In the The Help by Kathryn Stockett, how did the relationship between Celia and Minny change and evolve? How is it shaped by the events in the story?

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dashing-danny-dillinger eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The relationship between Miss Celia and the outspoken Minny Jackson is especially engaging in the way that it evolves throughout the course of the novel. Miss Celia does not adhere to the same social norms that her peers adopt; indeed, she treats Minny more like a friend and confidant than hired help. Interestingly, Minny does not appreciate Celia’s attitude as she initially considers Celia ignorant and backward. In chapter 17, Celia asks to eat with Minny, which Minny sees as incredibly unusual:

“’But why? I don’t want to eat in there all by myself when I could eat in here with you,’ Miss Celia said. I didn’t even try to explain it to her. There are so many things Miss Celia is just plain ignorant about” (Chapter 17).

Minny does not trust Celia because she is white, and Minny is accustomed to being mistreated and degraded by her white employers. Indeed, she forms an uneasy relationship with Celia that eventually blossoms into genuine friendship. The two women help each other with major life events. Minny helps Celia through her miscarriage and her ostracized position within high society while Celia accepts Minny without judgment and is there for her when she decides to leave her abusive husband Leroy. Thus, their relationship is molded through these major events, and despite their initial relationship as employer/employee, they go on to develop a deep and sincere bond as friends.