Skeeter also changed her views on relationships with another race. As a child. Skeeter thought of the poorer side as a completely different place than her town that was exciting to be in and visit.
To her child’s mind, the neighborhood all the colored people lived in was a place to go when she wanted to experience something different. By the same token, as she grew older, she realized how differently maids were treated when she was visiting a friend. “Hilly raises her voice about three octaves higher when she talks to colored people. Elizabeth smiles like she’s talking to a child…I am starting to notice things”. Prior to writing her book, she hadn’t noticed the extreme difference there was in the way whites and blacks were treated. Maids were treated like they were inferior to whites, and Skeeter was starting to realize this. Finally, she broke the societal “rule” about interracial relationships and became close to Minny and Aibileen. She often thought of them before she thought of herself, especially when she said, “…
I can’t abandon Aibileen in the middle of this mess. Not with things going so badly”. At the end of her stay in Jackson, the only friends she had left were people of another race. She valued them highly and thought of them as family. Because of this, Skeeter’s views on having relationships over racial boundaries had shifted. She no longer thought of communicating with blacks as an adventurous thrill, but valued them highly. Kathryn Stockett uses character growth to show how Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter’s points of view on relationships that cross racial boundaries changes. As a matter of fact, each character’s view changes a tremendous amount, from hatred and excitement to love. These changes in view started to bring about changes in their lives, also.