Character Analysis of Aibileen Clark from the Help
Discrimination is a disease. “Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them” (Martian Luther King Jr.). The Help is a novel based on how a dozen coloured people express their thoughts on how it really feels to work as a black maid in the white homes of Jackson. The main theme of The Help is race.
The coloured people are thought to be dirty, and filled with diseases. Aibileen is strong, brave and is known for her prayer powers. Despite all of that Aibileen is a character that is full of love for young children.
Aibileen is thought to have some sort of connection with god that all the other black people of the community lacked. Aibileen is known for her prayers; furthermore anyone who gets on her prayer list is exceedingly lucky. It is as if Aibileen is sitting right in the ears of god and all the other people are in a waiting list for their prayers to be answered.
Aibileen was asked by various people if she can pray for them since ‘Rumour is you got some kind a power prayer, gets better results than just the variety’ (Page 27). A time where Aibileen’s prayer was accepted was Eudora Green’s incident. “Eudora Green, when she broke her hip, went on your list, up walking in a week…” (Page 27). Or even when Minny pointed out Lolly Jackson’s incident. ”Lolly Jackson—heck, Lolly go on your list and two days later she pop up from her wheelchair like she touched Jesus…” (Page 28). It is as if Aibileen does black magic to some extent.
It is impossible to deny that Aibileen is extremely strong and brave. Aibileen had the nerve to step up and be a role model for all the other maids by spilling out everything on how it feels to be a coloured person working for a white person. Notwithstanding what would happen to her if she were to get caught. After all the years of being treated unequally Aibileen finally changed. Aibileen says “A bitter seed was planted inside a me. And I just didn’t feel so accepting anymore” (Page 183). Aibileen took the risk of her house being burned down, losing her job and never getting a job ever gain and even getting shot in front of her house. Aibileen is also strong and brave considering the fact that when her son Treelore died in an accident at work. Aibileen said “It took three months for I even look out the window, see if the worlds there….Five months after the funeral, I lifted myself up out a bed” (Page 3). This is when Aibileen faced the real life and didn’t take every word that was said about her and her friends. Due to the fact that Treelore was also writing a book on how it feels to be a coloured man living and working in Mississippi.
Aibileen took his steps and accepted to write the book. In the end what really mattered was that Aibileen and her community were proud of what she has done. More than anything else Aibileen possesses a heart filled with love for young children. Aibileen has a ponderous amount of love for her son Treelore and she has special love for Mae Mobley, daughter of Ms. Leefot. Aibileen has an extremely wonderful relationship with Mae Mobley to the extent that she named Mae Mobley her “special baby”. Aibileen teaches Mae Mobley many things, but one thing she really stresses is racial equality and civil rights. Aibileen tells baby that they have same features. They both have a nose, mouth, eyes, face, hands and everything else. But, the only difference is that Mae Mobley is white and Aibileen is black. Aibileen tells Mae Mobley many things about racial equality in order for her to have some different ways of thinking about race when she is being told different stuff at school.
Aibileen also does not want Mae Mobley to become like her mother by making a separate washroom for her later maid, thinking that coloured people are dirty and carry many diseases. Mae Mobley takes Aibileen as her mother because since day one Aibileen took care of her and also due to the fact that her mother ignores her in many occasions and treats her in an extremely way by beating her for going to the coloured washroom. Aibileen even told Mae Mobley a secret story on discrimination every week. Aibileen was shocked one day by the way Mae Mobley was acting when she came back from school. Aibileen asked “What is wrong, baby? What happen?’ Mae Mobley cried I colored myself black’.
Miss Taylor said to draw what we like about ourselves best.’ She said black means I got a dirty, bad face.”(Page 480,481). Aibileen felt a hard fist in her chest thinking that everything that she taught baby girl was about to go to waste on the account of her teacher. In conclusion, Aibileen Clark portrays the life of a maid living in Jackson, Mississippi. Aibileen had a washroom built for her because she was thought to have many diseases. All the qualities that Aibileen possessed show what type of character she is. Simply, Aibileen is an extremely loving, devoted and strong character. Aibileen went through many struggles in her life. But at the end all that really mattered was that she was proud of herself. Despite being fired and her dearest person to her (Mae Mobley) was taken away from her.
Stockett, Kathryn. The Help. New York: Penguin Group Inc., 2009
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