Maud Fitch wrote:StephenKingman wrote:I also admired Skeeter for her courage in not wanting to live the kind of clean and safe, conventional life that awaited her if she married Stuart and attended all the posh events and nodded at all the right times, she went down her own path and was a catalyst to the changes in the maids and in my opinion just as important a character as Minny or Aibhleen. Cant wait for the movie now.
Yes, I agree with your comments, in fact my 'real' book club asked us the following questions (probably courtesy of Oprah) and I thought I'd share them:
1. Who was your favourite character? Why?
Every character had struggles to overcome and I found it difficult to separate the three main women but my favourite was Aibileen for her wisdom. Although I ended up liking Skeeter because she was the catalyst, admittedly with a dating self-destruct button, and I believe she embodied a part of the author Kathryn Stockett.
2. Do you think Minny was justified in her distrust of white people?
Yes, of course. Admittedly she was her own worst enemy, saying the wrong things at the wrong time, but she had been stabbed in the back so often she was always defensive and looking for that hidden agenda which usually presented itself in such a way that she was powerless to stand up for herself.
3. Do you think that had Aibileen stayed working for Miss Elizabeth, that Mae Mobley would have grown up to be racist like her mother? Do you think racism is inherent or taught?
Rather a tricky question because it involves child psychology as well as racial prejudice. Children play with other children and don’t worry about the finer details like colour, money, clothes, so I’d have to go with taught. As children gain awareness of their surroundings they ask questions so if their parents respond with segregationist anti-black answers, the child will absorb this. Aibileen may have been able to give Mae Mobley both sides of the story.
4. How much of a person’s character do you think is shaped by the times in which they live?
Superficially we are shaped by our times, fashion, fads, media, music, new gadgets, but I believe underneath basic human nature does not change. We always seem to have traits like kindness and cruelty, generosity and greed, compassion and callousness in equal measure. It's hoped that the good deeds come to the fore.
5. What did you think about Minny’s pie for Miss Hilly? Would you have gone as far as Minny did for revenge?
First of all, I’d like to say that was an exceedingly good plot device but I think it was out of character because Minny(who couldn't leave her husband for fear of being alone) would have known such an action was going to backfire and destroy her working life. Personally, due to my cautious nature, I couldn’t/wouldn’t go that far.
6. Do you think that this novel has the potential to become a classic?
Yes, and I think it may become a book which will be studied in literature classrooms.
That's my personal opinion - how would you answer those questions?
Great comments Maud and it must be fab to have a rel life book club to discuss books, i have never even heard of one in or around Waterford, its probably more a thing where a few people meet in houses to have a chat, nothing official. As for your qs:
1. Minny was my fave as she has such an outgoing and determmined attitude to life, despite being beaten by her husband and facing racism in a daily basis. You can see she has an innate desire to rebel and cause waves (not trouble as such just very opinionated) as she has to remind herself not to cuss on the white women and lose her job. She also has a great sense of humor and some of her remarks on Celia were very funny.
2. Hard to know, was there anything else that Minny went through that other maids at the time didnt? I didnt get that vibe in the book, she certainly felt put upon after Hilly blackened her name but that was as a result of her pie actions, which was her own personality coming through so im not sure if she had a particularly strong grudge against the whites compared to everyone else.
3. I believe Mae would have retained a better view of blacks due to Aibhleens constant stories and reminders of how skin color is just a superficial difference but i suspect this view would only stick in Mae's head as long as Aibhleen was around to remind her- if she was gone and replaced by a less caring maid, her mothers constant color bashing may stick in her head and she may turn out just like her mother. Racism i think is half inhereted and half nurtured.
4. A lot of your character is shaped by what your friends do, what they wear, movies, music, mannerisms, your parents and culture but as Maud says, whether you are in 1860 or 2012 fundamental human characteristics like compassion and kindness remain in a person if they are that way inclined. A person may feel injustice in them no matter what the time period and even the maids in the end decided they were not willing to put up with their stories being repressed.
5. I thought this was a bit disgusting to be honest and although it didnt lessen my view of Minny I think just being seen using Hillys toilet would have been revenge enough, and i hope they dont go down the whole chocolate pie route in the movie.
6. Hard to tell at this stage, too many books are regarded as instant classics these days but it will certainly stand the test of time as a fantastic and thought provoking novel for sure.