Monday, January 31, 2011

Ignorance

Miss Celia is pretty much described as a ditzy blonde. She can't cook. She can't clean. She comes across (& Minny even describes her as) the laziest human being ever. (Though reasons for this sloth-like behavior are explained).


But possibly the most ironic description of Miss Celia's lack of knowledge comes from Minny. She says,
"See, I think if God had intended white people and colored people to be this close together for so much of the day, he would've made us colorblind...how did she (Miss Celia) get this far in life without knowing where the lines are drawn?...Every white woman I've ever worked for ate in the dining room as far away from the colored help as they could..."

Miss Celia replies-- "'But why? I don't want to eat in there all by myself when I could eat in here with you'"...

Minny-- "I didn't even try to explain it to her. There are so many things Miss Celia is just plain ignorant about."

(Quotes from The Help, pages 215-216)

I find this funny because as I teach the Civil Rights Movement to my 5th graders, and I tell them all of the awful things that happened to African-Americans, one of the adjectives I use to describe these evil-doers is "ignorant." Most southern whites were raised, like the women in this book, to be predjudice-- they don't really know any better. This is the very thing that Abileen talks about breaking her heart-- and she is dreading the day that Mae Mobley becomes like her mother and thus judgemental of those different than her.


But for a black maid to describe a white woman as ignorant because she is NOT predjudice certainly made me smile. It's all in a point of view. Perspective. Looking back, I view Miss Celia as ahead of her time-- and she didn't even realize it.


Miss Celia comes across to Minny as child-like and immature in many areas. But it is this child-like innocence that makes her unique and unlike the other ladies she is trying so desperately to fit in with. She sits with Minny at the table to eat, talks to Minny and refers to her as a friend, and trusts Minny with secrets that she cannot entrust to anyone else.

 I think if God had intended white people and colored people to be this close together for so much of the day, he would've made us colorblind...
I love that line... Sometimes I wonder if he did make some people colorblind... "Ignorant people" like Miss Celia... Educated and intelligent people like Miss Skeeter, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

(sigh)

I'm on pg. 238-- getting there!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just call me Pokey

Sorry I have slowed things down recently. Justy Mac zipped through The Help, but I seem to be taking my sweet time. I have noticed that I read REAL books slower than I do my eBooks. Weird. As a friend had loaned me this book, I saw no reason to download it to the Kindle.

I am still not done, but WHOA! I am loving this book. One of the ways I determine a good book is does it make me FEEL? So far I have been through a range of emotions-- anger, humor, sympathy, confusion for how anyone could treat another human being the way some of these women do.

The characters are extremely well developed-- you can SEE them clearly in your head as you read. (Though I have heard this is being made into a movie, so  have no doubt my pictures will be distorted by Hollywood).

Right now the adjective I am thinking about is brave. Abileen, Miss Skeeter, and Minny are all immensely brave. This takes place during such a crazy time in US history. A sad time. A dark time. But nonetheless, a time of true bravery from many people.

We will be going over the Civil Rights Movement at school soon. It is interesting to teach this to 5th graders, and to see their reactions. We touched on it a bit last week-- having just finished the Civil War while discussing the celebration of Martin Luther Kin, Jr holiday. One student (and not one of my smartest either) said to me, "Why can't everyone just get along? We are all the SAME afterall."

Exactly.

I'm on pg. 166-- and I promise to get a move on!

Sidenote-- I've started a new audiobook-- Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. So far I like it. I've heard good things. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 17, 2011

*Slowing Down*

At S.Dub's request, I am going to wait on "Unbearable Lightness" and read another Celia Rivenbark fun read. I'll let you know what I think about 'Stop Dressing Your Six-Year Old Like a Skank'.

Happy Reading!! :)

What do I think?

I am finished with this book and it was AMAZING. It was one of those reads that I could not put down. I am going to wait on my final thoughts until S.Dub finishes also because I don't want to give it away. All I know is I don't want Minny making me a pie after a spat!!! ;)

Now onto "Unbearable Lightness" by Portia de Rossi

JustyMac

--
Dear Justy Mac,

SLOW DOWN!
:)  S.Dub

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Help: chapters 1-4

Aibileen

S.Dub: 2 things kept going through my head as I read the first 2 chapters concerning Aibileen. One-- I cannot imagine going through life everyday being treated the way Aibileen (and the other "colored" maids) were treated. I teach a month long unit on the Civil Rights Movement-- so I know all about the issues-- but it never ceases to amaze me that human beings can treat each other this way.

The other thing I kept thinking about was how AWFUL Miss Leefolt is to her daughter, Mae Mobley. It just breaks my heart. I cannot imagine treating Miss Priss that way. I am interested to see how this mother-daughter- maid dynamic evolves through the book.

It appears to me that Aibileen is going to be a very strong character in the book-- even though I am not sure she is aware of, or believes in her own strength... yet, anyway.

JustyMac:

I agree that Aibileen is a strong character. She is a wise woman and she is brave.

As far as Ms. Hilly goes--oh my. She likes to be in charge and tell everyone what to do. Don't we all know someone like that? As the books goes on my dislike grew immensely for her. You'll find it isn't just the 'help' she is rude to.

Minny is a force to be reckoned with! She has a good head on her shoulders and is a tough lady. As you read on about her life, I'm sure you will agree.

I didn't mean for this post to end up in the middle of S.Dub's notes.... Forgive me as I continue to learn about blogging. :P


Minny

S. Dub: Whew! What a character Minny is! Unlike Aibileen, she KNOWS her strength and doesn't seem to be afraid to use it. I can forsee Minny getting herself, and possibly others, in some serious trouble through this book.

She seems a good match for Miss Celia-- who seems a sad sort of character so far.


4 chapters in and I am hooked. The characters are very well developed and the writing is amazing. Looking forward to learning about Miss Skeeter in the next couple of chapters..



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Beginning...

We are teachers. By nature, we read. Sadly, it is not always possible for us to read what we WANT to read. In these busy school days filled with planning, crowd control, family counseling, grading, assessing, being assessed by our assessments, and let's not forget, an amazing lack of funding, it is SUPER important to take some ME time and read for pleasure!

So as part of our New Year's Resolutions, we have started this book club to inspire & motivate us to read. (It also helps that we both got Ereaders for Xmas!)

In the past we have read a lot of the same books, and tend to have similar opinions. So it will be interesting to see how we each feel about our selections.

Up first is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This was a best-seller last year, and has been recommended (and loaned) to me (S. Dub) by a fellow teacher. JustyMac has graciously agreed to read along with me.

So here we go... In the words of our favorite Mexican restaurant server-- let's make this EPIC!