Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

Image via Wikipedia

My sister in law JoAnne sent me an email
saying that she was somewhat disappointed in the book The Help because she was
expecting another To Kill A Mockingbird.
She also said once she realized she had misguided expectations, she was able to
re-evaluate “The Help” and enjoy it in its own right.

So true, JoAnne, The Help is NOT To Kill A Mockingbird.

In my opinion, here are three big
differences between the books.

To Kill A Mockingbird

1: TKAM was written through the innocent eyes
of a powerless child, albeit a precocious one.

2: TKAM was a serious book that did
not have a ‘punch line’ or anything fantastical in it. Its light heartedness
came from the fact that the children in the book did not truly realize how
dangerous and dreadful things in their lives actually were, racially,
financially, or physically; the readers know it, but the kids in the story do

3: In TKAM we are not left with the feeling
that life will change for the better, for anybody, any time soon.

The Help

1: TH was written from the viewpoint
of a college educated woman, one who is coming to the realization that her
world is terribly flawed, but she possesses power to affect it.

2: TH was not a totally serious book; it had a punch line–the chocolate pie– and a sense of fantasy about it.
The chocolate pie was pivotal to the story, and although we wish that it were
true in real life, it most likely wasn’t; yet we as readers suspend our
disbelief and accept the idea that this ‘pie’ is real. I have one problem with
that: we as readers and moviegoers must be sure to acknowledge the horrible
truth about the racial situation in the south in the 1960’s.That situation also
is nearly beyond belief, especially to the present generation. So, if the
‘terrible awful’ thing that Minnie did is a ‘joke’, was the situation in the
south in the 1960’s also a ‘joke’, or was it actual? In the movie, there is
footage from the news coverage of the time; that is very important, I think. It
moves the movie out of a possible fantasy tale and back into the real,
historical world of that time.

3: In TH we are left with the feeling of hope. Things are changing in the culture; they are changing slowly and painfully, but they are changing, and for the better.

Even though it is true that The Help is
not To Kill a Mockingbird, there are some big similarities:

Both books are generally about the same subject: racial
discrimination in the south. Both books personalize that subject with such
power that we cannot help but be moved. Both books have been made into
excellent movies. And both books are beloved by many for the stories they
tell so beautifully.

2 thoughts on “Comparisons

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