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The Help

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by

Jessica Papagno

on 18 November 2014

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Transcript of The Help

Main
Characters
Point of View
• This story is told in third person omniscient point of view. It features three 1st person narrators who are Aibileen Clark, Minny Jackson, and Skeeter Phelan. This gives the reader the difference in many perspectives of the African American maids and the white characters.
Main Conflicts
• There is a large conflict between the treatments between the characters, especially how Elizabeth treats both Aibileen and Mae Mobley.
• Aibleen’s conflict with herself when she lost her son changes the way people see one another in Jackson.
• Minny has not learned how to be understanding and compassionate to others which has started many conflicts with others. But her character grows through the story as she learns to trust Celia and Skeeter more. She also has another conflicts from the abuse of her husband and her self-confidence.
• Skeeter has an internal and external conflict too. Her identity conflict increases while navigating her mother’s expectations for her as well as her own. This leads her to get a her to get a job as a journalist and undertake the book project with Aibileen. She does not belong in Jackson, but tries to fit in as her internal conflict. Externally, Skeeter has a large conflict with Hilly. She is a negative voice in the community that the book project wants to expose.

Key Events
• The beginning of the book sets the characters: Skeeter Phalen who decides to write the book about the help; Aibileen, the black maid who works for Skeeter’s friend Elizabeth; and, Minny is an outspoken maid who has been fired several time because she cannot keep her mouth closed while working with the white families who employ her.
• Skeeter return from college without a husband, which disappointed her mother. Her desire to expose the social injustice from the hired help in their town makes her strong willed. For example, she stood up for segregation in the bathrooms facilities in the house.
Settings
The help
Written by: Kathryn Stockett
Made By: Jessica Papagno
Symbol
• Segregated bathrooms have become a huge problem in this novel. Just about every page has some reference to segregation and bathrooms. Robert Brown was beaten and blinded when he accidentally used a white bathroom. Similarly, Hilly beat Mae Mobley when she accidentally used Aibileen's bathroom. From this Hilly made it he major project to require white families to build an outside white bathroom to symbolize the racist status quo.
• Aibileen Clark- A middle aged African American main who works for Elisabeth Leefolt. As the first narrator, she nurtures Mrs. Leefolt's two-year old daughter, Mae Mobley. Since she lost her son a couple years ago and her husband cheated on her, she became very protective character.
• Minny Jackson- Aibileen's friend who is unable to keep employment. She us married with five children and a sixth on the way. She is the most stereotypical maid in the book. She has been abused for over fifteen years causing her to be that stereotypical sassy character.
• Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan- After realizing that she doesn't fit in with Hilly and the rest of her white friends, she opens her eyes to see the horrible treatment of the black maids. She is the chosen one as she is open minded, good at heart, and different from everyone else.
• Celia Foote- After marrying Johnny Foote (Hilly's ex-boyfriend), she gained the nickname "white trash." She can not cook and ends up hiring Minny, but hiding her from her husband. She loves gossip and desperately wants to fit in.
• Elizabeth Leefolt- the employer of Aibileen and best friends with Hilly and Skeeter. She is very easily persuaded by Hilly and was very affectionate to her daughter Mae, causing Aibileen to be her primary care taker.

• Hilly fires Minny and ends up working for Celia. Celia tries hard to please her husband by hiding Minny to cook and clean.
• Aibileen cares for Elizabeth’s daughter Mae Mobley as much as she can. She decided to personally spend as much time as possible convincing Mae that she is a good, smart, and kind child. This is because Mae is only 2 years old and gets no encouragement and little love from her family members, especially her mother.
• Robert, the grandson of a maid, is beaten with a tire iron because he used a white only bathroom that was unmarked. This turned him permanently blind.
• Medger Evers is assassinated which upsets the whole black community.
Key Events Cont.
In My Opinion.....
• The most surprising element of the novel was the different meanings of segregation I learned from this book. It doesn’t just mean that black and white people must live apart, it means that they can only interact in certain situations. This is mostly when black people are serving white people in some capacity where there are strict rules about how they can act towards each other. I did like this book and recommend it to others.
The help is set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962 with some flashbacks to the Civil rights Movement throughout the novel. The main events take place in the homes of the white women who have hired black maids to take care of their children and clean.
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