A lively and wide-ranging discussion at lunch today led to us discussing the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett, who will be in town next week. I haven’t read the book yet, but I talked about my aunt Ruthie who actually worked as a maid for a number of years. I understand that the book portrays a loving and inspiring bond between the lead character and her maid. I’m sure there were some situations like that, but that was not the case at all with my aunt. The stories I remember my aunt telling were quite bitter (and, in a few cases, hilarious) but they intimated a type of bond too.
Natalie M. raised the most interesting question concerning the whole thing: Can a servant really love the people she’s paid to serve in that situation? In such a circumstance, how can the person being served tell the difference between real love and the “care” that a maid is paid to provide? I mean how long can you do someone’s laundry without caring about them even a little bit? Which things are you doing from the heart and which ones are you doing “on the clock”? Does that distinction make a difference? Like I said, I haven’t read the book. Maybe it raises exactly those questions. Though we didn’t stay on the topic very long (just minutes later we were all gushing about the homemade ice cream we were having for dessert), I thought it was interesting enough to share here.