The Help

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The young daughter of Elizabeth Leefolt, Mae Mobley loves her maid, Aibileen, more than her actual mother. Due to her mother’s negligence, Mae Mobley lacks self-confidence, but Aibileen tries to instill in her the belief that she is good and valuable. Mae Mobley is too young “see” race—she doesn’t form judgments based on the color of people’s skins—but Aibileen worries that her mother will soon teach her to see black people as inferior to white people. Aibileen successfully teaches Mae Mobley that there is no inherent difference between black and white people other than skin color. Mae Mobley internalizes this lesson and passes it on to her little brother, Ross.

Mae Mobley Leefolt Quotes in The Help

The The Help quotes below are all either spoken by Mae Mobley Leefolt or refer to Mae Mobley Leefolt. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Berkley Books edition of The Help published in 2009.
Chapter 7 Quotes

I want to yell so loud that Baby Girl can hear me that dirty ain't a color, disease ain't the negro side of town. I want to stop that moment from coming – and it come in every white child's life – when they start to think that colored folks are not as good as whites.

Related Characters: Aibileen Clark (speaker), Mae Mobley Leefolt
Related Symbols: Bathrooms
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

After Miss Hilly sees Mae Mobley attempt to use Aibileen's toilet, she orders Aibileen to leave her alone with her daughter -- only to repeatedly spank Mae Mobley and, in supposedly whispered tones, declare that Aibileen and her bathroom are "dirty" and ridden with "disease." This disturbing scene impels Aibileen to want to scream the truth (that, as she remarks, "dirty ain't a color, disease ain't the negro side of town"). However, Aibileen cannot say anything in this situation, as she stands in her employer's kitchen. Again we see Aibileen's inability to share her thoughts and words because of her relatively powerless position in society.

Aibileen knows that Mae Mobley will, eventually, "start to think" of black people as inferior. This fact underscores the conditioned nature of racism; racist thoughts are inspired by cultural and social surroundings. Children such as Mae Mobley must be taught to be racist. For now, though, Mae Mobley serves as a reminder that change may happen in the future and in future generations.

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Chapter 34 Quotes

I walk out the back door, to the terrible sound a Mae Mobley crying again. I start down the driveway, crying too, knowing how much I’m on miss Mae Mobley, praying her mama can show her more love. But at the same time feeling, in a way, that I’m free…Freer than Miss Leefolt, who so locked up in her own head she don’t even recognize herself when she read it. And freer than Miss Hilly. That woman gone spend the rest a her life trying to convince people she didn’t eat that pie. I think about Yule May setting in jail. Cause Miss Hilly, she in her own jail, but with a lifelong term.

Related Characters: Aibileen Clark (speaker), Hilly Holbrook, Elizabeth Leefolt, Mae Mobley Leefolt, Yule May
Related Symbols: Minny’s “Special Ingredient” Pie
Page Number: 521
Explanation and Analysis:

After Hilly accuses Aibileen of stealing silver and makes Elizabeth fire her, Aibileen leaves the Leefolt's home for the last time. Like Minny, who recently decided to leave her abusive husband, Aibileen now feels free to decide her future. She is no longer stuck caring for others' children; instead of providing Mae Mobley with daily love, she will only hope that Mae Mobley will experience such love in the future. Aibileen's storytelling has cost her a former way of life, but it provides her with the internal power to determine a more fulfilling future. 

Aibileen recognizes how her storytelling simultaneously removed some of Hilly's freedom; Hilly will forever try to convince others that she did not "eat that pie." The truth of Aibileen's stories set her free, but Hilly's willingness to engage in lies makes her lack freedom, "in her own jail ... with a lifelong term." As The Help closes, we see Hilly as a kind of chained figure, no longer the character with the most authority and control.

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Mae Mobley Leefolt Character Timeline in The Help

The timeline below shows where the character Mae Mobley Leefolt appears in The Help. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...seventeen white children in her life and now she helps raise one more: the 2-year-old Mae Mobley Leefolt . Miss Elizabeth Leefolt, the 23-year-old mother, feels little love for her child, even avoiding... (full context)
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
...bed. When the money started to run out, she took a job raising the newborn Mae Mobley . The death of her son makes Aibileen feel as if a “bitter seed” is... (full context)
Chapter 2
Racism Theme Icon
Social Class  Theme Icon
...wanting to a build a separate bathroom that they can’t afford. Awoken by the shouting, Mae Mobley comes out from her room. Before leaving, Mister Leefolt yells that Miss Leefolt is squandering... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
Social Class  Theme Icon
...outdoor shelter for cars consisting of a roof held up by poles). Inside the house, Mae Mobley tries to get Miss Leefolt’s attention while she’s on the phone. Mae Mobley pulls the... (full context)
Chapter 6
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
...move away. Aibileen gets tense and says that she didn’t quit – she was fired. Mae Mobley starts to cry and Aibileen rushes out to avoid having to answer any more questions... (full context)
Chapter 7
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
...her daughter for not eating in her high chair, Aibileen decides that she will tell Mae Mobley “something good” about herself everyday. Mae Mobley is old enough to begin toilet training but... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
When Miss Leefolt comes home, Mae Mobley runs to Aibileen’s bathroom to show her mother her new skill. Horrified, Leefolt slaps Mae... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
While shopping at the white supermarket with Mae Mobley , Aibileen runs into another maid and friend who tells her that two white men... (full context)
Chapter 14
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
...wouldn’t want to go to a school full of white people, would you?” Not wanting Mae Mobley to grow up hearing her agree with Miss Hilly, Aibileen says she wouldn’t mind if... (full context)
Chapter 15
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
One afternoon, Mae Mobley asks Aibileen to tell her a story before her nap. Tired of reading her the... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Social Class  Theme Icon
...child to the fancy country club. Miss Leefolt brings Aibileen so that Aibileen can watch Mae Mobley . Miss Leefolt doesn’t belong to the club because she can’t afford membership. Aibileen thinks... (full context)
Chapter 22
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
On Mae Mobley ’s third birthday, Aibileen prepares her a special breakfast while Miss Leefolt is off getting... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
Social Class  Theme Icon
The day after Mae Mobley ’s birthday party, which Aibileen wasn’t invited to, Miss Leefolt receives an irate phone call... (full context)
Chapter 23
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Aibileen tells Mae Mobley a “secret story” about a wise alien named Martian Luther King who looked like a... (full context)
Chapter 29
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
From the kitchen of Miss Leefolt’s, Aibileen watches Mae Mobley plays with her newborn brother, Ross, who is only a few months old. Mae Mobley,... (full context)
Chapter 31
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...differently, Aibileen realizes that Leefolt must not know that the chapter is about her. When Mae Mobley comes home crying a few days later, she tells Aibileen that her teacher yelled at... (full context)
Chapter 34
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
At Miss Leefolt’s, Mae Mobley is playing with her little brother Ross, still only a few months old, in her... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...write a lot of letters in jail that could do Hilly a lot of harm. Mae Mobley , who is sick with a high fever, runs out and tells Aibileen not to... (full context)