Sep 2 2011

Acts of grace in The Help


Hilly Holbrook is what happens when Mean Girls grow up in the mid-twentieth century South. Hilly is the firmly ensconced queen bee of 1960’s Jackson society. She sets the trends. She pronounces who’s in and who’s out. Hilly uses her influence to hurt those who offend her and advance those who follow her. Hilly seems to honestly believe her own hype. She considers herself superior to others in her social circle which is considered superior to other white people in Jackson, where white people are considered superior to black people. Hilly represents the small-minded, mean-spirited face of Southern pride.

Even Skeeter refuses to confront Hilly. College has broadened Skeeter’s perspective and shifted her allegiances but she knows how it works. Hilly’s pride has to be preserved. Aibileen, Skeeter, and Minny work under the radar to accomplish their agenda. Skeeter and Minny employ some of the same passive-aggressive tactics Hilly uses in order to undermine Hilly. The toilets and pie are funny and Hilly has it coming, but what compelled me about The Help are the powerful acts of grace. Skeeter’s determination to operate outside her comfort zone and help tell truthful stories that might contribute to change is an act of grace. Continue reading