For Skeeter, completing the manuscript with Aibileen and Minny is both enlightening and liberating. She realizes just what the maids go through on a daily basis, and even mirrors their mask of contentment on several occasions in the novel. For Stuart she is docile and shy, but when Hilly finds literature that she considers highly liberal reading, Skeeter must cower and lie, in order to convince Hilly that what she’s doing is harmless.
As the dutiful daughter, Skeeter takes her mother’s concern for her lack of a romantic interest to heart. Her mother, blunt as ever, even questions Skeeter on whether she prefers women to men.
In the end, Skeeter’s journey culminates in seeing everyone as they truly are. Through Skeeter’s eyes, Aibileen and Minny are less of a mystery and more sympathetic. Their color and station in life is no barrier to her friendship and business relationship with them.
A one sentence or central theme of the novel could include:
Racial injustice or Racial intolerance
Another theme is class and gender
Under gender, the example would be the time period, where women were supposed to be happy home makers. Skeeter wanted to be a writer. Yet when she got home from college all her mother and her friends wanted to do was to push her into a relationship and marriage.
Under class, the book mentions how threadbare Elizabeth Leefolt’s home and clothing were.
Yet she still kept up appearances by having a maid. Also note that her husband, Raleigh was against getting a third bathroom because of the cost. With Hilly’s assistance, the outhouse for Aibileen was completed.
There’s also a difference in the section of the city and lifestyle of the maids vs. their employers.
Skeeter, Hilly, Celia and Elizabeth attend the Junior League Benefit, but their maids also work it.
And Celia is considered to have married above her station, since she’s from Sugar Ditch, a very poor section of Mississippi. Johnny Foote attended Ole Miss along with Hilly and Skeeter. And since he ran in the same social circle, while the novel does not stress how he became well off, because Celia needs a maid to help with the cleaning of her mansion, Johnny has money.
Celia was afraid at first that Minny would not take the job because the mansion is quite large. But Minny needed a job, after getting blacklisted by Hilly. Another indication of Johnny’s wealth is how much Minny is paid. The character states that she makes more working part time for Celia than she did working full time.
to be continued. . .