The Help

The Help Summary and Analysis of Chapter 29 - 31


Chapter 29

(Written from the perspective of Aibileen.) Despite the heat and hard work at the Leefolt household, Aibileen carries a secret joy - the book about the maids has been published. The book is entitled Help, and Skeeter has given a copy of the book to each of the maids who were interviewed for it. The cover is light blue, with a peace dove on it, and "Anonymous" is listed as the author. Copies of it appear in Jackson bookstores and libraries. Aibileen waits with bated breath to see if Miss Leefolt will purchase the book, but so far it has no appeared in the house.

Aibileen's church holds a quiet celebration. The reverend tells her that the community understands the need for secrecy, but they want to recognize her incredible achievement. The church gives her a copy of Help signed by nearly every member of the black community in Jackson, and they also give her one to pass on to Skeeter, thanking her for all her work. Aibileen weeps for joy, happy that the two years of work has finally come to fruition.

One day while Aibileen is working in the Leefolt household, a book review program comes on the television. The book they're reviewing? Help, of course! Miss Leefolt starts watching because the reviewer was a member of her college sorority; the reviewer calls the book trash, and tells the ladies of Jackson not to spend their husbands' hard-earned money on it. Miss Leefolt misinterprets this to mean that the book is about Jackson, and she heads out to buy herself a copy. Aibileen watches these developments with trepidation, unsure if Miss Leefolt will realize that part of the book is about her.

Chapter 30

(Written from the perspective of Minny.) Minny is furious that the book review show has led to rumors that the book is about Jackson. Though she knows Celia (who has energetically taken up gardening) would never fire her, she is afraid of what Hilly will do. Her worry intensifies when Aibileen tells her that Miss Leefolt bought a copy for Hilly.

Celia learns from her doctor that she will never be able to carry a pregnancy to term. She also tells her husband Johnny how Minny saved her when she had the miscarriage, and Johnny thanks Minny profusely. He holds Celia and asks her never to leave him. Minny, who is heavy with yet another pregnancy, weeps with Johnny and Celia.

At home, Minny's husband asks her what she's up to, and wrenches her arm despite her pregnancy. Minny is afraid to tell him about the book, because she knows it will prompt him to be even more violent with her.

Chapter 31

(Written from the perspective of Aibileen.) Aibileen overhears the bridge clubwomen discussing Help; they agree that it must be about Jackson, and they wonder if they've met the black maids who narrate the book. Hilly grins wickedly and says she's determined to find out the identities of everyone in the book. Miss Leefolt, however, reads right past her chapter; she likely does not recognize herself in the portrayal of the woman who does not know how to love her own child.

Aibileen stops by the grocery store to buy a snack for Mae Mobley, and overhears two white women talking about Help. They whisper about Aibileen to each other, saying that they bet that’s her. Her only hope is that Hilly will read about the Terrible Awful and shut down all of these rumors.


Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny have reached the final portion of the writer's struggle: their book has been published, and their efforts were not in vain. Still, the unexpected success of the book raises the danger that some people will recognize people or events depicted in it, which could put the maids in danger.

The televised book review demonstrates how easily rumors can be started. The reviewer suggests that the book could be about anywhere, even Jackson; Miss Leefolt interprets this to mean that the book is definitely about Jackson. The review also sparks conversation among other women about the identities of the people depicted in the book. In some cases, people are so narcissistic that they are unable to recognize themselves in the unfavorable portrayals offered by the maids, such as Miss Leefolt. However, as Aibileen discovers when she overhears the conversation in the store, other people in the community are putting the pieces together.

Chapter 30 compares two very different types of love. Celia is devastated to find out that she is infertile, but Johnny says he will always love her and begs her not to leave him. They love each other deeply, and their minor deceptions are their ways of trying to prove their own worth to each other. In contrast, the relationship between Minny and her husband Leroy shows the darker side of love. Usually Leroy does not hit Minny when she's pregnant (Aibileen thinks this is one of the reasons why Minny has so many children), but he notices how anxious she is about the publication of the book and hurts her because she won't tell him what she has been doing. This is a frightening and unhealthy relationship dynamic.