The story of the novel The Help takes place in Jackson, Mississippi, following the life of Skeeter. Skeeter recently graduated and now dreams of becoming a writer. She returns to Jackson after school, however, to find out that her maid Constantine from childhood has disappeared for a reason that no one will inform of Skeeter of. When Skeeter returns to her house, her mother immediately begins showing her how to be a housewife, how to meet a man in order to start a family, and encourages her to hangout with other housewives. Despite all of this influence from her mother, Skeeter still deeply wants to be a writer. She takes a small job at a newspaper company where she writes cleaning advice columns. The setting occurs during a time in Jackson where African American maids are being used in the home, so Skeeter is unable to correctly write her advice columns. As a result, she turns to her friends maid, Aibileen. Together they write these columns and additionally begin to work on a different project. Skeeter interviews Aibileen about her life and what it is like to be a maid. As racial tensions increase in Jackson. more maids start to be interviewed, including Aibileen’s best friend Minny. Eventually, Skeeter has enough interviews to publish a book which is published anonymously. People in Jackson begin to recognize themselves in the book, and the book continues to climb in popularity. Along the way, Skeeter also learns what happened to her maid Constantine, and the ending is a great surprise.
Skeeter- Skeeter is the main character in this novel. She is a young woman who wants to become a writer. She befriends Aibileen and the other help in Jackson while writing her book which becomes extremely popular. During the book, she also tries to figure out what happened to her maid Constantine which was very heartbreaking because she loved Constantine very much. Her mother urges her to spend time with the housewives in Jackson that were her age, and these women also appeared in her book since they all owned maids.
Aibileen- Aibileen was the help for one of Skeeter’s friends. At the time that the book is taking place, Aibileen is still grieving over the death of her son. He passed away because he got severely hurt while working, and the white family whom he worked for ignored the incident and let him die. Aibileen shows a lot of courage throughout this novel, as she is the first one to be interviewed by Skeeter for her book; this was a dangerous risk because Skeeter’s story occurs at a time in Mississippi when racism was very common, so Abilene could have gotten into severe trouble. Aibileen also urges another character, her best friend Minny, to be in Skeeter’s novel.
Minny- Minny worked for Hilly who is the antagonist of the story, as well as interviewed with Skeeter for her book; it was because of Minny’s story that Skeeter was not revealed as the author. Minny told the story of the time she sought vengeance of Hilly for the way she was being treated. It would have been too embarrassing for Hilly if she was exposed for the story Minny told, especially with the powerful position that Hilly held. Due to her different views on the civil rights movement and the racial equality ideals Hilly herd from Skeeter, their friendship fell apart throughout the novel. In contrast, Minny and Aibileen formed a wonderful friendship with Skeeter that none of them expected.
In conclusion, The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a touching, heartwarming story about racial inequality, friendship, and courage. Skeeter is a true example of the type of people that stood up for change back during the period written about in this novel. The bonds that the characters formed in The Help with each other and the growth that each person goes through in the book are amazing to read about. Additionally, the writing style of Kathryn Stockett is absolutely beautiful. Overall, this is not a book that should be ignored, and the message in The Help is especially one that can change lives.