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Rachel-K
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The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11

Please use this thread to share your thoughts about The Help, through the end of chapter 11.

 

How would you describe the three main women in this section, Aibileen, Skeeter, and Elizabeth? What are their relationships to each other?

 

How would you describe Minny and Celia, and their relationship to each other?

 

What do you make of the irony of Skeeter landing a job answering the Miss Myrna letters (because she's a woman) and having to get Aibileen to answer the questions for her?

 

What is it that makes Aibileen want to talk? Are you surprised by what she has to say?

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maude40
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11

I'm only up to chapter 5, but so far I find Elizabeth, Hilly and very shallow and Abileen and Minny most endearing. I like Celia. She has such an innocence about her. Skeeter seems down to earth and caring about others. Yvonne
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maude40
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11

I love the dialogue in this book. Here are three quotes I especially loved.

 

"They ain't rich, that I know. Rich folk don't try so hard." page 3

 

"This woman talk like she from so deep in the country she got corn growing in her shoes." page25

 

"Because ain't that white people for you, wondering if they are happy enough." page 49 Yvonne

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maude40
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11

I'm already learning so much from this book and I'm only 60 pages into it. On page 21 a poke salad is mentioned, something I'd never heard of. I found it's main incredient is the leaves of the pokeweed plant which if not gathered and prepared properly is very poisonous. I think I'll pass up this delicacy.

 

Also on page 43, Minny gives tips on using Crisco. There was many uses that I wasn't aware of. I now look at Crisco with a whole new mind.

 

And on page 57 the term "apoplectic diarrhea" is an interesting combination of words. One would surly not want this condition. Yvonne

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ladycarolina
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11

I'm actually half-way through the book so I'll try not to spoil anything.

 

I love the relationship between Minny and Miss Celia. While Celia is so innocent yet caring, Minny insightful but also angry at the world. I think their characters would teach a lot about each other.

 

Aibileen: It seems like she doesn't have an evil bone in her body. She finds solace in her prayers and found Mae Mobley a as substitute to fill that void after losing her son. She is quiet and unlike her friend Minny, she doesn't speak her mind. She has anger and sadness but she bottles them inside. She's kept them for so long so I'm not surprised she's ready to speak out.

 

Skeeter: A rebel. That's one word I would describe her. She refuses to be confined with the Southern  women tradition: marry young and have babies young. I admire her for following her dream even though it would lead to the disappointment of her mother. She's confident but insecure about her looks.

 

I think it's hilarious that she landed on a job of writing a column giving advice about household. I admire her spunk for at least wanting to start somehwhere.

 

Elizabeth: She's a follower. I think she's one of those girls who tries to keep up with the Joneses. Obviously she isn't very rich but she tries to live up to her friends and society by having a separate bathroom for Aibilene.

 

 

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maude40
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11

The bottom of page 85 where Aibileen is talking to Skeeter about her son Treelore's writing she says, "Please don't tell nobody that," she says, softer now, "him wanting to write about his white boss." She bites her lip and it strikes me then that she's still afraid for him. Even though he's dead, the instinct to be afraid for her son is still there."  It's amazing to me how the white people's control is so  strong even after death. It strikes me that it would be very dangerous for Aibileen to talk to Skeeter when she's even afraid for Treelore and his similar writings getting back to the white community. Yvonne
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maude40
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11

The potty-training incident on pages 94-95 was heart-breaking. For Aibileen to hear Miss Leefolt tell Mae Mobley it's dirty and she would catch diseases from Aibileen's bathroom. I can't imagine how that must have made Her feel. I can't imagine treating people like that. My dislike of Miss Leefolt just keeps getting stronger . Yvonne
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maude40
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11

I would think that if Skeeter took Aibileen's written prayers, she could get a weath of information for her book. Aibileen's writing her thoughts down would be a safer way for them to communicate. Yvonne
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Fozzie
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11


maude40 wrote:

Also on page 43, Minny gives tips on using Crisco. There was many uses that I wasn't aware of. I now look at Crisco with a whole new mind.


I read that section with interest too!  It seemed like that list could be used in Skeeter's column.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11


maude40 wrote:
The bottom of page 85 where Aibileen is talking to Skeeter about her son Treelore's writing she says, "Please don't tell nobody that," she says, softer now, "him wanting to write about his white boss." She bites her lip and it strikes me then that she's still afraid for him. Even though he's dead, the instinct to be afraid for her son is still there."  It's amazing to me how the white people's control is so  strong even after death. It strikes me that it would be very dangerous for Aibileen to talk to Skeeter when she's even afraid for Treelore and his similar writings getting back to the white community. Yvonne

It's impossible for me to understand that fear.  However, I think Kathryn is doing an excellent job of showing us how that fear controlled black people's lives.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11


maude40 wrote:
The potty-training incident on pages 94-95 was heart-breaking. For Aibileen to hear Miss Leefolt tell Mae Mobley it's dirty and she would catch diseases from Aibileen's bathroom. I can't imagine how that must have made Her feel. I can't imagine treating people like that. My dislike of Miss Leefolt just keeps getting stronger . Yvonne

 

It was a different world, wasn't it? 

 

While still a world away, I coudn't help but think of a home in my neighborhood that is being added on to.  There is a port-a-potty outside for the workers even though I know from the layout of the house, that they could easily access a half bath witout tracking through the house.  While not nearly the same as the separate bathroom in the book, it's not as far away as it might be.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11


rkubie wrote:

How would you describe Minny and Celia, and their relationship to each other?

 

What do you make of the irony of Skeeter landing a job answering the Miss Myrna letters (because she's a woman) and having to get Aibileen to answer the questions for her?

 

What is it that makes Aibileen want to talk? Are you surprised by what she has to say?


Minny and Celia are both odd women out, rejected by the exact same group of people, yet that similarity is unknown to either of them.

 

I have been trying to figure out why Celia lays around so much.  Laying around, coupled with the blood stain outside the master bedroom's bathroom door, leads me to believe that she had a miscarriage and is so afraid of it happening again that even though she doesn't know she is pregnant, Celia is constantly acting as if she might be.

 

It is hilarious that Skeeter is writing a column about cleaning when she has never cleaned anything in her life!  There is so much humor in this book that I am constantly chuckling.  The humor is needed to balance out some of the horrible things we are reading.

 

I was surprised that Aibileen decided to talk.  She attributed it to Miss Leefolt, I think, so Aibileen apparently had had enough.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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WinterLady
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11

I just finished up to chapter 11.  I love reading the scenes with Minny and Celia.  Minny is so motherly with Celia.   I can't stop wondering what is going on with Celia.   Good guess, Fozzie, maybe she is afraid of miscarraige.  She seems so worried her husband will think she isn't "worth the trouble" that I was surprised when he did appear that he was so likeable. 

 

Minny describing Miss Celia looking at her "like I'm the best thing since hairspray in the can" is hilarious.

 

Skeeter is definitely a rebell.  I find myself wanting her to be even bolder with her mother and her friends.  Skeeter's friendship with Hilly made more sense to me when Skeeter explained that their being honest with each other is the one thing that keeps them friends.   Her date with Stuart Whitworth is sad because she is so hopeful in the beginning and so tired at the end of it.  Makes me wonder why Hilly set them up in the first place since Stuart really wasn't interested.

 

 

 

 

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aprilh
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11


Fozzie wrote:

 

I have been trying to figure out why Celia lays around so much.  Laying around, coupled with the blood stain outside the master bedroom's bathroom door, leads me to believe that she had a miscarriage and is so afraid of it happening again that even though she doesn't know she is pregnant, Celia is constantly acting as if she might be.


I assumed Celia had a miscarriage too. I couldn't figure out how else to explain the bloodstain on the floor.

I found it interesting how Celia was so afraid of telling her husband the truth about hiring Minny as their maid, that Celia and Minny would jump at any unusual sound. Minny even hid on top of the toilet seat once! Then when Johnny unexpectedly showed up and found Minny at the house alone without Celia, he was so nice her. Even grateful to Minny for staying with Celia during the day so she wouldn't have to be alone and telling her how much he enjoyed her cooking. It makes me wonder what the realtionship is like between Johnny and Celia. Why is she so afraid of him if he seems to just want her to be happy?

April
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aprilh
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11


maude40 wrote:
The potty-training incident on pages 94-95 was heart-breaking. For Aibileen to hear Miss Leefolt tell Mae Mobley it's dirty and she would catch diseases from Aibileen's bathroom. I can't imagine how that must have made Her feel. I can't imagine treating people like that. My dislike of Miss Leefolt just keeps getting stronger . Yvonne

 

I agree. At first I wasn't sure what to think of Elizabeth Leefolt, but after the bathroom incident, I decided she was just as bad as Hilly. I wasn't a fan of Hilly's from the start of the book and the more I read about Elizabeth, the more I dislike her. Poor Aibileen having to work there day in and day out, knowing what Elizabeth really thinks about her: being dirty and having diseases. How awful for her!
April
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Fozzie
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Re: The Help: Early Chapters, 1 - 11


aprilh wrote:

I found it interesting how Celia was so afraid of telling her husband the truth about hiring Minny as their maid, that Celia and Minny would jump at any unusual sound. Minny even hid on top of the toilet seat once! Then when Johnny unexpectedly showed up and found Minny at the house alone without Celia, he was so nice her. Even grateful to Minny for staying with Celia during the day so she wouldn't have to be alone and telling her how much he enjoyed her cooking. It makes me wonder what the realtionship is like between Johnny and Celia. Why is she so afraid of him if he seems to just want her to be happy?


I think Celia is afraid because losing her husband would mean losing everything.  Although she has a college education, it doesn't seem like that would get her (or any woman) too far.  If her husband left her, Celia may have to go back to the small town where she grew up, though I am not sure anything is left for her there either.  I think she truly needs her husband in order to survive and will do anything to please him.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.