Chapter 33 Summary
Miss Skeeter wakes from her sleep with her heart pounding in her chest. She wonders what she heard that awakened her. She gets out of bed and listens, but it was not her mother. It was a high-pitched scream, like the sound of ripping material. She sits back down and tries to still her beating heart.
Nothing is happening as they planned it—people seem to have figured out quickly that the book is about Jackson. Skeeter knew Hilly was a slow reader, but she forgot. In fact, Hilly is probably lying about how far along she is in her reading. Things seem to have gotten out of control; one maid has been fired, and it is likely that more will be fired yet. Skeeter thinks it is a great irony that she is the one waiting for Hilly to speak when she is also virtually the only person in town who does not care what Hilly has to say. This book may have been a mistake.
Skeeter thinks about her future, about the fifteen resumes she sent all over the country. Elaine Stein said she could use her as a reference, so she did. Her name is the only notable thing on Skeeter’s thin resume. She cannot add “author of Help” anywhere on her resume. Even if she does get a job, she cannot leave Aibileen when things are going so badly. But she really wants to be in New York. As the sun rises, Skeeter realizes that horrible scream was her own.
At the drugstore, Skeeter is waiting for her mother’s prescription. It is becoming clear that the best cure for cancer is a daughter who wears tacky clothes and has frizzy hair, giving her a reason to continue living. Mrs. Phelan was obviously disappointed with Skeeter’s nonengagement, but she rebounded quickly; she even set Skeeter up with a cousin who was obviously a homosexual. She told her mother he was not her type.
Skeeter wants to leave the drugstore before anyone she knows can come in and snub her. She really misses having friends, and it is too dangerous now to even go visit Aibileen, though they do talk occasionally on the phone. Nothing good has come from this book, just gossiping and treating the book as a giant guessing game. She was the one who promised the women they would not be found out, so she is the one responsible for this mess. Elizabeth and Lou Anne come into the drugstore, and Skeeter has to walk by them when she is called to pick up her mother’s prescription. The two ladies turn their backs to her, but they follow her with their eyes in the mirror.
Just as Skeeter is about to escape, Lou Anne asks to speak to her for a moment. Skeeter is surprised because no one has asked such a thing of her in eight months. After asking about Skeeter’s mother, Lou Anne tells her that Hilly has been telling people Skeeter is the one who wrote the book. Hilly also wants Lou Anne to fire her maid; however, Lou Anne does not want to do that because sometimes Louvenia is the only reason she can get out of bed. The doctors want to give her shock treatment for her depression and other things, and she needs encouragement from someone.
Louvenia is the best person Lou Anne knows, and when she read the chapter about her, she was moved and touched by Louvenia’s appreciation for Lou Anne’s kindness after her grandson, Robert, was beaten. Skeeter stays silent. It is the first positive thing she has heard about the book, but it also means Lou Anne knows the truth about the book. Lou Anne says that if Skeeter did write it, she wants her to know that she will never fire Louvenia—and if Hilly calls her again about firing her, she will tell Hilly she deserved that pie and worse.
But now, this morning, Hilly is telling everyone the book is not about Jackson. Skeeter is relieved and Lou Anne gets ready to leave. As she is leaving, Lou Anne tells Skeeter that Hilly Holbrook will not be getting her vote for League president in January—or ever again. After Lou Anne leaves, Skeeter regrets not having taken the time to be a better friend to her. The point of the book is for women to realize that, white or black,...
(The entire section is 1,499 words.)