Location: Ms. Highland's Room

Group 2:
Laurel Hurd
Tess Merrill
Claire King
Alex Lucas
Emily Chaloult
Sierra Still
Mary Highland


To start the discussion:
Introductions: (Name and Grade)

General Questions
Talk about each character and how they played an important role in the novel.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Do a whip around the circle, what scene stuck out to you in the book?

Run Through Characters:

Make a list of all characters.
With important characters go around in a whip and say one thing about the character.
Character list:
Aibileen- employed by Elizabeth
Minny- employed by Hilly's mother Miss Walters, then later Celia
Skeeter- Writes "The Help"
Hilly- Miss Walter's daughter, bosses around Minny
Celia- Hires Minny because she can't cook and wants to impress her husband
Elizabeth- Friends with Hilly and Skeeter, employer of Aibileen
Charlotte- Skeeter's mother
Stuart- Set up with Skeeter on a blind date, ends up getting engaged to Skeeter
then takes back the ring when he finds out about her involvement maid's stories.
Mae Mobley- Elizabeths daughter who Aibileen takes care of
Leroy- Minny's abusive husband
Constantine- Skeeter's childhood maid who was like a mother to her.
Elaine- The publishing editor of Harper & Row who publishes Skeeter's book.
Yule- Hilly's maid after Minny

Ten Words or Less: (individual/in pairs)
Summarize book in 10 words or less. (3 min each)
Share summaries and respond and comment on each. Open to discussion.

Discussion Starters:
People to compare/contrast:
Ms. Hilly/ Ms. Celia
Aibileen/ Minny
Skeeter’s mother - Do you think she is a sympathetic character? She seems to have cared for Constantine, but yet she still gave her the ultimatum. She is very critical of Skeeter.
Skeeter and Stuart’s relationship

What would you want to ask the author?
Does the style of the book and writing match its message? How?
If a chapter were added before or after, what would it look like?
What did this book make you think about in your own life?
Look at the opening sentence and closing sentence. Discuss.

Another Point of View:
1. Choose a long passage or scene.
2. Examine how it is narrated. Narrator’s position, level of power and tone. (3 min)
3. Re-examine from another character’s view who is of a different level.

Leveled Questions:
1. Find a richly detailed plot event.
2. Everyone write three questions about it.
a. Factual (can be answered by text. ie. what time of day does the event happen?)
b. Interpretive (a question with multiple answers, ie. Why does a character choose a certain course of action?)
c. Evaluative (includes something outside the text. ie. does the situation remind you of a world event?)
3. Go through all factual, then interpretive, then evaluative.

Channel the Author:
1. Divide in two mini groups
2. Each group composes a question to the author. (ie. what do you want readers to learn from your book? why did you write this?)
3. One group asks the other group their question. The other group gets a minute to confer and respond in the author’s voice.
4. Repeat steps with the other group’s question.

Passage Path:
1. One person start by bringing the group to a significant passage.
2. The rest of the group finds a passage to compare/contrast with the original and reads it aloud. Discuss connections between passages.
3. Keep going around having all members bring up a different passage that relates.

Important scenes to Discuss:
Naked man in Ms. Celias yard (ew)
The Benefit
The ‘chocolate’ pie incident
and so on
Everyone share a favorite passage


Discuss important themes:
- The relationship between the maids and the white women’s children
- The “separate” bathroom issue
- Impact of The Help in Jackson
- To what extent do you think a person's flaws, such as racist attitudes and behaviors, can be forgiven because it is the norm in the surrounding culture?

Compare Book to Movie
- Were the characters how you envisioned them while reading the book
- Movie Trailer: __http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_ajv_6pUnI__

Whip For End of Discussion:
- What comment today most affected your thinking?
- What questions still linger for you?

Creative Writing Pieces

Poems By Emily Chaloult:

The Help

They do what they’re told just to get paid
Scared of what might happen if they disobey
To lose their job would mean no money
With no income there’s no place to stay

So they work extra hard making it by
To put food on the table and try to survive
How they are treated brings tears to their eyes
But not for long, there’s no time to cry


She wanted to help make a change
In how the housekeepers were being arranged
They all thought that Skeeter was playing a game
Why would she want to do something so strange

No one else cared about the colored housekeeping
All they cared about was where they were peeing
They didn’t treat them like human beings
Skeeter had something that was worth believing

She wanted to write an anonymous novel
That would reveal how the housekeepers were treated so awful
No one realized they were being so brutal
This helped them change and be more grateful


She wouldn’t take crap from anyone
She always had them in mind
When her boss wasn’t being fun
She made her a special chocolate pie

This pie was her favorite, as Minny could cook
Every time she would bake it perfect
What her boss didn’t know was that Minny put
A special ingredient, a piece of her “shit”

You is important

The rich mothers never had time for their kids
Instead they would hand them off to their housekeepers
They became close as they raised them
“You is kind, you is smart, you is important”
Aibileen would tell the little girl she was raising up
Her mother never paid attention to her; always pushed her aside
The little girl would reach out to Aibileen and cry
Aibileen held tears back in her eyes
For the little girl she always tried

The Help Creative Writing Assignment by Sierra Still

F. Fran and Sally entered the gym to work out and talk about the book they just read. Fran talked about how the book changed her way of looking at “colored” people, but she also talked about how she wished the times were still like that, where “colored” people had to use different bathrooms and were maids for cheap. Fran asked Sally how she felt about the book, and Sally said that she loved the book and it inspired her to treat all people equal and she felt like Skeeter did a good thing making a book about “colored” people. Sally also thought that this book is moving and inspirational and every young teen should read The Help. Sally not only believed that Skeeter did the right thing, but she wished she was as strong, brave and open minded as Skeeter was. Fran said that she had a totally different opinion on the book that she thought that “colored” people should not have equal rights and that her father hates “colored” people, Fran also talked about how she would have told the cops about Minny putting “shit” in her owners cake, so Minny would go to jail for it. Sally and Fran talked about how the Aibileen and the other maids that had to basically raise these young girls from when they are very little, and the little girls instead of looking up to there mom they look up to there maids. Just like skeeter the little girl that Aibileen takes care of looked up to her maid like she was her real mom, her maid told her how important she was, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important.” all the time so she would know how much she meant to Aibileen. Sally and Fran talked about it in two different ways but both agreed that is a wonderful book and they really liked it.

The Help Soundtrack by Alex Lucas

  1. Where is the Love? by Black Eyed Peas: One of the sentences in this song (in addition to the whole underlying them to the song: where is the love?) directly relates to The Help. It says, “But if you only have love for your own race, Then you only leave space to discriminate, And to discriminate generates hate.” In the beginning of the book during the luncheon, this discrimination is portrayed by the white characters. The ladies talk about building another completely separate bathroom for the black maids because they think it is bad and gross that they use the same toilet as Aibeleen, or any maid, also uses. They suggest to Miss Leefolt she build a bathroom outside of her house just for use by Aibeleen. Sure enough, within days another bathroom is awaiting her and Miss Leefolt tells her to use only this one.
  2. Come Home by OneRepublic: Constantine. Where is she? This songs talks about waiting for someone to come home, and without a doubt Constantine is someone in the book that people, specifically Miss Skeeter, are waiting for to return. In the song, you definitely get the feel that the two people really care for each other. As is true with the book. Miss Skeeter looks upon Constantine for advice and comfort; she was the beloved maid who raised years back.
  3. Angel of Mine by Monica: This song is about two people who really care for each other and enjoy spending time together. In the book, the relationship between the the maids and the white women’s children is very important. It appears the maids have a stronger relationship with the children than their own mother. For instance, Aibileen is constantly comforting Mae Mobley. Miss Leefolt will barely even pick her up, for she always finds some excuse or reason to avoid it.
  4. Live to Tell by Madonna: Creating a book to tell some of the secrets that have not been told about what it is like to be a black maid in Mississippi is the main goal of Aibileen and her peers, with the help of Miss Skeeter. The first line of the song is “I have a tale to tell.” This is exactly what they want to do. This is also probably the most key piece in the book, it makes the book, and getting out their lifestyle is key.
  5. The Climb by Miley Cyrus: Obviously, it is very hard to live in the south and be a black maid. This song is talks about struggling and taking chances but never giving up. The whole entirety of the book is about this. They know that by writing a book talking about what their experiences are can be very risky for them, but they never give up hope.

Laurel Hurd
The Help
(New Final Chapter)
Skeeter’s been in New York for over two years now. She writes me about once a month, telling me about how much she loves her new job up there with Mrs. Stein. She said she met a new man, and she’s going to bring him home around Christmas to meet her mother and father. Her mother has regained her esteemed title in town; not even cancer could keep her out of the community for very long.
I’ve been writing these domestic housekeeping articles every week. Some of these white women writing to me don’t know a thing about cleaning their home, but I guess that’s good because it keeps me busy and employed. Although I have never been doing this well on money as I am now, so maybe it’s time I give them a little piece of my mind. But Minnie always says,“Aibileen, you have to be grateful of what you have. Don’t go jinxing yourself by talking badly ’bout white women who keep you in a job.” Suppose its just best to laugh about them inside my head and keep my mouth shout. After Skeeter left, the demand for our little book went through the roof. Not only were the people in Jackson reading it after they saw it on television, but it seemed like everyone in America wanted a copy!
Mrs. Hilly kept trying to tell all her bridge friends that the chapter about that foolish women eating her maid’s ‘special pie’ wasn’t her. Everyone knew it was, though. Minnie became a bit of a legend here in Jackson. Miss Hilly eventually couldn’t stand the humiliation and the stares from those whom used to admire her, so she packed up her beloved family and moved down somewhere in Georgia where her Mama grew up.
Minnie’s kept her job now longer than all of the others she has had. That Miss Celia sure is most appreciative of her. And her husband can’t thank Minnie enough for saving Miss Celia’s life. He and his boys have started up the new guesthouse construction project making room for Minnie and her children to come move in so they can get out of Minnie’s sister’s home. Miss Celia finally started filling in the upstairs bedrooms with little babies. She is due for her second child in right near four weeks, just like Johnny always wanted. Now with Miss Hilly gone she has started hosting bridge club at her house every second Tuesday of the month. Once they gave her a chance, all the ladies, especially Miss Leefolt, became just about inseperable from Miss Celia: gossiping non-stop.
Miss Leefolt never hired no other help. It’s like she’s become a whole new person. Once Hilly left she mustered up enough courage to ask me to come back, but I told her, “Old Aibileen’s started a new retired life. I ain’t working for you or any other wives no more.” She didn’t bother finding me a replacement. Mae Mobely and her baby brother finally got the mother they deserve. Although I still do miss Mae Mobely every once and a while, but it reassures me to know her mama’s paying more attention to her.
I have a meeting with a man from Hollywood this afternoon. He said he read our book and he sees a lot of potential. I don’t want to get my hopes up too much, but I think some real good things might come from this. There’s even talk about making a movie. I can’t even imagine how great it would be to see our story on the big screen. It’s hard to say what the future will hold, but I’m just glad that by the time I pass I will have made an impact on this world.