A Synopsis of the Movie The Help

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Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan - Recent graduate of Ole Miss, has returned to her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi to find a job and find herself. This leaves her open to seeing her hometown’s inequitable treatment of the black domestics, primarily the female maids in the employ of her friends. Skeeter both admires and fears disappointing her mother and her friend Hilly, yet she pursues completing a manuscript called Help with primary assistance from her good friend’s maid named Aibileen. She also seeks the reason her beloved maid Constantine abruptly left her family’s employ. Aibileen Clark – A maid and nanny in Jackson, Mississippi. Aibileen is the first narator, a middle aged African American employed by Elizabeth Leefolt, Skeeter’s good friend. Here’s how the character is described in the book: . . . Aibileen smiles at me from the sink, her gold tooth shining. She’s a little plump in the middle, but it is a friendly softness. And she’s much shorter than me, because who isn’t? Her skin is dark brown and shiny against her starchy white uniform. Her eyebrows are gray even though her hair is black. (Skeeter’s observation of Aibileen’s appearance Pg 78) Aibileen is a nurturing character, and her tender affection for Mrs. Leefolt’s two year old daughter Mae Mobley is a strong beginning. Aibileen is wary of involving herself in a book on domestics in Jackson, Mississippi. However, because she serves as the “bridge”character, or the mediator between Skeeter and the other black maids needed for the project, she soon warms up to Skeeter. Aibileen’s adult son Treelore has been dead a couple of years when the book begins, and her husband left her for another woman when Treelore was just a boy. So the manuscript gives Aibileen something to do besides running the Leefolt household. Because her character is the affable guide, her participation in Skeeter’s book leaves her at the mercy of Hilly.  At the end of the novel, though she’s saddened to be dismissed from the Leefolt household (due to Hilly’s insistence), her spirit is not broken. Minny Jackson - The “sassy” maid, Minny’s mouth has gotten her into trouble one too many times. Aibileen’s friend, and a character who’s unable to keep employment because of her bossy demeanor and sharp tongue. After she loses her job with Miss Walters (Hilly’s mother), Aibileen helps her land another one with Celia Foote, who’s considered white trash and is shunned by sorority sisters and socialites like Hilly and Elizabeth. Minny is married with five children and a sixth on the way. Hilly Holbrook - Childhood friend of Skeeter and Elizabeth, the president of the Junior League in Jackson, Mississppi. Roomed with Skeeter at Ole Miss for two years, dropped out to get married. Her husband is running for the senate, and Hilly tries to push through a sanitation initiative so that all the white homeowners have a separate bathroom (outside, like an outhouse) for their black domestics. Hilly is a woman who enjoys controlling others and striking fear into those who dare oppose her. When Skeeter begins working with the maids and subsequently has “Help” published, she runs afoul of big bad Hilly. Celia Foote - Newest resident of Jackson, Mississippi, winds up hiring Minny because she cannot cook and initially tries to hide Minny’s involvement with the house cleaning and cooking  from her husband, Johnny Foote. Celia has also been unsucessful at carrying a fetus to term. She forms an unlikely bond with the sharp tongued Minny. Celia dresses provocatively, but is really a sweet person. She’s also unaware of the history between her husband and Hilly (they were together prior to Johnny meeting Celia). Elizabeth Leefolt - employer of Aibileen, best friends with Hilly and Skeeter.  Elizabeth is easily lead by Hilly. She’s also unable to be an affectionate mother to her daughter Mae Mobley, and so Aibileen becomes the child’s primary caretaker, teacher and surrogate mother. Has a son named Ross later in the novel. Aibileen...
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