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Chapter 31 Summary

Aibileen

Every day, Aibileen finds an excuse to check Miss Leefolt’s nightstand to see if her bookmark has moved. It has been five days, and she is only on page fourteen; there are two hundred and thirty-five pages to go. Miss Leefolt is a slow reader. Even so, Aibileen wants to tell her that the chapter she is reading right now is about Miss Skeeter and Constantine—and that chapter two will be about her.

All week Aibileen is nervous and jumpy, especially on the day Miss Hilly comes over to work with Miss Leefolt on the Benefit. They occasionally look up and ask her to bring them something, and twice Miss Hilly comes to the kitchen to give further instruction to Ernestine, her one-armed maid, over the phone. After clearing their plates, Aibileen walks back into the dining room and hears Miss Hilly say she is on chapter seven. The maid starts shaking and is even more concerned when Miss Hilly leans over and says the story just feels like it might be Jackson, that they might even know some of these Negro maids. Miss Leefolt has not read far enough to add to the conversation, but Miss Hilly smiles “real sneaky-like” and says she intends to figure out each person in the book.

At the bus stop the next morning, Aibileen begins hyperventilating as she wonders how far Miss Leefolt has gotten in her book. When she arrives at the house, the white woman is reading the book and does not stop to greet her or pay attention to her son. Now that Miss Hilly is interested, so is Miss Leefolt. When she has a chance, Aibileen takes a...

(The entire section is 557 words.)