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Foreshadowing is a technique used repeatedly in this novel. At least two of the first examples take place in the opening chapter.
The nature of Aibileen's conflict with Miss Elizabeth is foreshadowed in one of the initial details she shares regarding Elizabeth's relationship to Mae Mobley. Elizabeth refers to her baby daughter as "it" and this detail hints at the work Aibileen will later do to counteract Elizabeth's lack of care for Mae Mobley.
The use of "it" is followed by Aibileen's realization that "something is wrong with this situation." This statement foreshadows the full disclosure of Elizabeth's lack of warmth.
Also in the first chapter, Hilly mentions her initiative to have separate restrooms put into all the houses where African American help is employed. The mention of the initiative foreshadows two things. First, this foreshadows the construction of the restroom in the Leefolt house. Secondly, this foreshadows the dynamic which will dominate the narrative where Hilly's opinions antagonize those who disagree with her.
Later, Minny's encounter with Mister Johnny is predicted when the meter man comes to Miss Celia's house. Minny and Celia spot someone and do not immediately know who it is. Minny hides in the bathroom.
She looks into the mirror and sees herself there, “crouched like a fool on top of a white lady’s toilet,” ruing that she has been reduced to doing this to make a living.
This scene predicts Minny's eventual encounter with Johnny.
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