Skip Nav

At the end of the novel, what final words does Aibileen want Mae Mobley to remember?

❶For the film adaptation, see The Help film. Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read.

Navigation menu

See a Problem?
Logging out…
by Kathryn Stockett

I am ashamed to admit that it took me 20 years to realise the irony of that relationship. I'm sure that's why I wrote my novel, The Help — to find answers to my questions, to soothe my own mind about Demetrie. At times mischievous, at times wickedly ironic, at times heartbreaking, this novel argues that story writing and storytelling have the power to effect positive change for individuals and their communities. As Stockett's above quote suggests, this novel shows us that these are also tools we can use to deal with painful parts of our pasts.

Oh, and in case you need a little comic relief in the midst of all this serious discussion, there're enough poo-jokes to fuel at least one episode of South Park. When this book gets hold of you, it'll have you laughing, crying, and hanging on to the edge of your e-reader, all at the same time. We hear a lot these days about "transparent society" — a phrase taken from the title of David Brin's non-fiction book that explores the positive and potential negative impacts of technology, privacy, and freedom.

Advocates of a transparent society like controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Asange are most concerned with exposing abuses of power in order to safeguard the privacy of individuals. For others, transparent society means an Orwellian nightmare from which there is no escape. For some media outlets, transparent society means working overtime to satisfy the public's hunger for the secret lives of celebrities and politicians.

And, hey, we just can't get enough reality TV. The point is, we love and, yeah, sometimes don't love reality TV because it gives us glimpses into the lives of people we ordinarily wouldn't get to meet. We are fascinated by them in part because we see the people in them in the case of, say, Jersey Shore making public what were once private acts — like Snookie's manhunts and seductions, or ordinary things like using the bathroom, throwing up, having hangovers, brawling, and the like.

Reality TV comes in just about every flavor we can imagine. With video cameras built right into our phones and computers, we all have the potential to be reality TV stars.

Archeologists, historians, and, yes, writers of historical fiction work to make the past more transparent too. Southern writers are known for shedding light on the highly-guarded secrets of that region. Ultra-famous Mississippi writer William Faulkner often did so by representing the haziness and confusion of southern life after the Civil War, through complicated narrative and grammatical structures and experiments with language, as in The Sound and the Fury.

We are given glimpses into the secret lives of the white and black families of Jackson in the early s, through the camera-like eyes of the black maids as they work on a book bringing their true, day-to-day, even intimate experiences to the public eye.

By diving into perspectives not frequently explored in popular literature, Stockett widens our perspective on the American historical past and might just inspire us to look around our own communities with new eyes. After reading The Help , who knows, you might find yourself inspired to grab that camera, keypad, or good old-fashioned pen, and begin your own chronicle.

The Help Introduction In a Nutshell The Help , first published in , is the rather impressive, in our humble opinion debut novel by American writer Kathryn Stockett. She says, I started writing it the day after Sept. Skeeter steals a pamphlet from the library that lists Jim Crow laws. Three months after their failed first date, Skeeter and Stuart go out again and even share a passionate kiss.

Stuart becomes a regular part of Skeeter's life, though he doesn't know about her secret writing project. In May of , Celia has a miscarriage and reveals that it's her fourth.

She's afraid that if she can't have babies, Johnny won't want her anymore. When Minny tries to convince her that Johnny loves her, Celia realizes that Minny and Johnny have met.

In July, Hilly's maid, Yule May, steals one of her rings, which happens to be valueless and which Hilly hates. When Hilly refused to loan her the money, Yule stole the ring. Anger at Hilly over her treatment of Yule May, plus a little persuasion from Minny, convinces eleven more maids to tell their stories for Skeeter's book.

Skeeter and her family have dinner at Stuart's parents' home. At dinner, the topic keeps coming around to Stuart's ex, Patricia Van Devender, who cheated on Stuart with a white civil rights activist. At the end of the evening, Stuart breaks up with Skeeter. Hilly steals the list of Jim Crow laws out of Skeeter's bag and says she won't give them back until Skeeter, editor of the Junior League newspaper, prints a notice about Hilly's bathroom project in the newsletter.

Outdoor bathrooms for black employees in white households, remember? Skeeter does print the notice. She also, accidentally-on-purpose, prints a notice telling people to drop off their old toilets on Hilly's lawn. Meanwhile, she hires some kids to deliver dozens of toilets to Hilly's place.

Needless to say, Hilly is furious when she finds out. Skeeter is subsequently ostracized by the women who used to be her friends. Aibileen, Minny, and the other maids are afraid Hilly will find out that they are writing their stories and hurt them. She ends up tearing Hilly's dress and vomiting on the floor — not good progress there.

In the days that follow, Celia is depressed and is on the verge of leaving Johnny because she thinks she isn't good enough for him. Minny convinces her to stay. We learn that during her last days of caring for Hilly's mother, Miss Walter, Minny baked a chocolate pie laced with her own poo, and that Hilly ate two slices of the pie.

This is why Hilly is trying so hard to ruin Minny around town. Minny convinces Skeeter and Aibileen that their best protection against Hilly, if their book comes out, is to include the pie story in Minny's section.

Even if Hilly recognizes the town as Jackson, she won't tell because it would mean admitting to eating poo. In December, Skeeter learns that Constantine, the maid who disappeared mysteriously from Skeeter's life, is dead. After Constantine's daughter, Lulabelle, and Skeeter's mother, Charlotte, got into a confrontation, Constantine was fired. She moved to Chicago with Lulabelle and died three months later. Skeeter gets part of the story from Aibileen and part from her mother.

Also in December, Skeeter and Stuart get back together. In January, Stuart proposes to Skeeter. She says yes, but when she tells him about Help he takes back his proposal. Also in January, Skeeter, Aibileen, Minny, and the other maids learn that Help is going to be published. They wait with bated breath. When the book comes out, Hilly immediately suspects the book is set in Jackson and begins campaigning against the maids who she suspects are involved.

But when she gets to the last chapter, Minny's chapter, and reads the pie story, she does an abrupt turnaround and tells everybody she can that the book isn't about Jackson. Still, Hilly confronts Skeeter about her involvement in the book and vows revenge on Aibileen and Minny. Before she goes, Skeeter arranges for Aibileen to take Skeeter's old job writing the Miss Myra column.

Meanwhile, Celia finally tells Johnny about the miscarriages and about Minny. Johnny and Celia tell Minny she has a job with them for life. However, Hilly arranges for Minny's abusive husband, Leroy, to be fired and to be told that it's Minny's fault.

In a Nutshell

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

The Help is a novel by American author Kathryn Stockett. The story is about African Americans working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early s. A USA Today article called it one of the "summer sleeper hits".

Privacy FAQs

The Help is most definitely on my short list for all time favorite books. I am not sure which was better the audio book or the Kindle read. This is the first novel by this author and I do not know how she will ever top herself/5(10K).

About Our Ads

The Help, Kathryn Stockett's debut novel, tells the story of black maids working in white Southern homes in the early s in Jackson, Mississippi, and of Miss Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, a year-old graduate from Ole Miss, who returns to her family's cotton plantation, Longleaf, to find that her. The Help is a novel by American author Kathryn Stockett. The story is about African Americans working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early s. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفتم ماه آوریل سال میلادی/5.

Cookie Info

A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t. ABOUT KATHRYN STOCKETT. Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi/5(K). The Help is set in Jackson, Mississippi and begins in August The novel features three main narrators – Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. year-old Aibileen Clark starts us off. The novel features three main narrators – Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. year-old Aibileen Clark starts us off.