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Character Analysis: Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan
Transcript of Character Analysis: Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan
Character Analysis: Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan
1. Physical Appearance
- Tall, lanky, thin
- Red frizzy hair
- Not confident about herself due to:
1. mothers constant criticism
2. still single while all her friends are married/have families
“When I was born, my older brother, Carlton, looked at me and declared to the hospital room: 'its not a baby, its a skeeter!' (...) I was long and leggy and mosquito thin. (...) The name grew even more accurate with my pointy, beak like nose when I was a child.” - p27
“By sixteen I wasn't just not pretty, I was painfully tall" - p27
"A cream will not straighten my nose or take a foot off my height. It wont add distincti0n to my almost translucent eyebrows or add weight to my bony frame." p109
"Do a characterization of a
character and follow them throughout
the novel, illustrating their character throughout. "
2. Physical traits
3. Actions/ Internal thoughts
4. Relationships with other characters
-Skeeter and Stuart
-Skeeter and Constantine
-Skeeter and Hilly
5. Character development
- Jackson Mississippi, 1960s
- Skeeter : privileged young white woman who lives with her parents on their cotton plantation.
-Very privileged but devotes herself to writing a book about the black maids of Jackson
: her desire to write something substantial and create a career
: to give others a voice, change people's mindsets
-Feels strongly about racism (even though she has never been a victim)
- Large character development
- Does not fit into society's "beauty ideal
- Only white woman who treats black people equally and properly
- Goes against gender role's and her society's expectations regarding young white women
- has different ambitions than others : instead of wanting to be a mother or wife, she wants a career. (which was very unusual in that time.)
1.Skeeter and Stuart
- unlike other women, Skeeter never had a boyfriend. (not her priority and she did not receive many opportunities.)
-Stuart: amused and refreshed by how different she is.
Appreciates that she has strong opinions and her willingness to voice them.
“You're...different. I've never met anybody that said exactly what they were thinking.Not a woman anyway. (…) I came by to see if youd like to come downtown with me for supper. We could talk. (…) We could.. I dont know, listen to each other this time.” (p169)
“ 'You're smart, you're pretty you're' -he smiled- 'tall (…) I hope you write something really good. Something you believe in.' (p171)
- she was deeply hurt by his words and actions on their first date but these comments make her reconsider him and also fall for him.
- finally someone appreciates her, finds her beautiful, believes in her and supports her - which makes her very happy.
- plays a big role in her development, boosts
her ego and makes her more confident
and self assured.
- In the end,
Skeeter is "too much" for him
- she is changing for the better but he is
negative about it
“ “You look.. different.” I can tell hes been holding in this comment all night and he seems more confused than impressed. “That dress, its so … short.” “ (p379)
later: “ 'I don't want mother to see you in that short dress. (…) I mean, believe me, it looks great on you but'... He looks down at the hemline 'Maybe that wasnt the best choice for tonight.' “ (p380-381)
- Too much for him. Couldn't support her anymore after he found out about the book.
“Ugly lives up on the inside. Ugly be a hurtful, mean person. Is you a one of them people? "(…) She pressed her thumb hard in the palm of my hand, something we both knew meant listen. "Listen to me. Ever morning, until you dead in the ground you gone have to make the decision. (…) You gone have to ask yourself , Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?” (p63)
Skeeter and Constantine
- person most responsible for the way Skeeter turned out
- learnt the most important lessons from her which shaped her values and morals
“And even though I still felt miserable, and I knew that I was, most likely, ugly, it was the first time she ever talked to me like I was something besides my mother's white child. All my life i'd been told what to believe about politics, coloreds, being a girl. But with Constantine's thumb pressed in my hand, I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe” (p63)
- very important quote because it shows Constantine opened up Skeeter's mind. Proves the impact she
had on Skeeter.
“it was having someone look at you after your mother had nearly fretted herself to death because you are freakishly tall and frizzy and odd. Someone who's eyes simply said, You are fine with me.” (p65)
-played a big role in helping Skeeter accept herself (doing the reverse of her mother.)
Skeeter and Hilly
- Best friends since grade school
- Things changed after college
- Their ideas and opinions clash - Hilly's priorities are being a housewife, Junior League, Household Sanitation Initative. Skeeter thinks its silly
- Hilly has good intentions for Skeeter but is very blind and oblivious to her desires. (even though she should know her best friend)
- Hilly is very conservative, racist. They start clashing.
- After the toilet prank, Skeeter is ostracised from the group.
-Skeeter becomes lonely: along with Hilly go all her other friends. Causes her to immerse herself in writing.
- Very hurtful and affects her, losing her best friend (even though they had clashed) and all her other friends.
- Contributes to her character development, she is "free" from Hilly's rule.
- Skeeter portraits the "coming of age" theme. We see her grow and develop.
-Also portraits a theme of alienation.
(ostracised by her friends and failing to meet her mother's and society's expectations.)
-Starts out as very shy, insecure, dependent on her parents. Goes through many hard things such as : excluded and ignored by her friends
: breakup with Stuart
: Mother's cancer
: losing Constantine
- All contribute to her becoming stronger and developing her character
- also empowered through writing her book, giving herself and other women a voice = increases her confidence
- In the beginning she acts like all the other ladies in her circle, but still has different opinions and values but doesnt voice them at first.
-Transforms into confident, self assured, strong willed, independent woman.
“I say goodnight to mother. I have a long coat on so she cant see my outfit. I keep the lights off so she cant comment on my hair.” (p378)
- Realizes she can be whoever she wants and doesnt need to be told what to do. (independence)
“I bought with my blank cheque enough clothes to fill the back seat of the Cadillac. Then, I paid forty five dollars to have my hair lightened and trimmed and ironed straight."
- Feeling confident, doing things for herself.
Evidence of her starting to voice her opinions:
-Writing The Help
-Toilet prank she pulled on Hilly, to show her that she wouldn't be blackmailed into supporting her initiative. (previously she would have never stood up to Hilly)
- Telling Stuart off after their first date instead of pretending it was fine, she told him how bad his behavior was - even though he is the first chance she has ever gotten to have a boyfriend.