"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" (pg. 78) (Metaphor)
This metaphor that Skeeter uses when recalling Constantine's singing shows the mutually reinforced connections between music, color (the brown color of Constantine's skin), and the sweetness of chocolate. It vividly depicts the deep, lovely quality of Constantine's voice.
"She like one a them baby chickens that get confused and follow the ducks around instead" (pg. 106) (Simile)
Aibileen describes Mae Mobley this way when she notices that she is more affectionate with the colored help than with her own mother. The simile highlights Mae's attachment to Aibileen, which is as odd as a baby chicken following around a duck. It also emphasizes Mae's young and vulnerable nature by comparing her to a helpless baby animal.
"And there be Miss Skeeter in a red dress and red shoes, setting on my front steps like a bullhorn" (pg. 118) (Simile)
This quote references the bright colors Skeeter is wearing on her tall frame, but also emphasizes that her appearance on Aibileen's doorstep is as unexpected as a loud noise.
"[Her] smile is a fat child's at the Seale-Lily Ice Cream window. The button on her red suit coat bulges" (pg. 206) (Metaphor)
Hilly is planning a double date with Skeeter and Stuart. Peculiarly, she seems most interested in getting her husband William to spend time with Stuart, which may be related to the fact that William is running for office and Stuart comes from an influential family. When Skeeter agrees to this double date, Hilly says "Good," and her smile is described as a fat child's (p. 206).
Hilly is clearly no child - she rules the Junior League with an iron first, and she manages every aspect of social life among white women in Jackson. However, she is often self-centered, and lacks an understanding of the needs and feelings of others. Like a child at an ice cream shop, she thinks only of ways to satisfy her own desires.
"[She] says her family pattern is Chantilly, but she'll be picking out her own new pattern when she gets married. 'Since I consider myself an independent thinker and all.' Carlton pets her on the head and she nudges against his hand like a cat. They both look up and smile" (pg. 134) (Simile)
Shortly before she rushes out to her first, ill-fated date with Stuart, Skeeter meets her brother's girlfriend, whom she refers to as Ponytail Girl. She describes her in the above way, a self-proclaimed independent thinker.
By comparing Carlton's girlfriend to a cat, this simile emphasizes the dehumanizing nature of white southern femininity. She might consider herself an independent thinker, but the only real choice she has is between the patterns on her silverware. Even this small exercise in choice is only significant as a way to make her boyfriend's family like her.
"Mississippi is like my mother. I am allowed to complain about her all I want, but God help the person who raises an ill word about her around me, unless she is their mother too" (pg. 528) (Simile)
Author Kathryn Stockett writes this in her epilogue to The Help. Whenever remarks to Stockett about the loveliness of her state, she points out the violence in its history. Whenever someone comments on how awful Mississippi is, she points outs its beauty. Despite how dear the state is to her, she recognizes that it is not perfect. In this way, Mississippi is comparable to a parent.
The Help Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Help is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Skeeter's family would like her to be the typical Southern woman who has a little career but ultimately wants to get married and live in the same way her friends Elizabeth and Hilly live. When she begins her book about the lives of the maids, she...