““Mrs. Taylor said to draw what we like about ourselves best.” I saw then a wrinkled, sad looking paper in her hand. I turned it over and sure enough, there’s my baby white girl done colored herself black. “She said black means I got a dirty, bad face.” She plant her face in her pillow and cried something awful.” Chap. 31, pg. 409
The lasting impact of early life lessons is shown in this quote. This idea was an ever-present theme in the book, particularly from Aibileen’s side of the story. After raising and coming to love 19 babies, only one of which was her own, in her lifetime Aibileen has made non prejudice and equality a big point of childhood upbringing. Most of the maids, including Aibileen, find it hard to understand that they take care of and love on these children their entire childhood, but the children still end up treating the help as their lesser when they are grown ups. As a child, with no attention or love ever given from her mother, Mae Mobley grows up adoring, loving, and trusting Aibileen with her whole heart. Because of this lack of love, she decides Aibileen is the best thing she has, even though they are different colors. So, when someone punishes her for coloring herself the color of Aibileen, she is not only confused but also hurt that someone would tell her something like this.
''But then I realize, like a shell cracking open in my head, there's no difference between these government laws and Hilly building Aibileen a bathroom in the garage, except ten minutes' worth of signatures in the state capital.'' Chap. 13, pg. 173
This book is crawling with references to toilets and bathrooms. Whether it's Hilly covincing Mrs. Leefolt to get Aibileen her own bathroom or the numerous toilets in Hilly's yard, there is always something. The reason there are so many references to bathrooms and toilets, is because Hilly and most of the people in this book are convinced that the...