Power Hierarchy In Maid-Master Relationships

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What this creates is a particular power dynamic in the maid – master relationship. Logically, there is an unequal power hierarchy due to difference in class and the structure of employment. Yet, the power hierarchy is further emphasised by the position of African Americans, which means that the employer has the upper hand. For instance, when looking at the relationship between Aibileen and Miss Leefolt, Miss Leefolt, despite her being twenty-three and half the age of Aibileen, has the authority over her maid to tell her what to do. Race is superior to age and life experience. Moreover, the only response that Aibileen can give is the submissive acceptance of her chores and other issues such as a separate bathroom. What made this relationship even more strenuous is the fact that the maids could get fired at any time. In addition, it meant that having one bad reference would limit their opportunity to find new work.1 The novel highlights this through Minny 's difficulty of finding a job and of her being terrified that Celia would fire (other word?)…show more content…
Due to the intimate connection in their daily lives, the strict division that society expects is one that becomes blurred. One the one hand there is a power hierarchy, on the other hand there can be love and friendship. Skeeter reflects this contrast when she says: “there is undisguised hate for white women, there is explicable love...the dichotomy of love and disdain living side-by-side is what surprises me.”4 This relationship can cross a barrier as it blurs the divisions created in society between the two races. This blurring can be seen in the love between Skeeter and her maid Constantine, where Skeeter feels more at home with Constantine then with her own family and friends. For instance, she says to her mother that Constantine raised her5 and that she was hurt that Constantine left her with “these

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