Kathryn Stockett's The Help - The Reluctant Psychoanalyst Reads a Book and Contemplates the Limits of Understanding the Other
Post script: It is now years later and I am remembering this book and noting that I did not talk about the ultimate communication of the black experience to the whites - when the infuriated best cook in town literally makes the most poisonously racist woman eat her sh*t. I think that I did not reference that moment (one that was highlighted in the movie) for the reasons outlined above - I experienced Stockett as distancing herself from the subjectivity of the cook and of the racist woman so much that the potential impact - the projective identification (described in a post on 9/11) - does not register. Instead, especially in the movie, I remember experiencing this as a moment of triumph, which I don't think it was for anyone involved - I think it was a moment of deeply and powerfully felt communication of feelings that are incredibly difficult to contain and to communicate verbally.
Mrs. Bridge, reviewed here, and the companion piece, Mr. Bridge - which I have not reviewed, are intriguing meditations on the consciousness of a relatively benign bigot (Mrs.) and a somewhat more malevolent, but still very middle of the road one (Mr.) in Kansas City in the 1930s. I have also reviewed the movie Selma in the same post, which, I think, interestingly protects the African American psychological experience in the time of the civil rights movement in ways that are similar to, but that may have different motivations than does The Help, as does The Butler, which I have not reviewed. A post on an African American psychoanalyst describing her subjective experience, and my failure to appreciate it, is described here. Another post about the series Transparent, which details a psychoanalytic description of why bathrooms seem to be so central to issues of civil rights - something that is a central plot in the help, but not one I articulate above.
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