The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

Start Free Trial

What are five major events in The Help by Kathryn Stockett?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel The Help has three unique female narrators who all have a story to tell. Deciding which five events to include as an answer to your question was very difficult because each of the women have significant, life-changing things that happen in their lives. The events I...

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

have chosen represent significant moments in the overall story and are in no particular order.

One major event in the novel is when Aibileen finally agrees to tell her story. This is so significant, for it represents a willingness to speak the truth despite her fear. It is a slow process for Aibileen to build up trust with Skeeter, but the maid is eventually convinced that the result will be worth the risk. Aibileen is also instrumental in convincing Minnie to tell her story to Skeeter; once Minnie talks, the other maids begin lining up to talk, as well.  If Aibileen, and of course the others, are not brave enough to speak to Skeeter, there is no story.

Another significant moment is when Hilly humiliates Skeeter in front of the League. This one humiliating public act changes how all the white women in town treat Skeeter and sets up a kind of enmity between them which requires an over-the-top repayment: toilets all over Hilly's lawn and a book which cryptically reveals that Hilly once ate human feces--and loved it.

Celia's hiring of Minnie is another significant event in the novel, as it allows Minnie to discover that a white woman and a black woman can maintain a successful maid/employer relationship and even friendship. Celia does not see color even when she should, and the relationship she and Minnie develop is a beautiful foil to what is happening in so many other homes in town. They love and respect one another, something which is not the norm here; they also share a disdain for Hilly which brings them both great pleasure.

Skeeter has always loved Constantine, the maid her family had when she was young. When she discovers the truth--that her mother sent Constantine away and now Constantine is dead--Skeeter is devastated. She recalls this moment from her childhood:

I listened wide-eyed, stupid. Glowing by her voice in the dim light. If chocolate was a sound, it would've been Constantine's voice singing. If singing was a color, it would've been the color of that chocolate.

Skeeter's love for the black maid of her childhood is what caused her to think about race and class much differently than most other white people in town. Without that, the book would never have happened.

The last major event shall only be named what Minnie has called it: "The Terrible Awful." This deed truly indicates the depths of the chasm between the white mistresses and their black maids. Minnie is powerless to defend herself, so she does this. It is, as Minnie says, terrible and awful, but it is not surprising.

These five events are some of the major occurrences in this novel. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are five major events that take place in The Help by Kathryn Stockett ?  

The publication of the book written by Skeeter and Aibileen is the most important event in the novel. This event is arguably the most important of the novel as it leads to the climaxes of each of the narrators' stories (Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny). The values and efforts of these characters are manifested in this event. 

The Benefit is another highly important episode. Here the conflict between Celia and Hilly comes to its climax (and soon after comes to its conclusion). In terms of the plot progression of the novel, the Benefit is central to the story as it has been foreshadowed heavily and serves to organize the action of the novel to a significant degree. 

Other imporant events are Celia's miscarriage, Skeeter's showdown with Hilly, the cancer diagnosis of Skeeter's mother, Mae Mobley's first lesson on the toilet, and the end of Skeeter's relationship with Stuart. 

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are five major events that took place in The Help?

I would suggest that some formative events took place before the action described in The Help.

The death of Aibilene's son Treelore happened some years prior to the opening of the story, but that event greatly impacted Aibilene, her future employment situations, and her eventual cooperation with Skeeter in recording the stories of the black women working for white women in Jackson.

The unexplained departure of Constantine from employment with Skeeter's family, while she was away at college, turns out to be another important event. When Skeeter's mother is forced to admit the full circumstances of Constantine's behavior and the reasons she left, Skeeter's outrage toward the prejudices of the people around her intensifies, supported by a very personal sense of regret.

Yule May's imprisonment is important because it is the event that convinces many of the other black women that their stories need to be told, that it is worth the very considerable risk involved to meet with Skeeter and have their comments added to the book's contents.

A series of connected incidents - Miss Hilly's campaign to pass the law requiring separate toilets for the black help, Skeeter's article suggesting that toilets be left on Hilly Leefolt's front yard, Hilly's vow to get revenge on Skeeter - constitutes a major escalation in the war of wits between Skeeter and the engrained prejudices and practices of the whites of Jackson.

The events that take place in Jackson are echoed in the background by the Civil Rights Movement that was escalating in level of activity and commitment of persons involved during the time period covered by The Help. Martin Luther King leads the March on Washington, Medgar Evers is assassinated, President Kennedy is assassinated - events that increased the level of risk and the level of commitment to the importance of getting Skeeter's book published.

Last Updated on