The Help

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Miss Hilly’s college-educated maid who steals a ring to pay for her twins’ college education. Yule May asked Miss Hilly for a loan, but when she refused, she resorted to theft in order to give her boys the opportunity to get an education. In revenge, Miss Hilly has her thrown in jail. Miss Hilly’s heartless dealings with Yule May, a beloved member of the black community, motivates the other maids to tell Skeeter their stories in order to try to fight against the racism that black domestic workers face.

Yule May Quotes in The Help

The The Help quotes below are all either spoken by Yule May or refer to Yule May . 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 14 Quotes

But this bag is different. Even what would fit me in that paper sack, I can’t wear. Can’t give to my friends either. Ever piece in that bag—the culotte pants, the shirt with the Peter Pan collar, the pink jacket with the gravy stain on it, even the socks—they all got the letters H.W.H. sewn in. Red thread, pretty little cursive letters. I reckon Yule May had to sew them letters. Wearing those, I’d feel like I’s personal-owned property a Hilly W. Holbrook.

Related Characters: Aibileen Clark (speaker), Hilly Holbrook, Yule May
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:

While Aibileen sits at her kitchen table, a cockroach scuttles under the unopened bag of clothes which Miss Hilly gave her a few months ago. Although Aibileen often uses clothes which other white women similarly give to her, she knows she could never bring herself to wear a piece of Hilly's donated clothing. The clothes—with their "red thread, pretty little cursive letters"—represent Hilly herself, and indeed have all been marked with her initials, so that Aibileen would feels as if she was almost branded with Hilly's "ownership" if she wore the clothes (a poignant echo of how slavery has ended in the South, but institutionalized oppression has not). With her put-together, elegant appearance, beautiful looking children, and veneer of politeness, Hilly seems to embody the pretense of well-meaning Southern society.  

Yet, Aibileen knows what lies under Hilly's appearances. She sees how Hilly's greed for control extends into the way she treats black people as individuals who must obey her demands (as"personal-owned property"). Hilly represents the South that Aibileen attempts to stand up against, through her writing. "Miss Hilly" was Aibileen's reason for helping Skeeter with this project, and when Aibileen refuses to use or even unpack the clothes which Miss Hilly gave her, we see that Aibileen is rising against Hilly in whatever ways she can.


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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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Yule May Character Timeline in The Help

The timeline below shows where the character Yule May appears in The Help. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16
Racism Theme Icon
At Aibileen’s all-black church, the community meets to pray for Medgar Evers. Aibileen sits behind Yule May , a college-educated maid who works for Miss Hilly. Aibileen hasn’t asked Yule May to... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
...shot like dogs in the street. When the preacher says pray, the man stomps off. Yule May just shakes her head. (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
After the prayer meeting, Aibileen asks Yule May about her college days and tells her that she’s been doing some writing herself. Yule... (full context)
Chapter 19
Racism Theme Icon
...time. When Skeeter’s mother is out of earshot, Pascagoula whispers to Skeeter that Hilly’s maid, Yule May , has agreed to be interviewed for the book. (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
A few days later, Skeeter gets a letter from Yule May . She writes that she didn’t have enough money to send both her twins to... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home  Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
That night, Skeeter goes to Aibileen’s where her church has gathered to pray for Yule May . They have started a fund to put both of her boys through college. Aibileen... (full context)