What is the form, structure, and plot of the book The Help?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Help is written in first person perspective but has three speakers taking turns doing the talking. Aibilene, Minnie and Skeeter each add their voices to the telling of the story, with the speaker identified through the listing of her name at the start of the section of chapters she is narrating. The one exception to the first person narration is the description of the Junior League Benefit, which is delivered from a third party perspective.

The plot of the book is the interaction between white women of Jackson, Mississippi and their black maids in the early 1960's. Aibilene and Minnie retell their observations and thoughts about the women they work for and observe visiting their employers, share the challenges of their lifestyle with each other, and debate how to approach the possibility of changing the system as the civil rights movement gains strength. Skeeter grew in a different direction from her high school friends when she went away to college, and has now returned home to find herself an outsider, no longer interested in being a part of the social circle or lifestyle being followed by her white friends. When she decides to attempt to write a book in the form of a series of interviews of black maids talking about their relationships with their employers, she enters a world of risk and unexpected revelations. The Help is a chronological record of the process leading to the writing of Skeeter's book and recording its immediate aftermath.