Last Sunday, we held a discussion at the Community of Christ church (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) on the book/movie The Help. The All Good Books group read that book last year and discussed it at one of our book club meetings.

The discussion went well last Sunday, but we only scratched the surface, so we’ll continue the discussion at 9:30 AM this coming Sunday (September 18, 2011)  in the Church Library. Come and join us.

Some of the questions I prepared to generate discussion are listed below. Come prepared to discuss these questions or anything else related to The Help.

  1. In your view, what is the most important theme or message of the novel?
  2. Who is your favorite character and why?
  3. Should a person’s flaws (such as racist attitudes and actions) be excused because of community norms or the times in which they lived? Do you think the characters like Miss Hilly, Miss Elizabeth and Skeeter’s Mother (Charlotte Phelan) were consciously aware of their racism? Does our society, our community or church support a corresponding conscious or unconscious bigotry or intolerances today?
  4. Do the novel and the movie reinforce stereotypes about the civil rights movement, the South and racism?
  5. Are the relationships between people of color and white Americans significantly different today in your community compared to the historical time period of The Help (1960s)?
  6. Why, in the novel, do white children raised and loved by Black maids grow up to become Miss Hilly? Will Mae Mobley follow the same pattern when she reaches adulthood?
  7. What was your favorite scene in the novel? Did you underlined passages to remember or re-read?
  8. In the movie (but not the book) Skeeter’s Mother, Charlotte Phelan, says “Courage sometimes skips a generation.” Do you agree? What’s the basis for your belief and Charlotte’s statement?
  9. Elaine Stein (Skeeter’s editor) encourages Skeeter to “…get going. Before this civil rights thing blows over.” How did you react to that statement?
  10. Miss Hilly is quoted by Pascagoula as saying “That a true Christian don’t give charity to those who is well and able. Say it’s kinder to let them learn to work things out theyselves.” Do you agree? Does your belief apply to those who are on welfare, food stamps, extended unemployment benefits or Medicaid?
  11. In the movie one of the Black maids is quoted as saying “courage isn’t just about being brave.” What do you think was meant?
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