The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

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In The Help, what are three examples of Aibileen being brave?

Aibileen is brave in this novel because she's willing to stand up for what she believes in, even if it means that she could lose her job or worse. Aibileen is also brave because she's willing to open up to Skeeter, a white woman, and tell her things that she wouldn't ordinarily tell a white person. Aibileen is also brave when she makes her own way home after finding out that Medgar Evers has been shot.

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One example of Aibileen's bravery is when she takes Mae Mobley out to her (meaning Aibileen's) bathroom, which is outside the house in the garage. She does this so that Mae Mobley can see how she, Aibileen, uses the toilet. Aibileen knows that she could get in trouble for bringing the young child out to the what is called the "colored bathroom" (page 95), but Aibileen does so anyway because she wants to encourage Mae Mobley to use the toilet. Aibileen's first thought is how to help Mae Mobley, even though she could get in trouble for bringing the child, who is white, to her bathroom.

In addition, Aibileen starts opening up to Skeeter about her life. As Aibileen says, "I find myself telling her how Treelore never made below a B+ or that the new church deacon get on my nerves because he lisp. Little bits, but things I ordinarily wouldn't tell a white person" (97). It's brave for Aibileen to open up to Skeeter, as whites are in a far superior position in novel, and she has to trust that Skeeter will not share what she says with other whites who could punish Aibileen for speaking out against racism and against the maids' shoddy treatment by the white women who employ them.

Aibileen is also brave when she decides to walk home by herself after her bus driver tells all colored people to get off the bus (193). Later, Aibileen finds out that Medgar Evers, the field secretary for the NAACP, has been shot. A man asks her if she wants him to walk her home, but she bravely makes her own way home. Her walk home is symbolic of her ability to bravely find her own way in dangerous times.

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In The HelpAibileen demonstrates bravery in many situations.  Three instances that come to mind would be in how she helps Skeeter write the book, the way she processes the death of her son, and in her approach toward her future.

Through helping Skeeter write her book, Aibileen shows bravery. Aibileen is one of the first to recognize the book's importance.  She shows courage because writing the book is subversive.  It challenges the social hierarchy of Jackson and Aibileen takes a large risk by helping Skeeter write it.

Another example of Aibileen's bravery would be how she copes with the death of her son, Treelore.  Aibileen is broken by his death, but she does not let the anger and poison she feels from it alter the way she views white people. She remains loyal to Mae Mobley, does her job for the Leefolts, and shows love toward Skeeter. She is brave because she can still love despite profound hurt. These actions show courage because Aibileen rises above hatred and vengeance.

Finally, Aibileen is brave in her reaction to her uncertain future at the end of the novel.  Despite this uncertainty, it is clear Aibileen is not afraid of what lies ahead.  She is able to smile and face the future, looking at it directly with a sense of confidence and hope. For a woman of color who has lived her life as "the help" while experiencing the very worst of racism and segregation, Aibileen displays a certain bravery about her future.  She does not believe that her age and experiences prevent her from embracing a new start.  To do so is the essence of courage and bravery.

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