The Help

The Help Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On Monday morning, Minny drives to Celia’s with the plan to apologize. But Celia, who seems ill, lets her in and goes upstairs before Minny can say anything. When Minny goes to clean the upstairs bedroom, the bathroom door is closed. Minny tells Celia through the door that she’s going to clean the bedroom now, but Celia doesn’t respond. Thinking she might be unconsciousness from drinking too much, Minny opens the door to find Celia covered in blood. There is a dead fetus in the toilet bowl. Minny realizes that Celia had a miscarriage. At Celia’s request, Minny calls her doctor, Dr. Tate, to come.
Minny and Celia symbolically bridge the racial divide here. Stockett has emphasized the bathroom as a symbol of segregation and inequality in daily life. Thus, by occupying the bathroom at the same time, Celia and Minny symbolically cross the color line, which anticipates how, in the following passages, the women will repair their deteriorating relationship through mutual understanding and honest communication.
Themes
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Celia reveals that she was five months pregnant. Minny says that drinking hurts the baby, but Celia responds that she’s doesn’t drink alcohol, only a special Indian tonic that’s supposed to help women who have trouble with their pregnancies. Celia hoped that by hiring a maid and lying down all the time, she could carry the baby to term. She’s desperate to try anything that might help because this is her fourth miscarriage.
In the bathroom, the most private space in the home, Celia confesses her most private, secret information. With nothing left to hide, Celia can now rebuild her relationship with Minny on the basis of honesty rather than of lies and deceit. This crisis might allow them to form a real friendship.
Themes
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Celia says Johnny only knows about her first miscarriage, the one she had soon after getting married. She asks Minny not to tell him about the miscarriages because he wants a baby and she doesn’t want him to think that she can’t give him one. Minny confesses that she met Mister Johnny months ago and that he’s a kind man who loves Celia and will understand what she’s going through. Celia is losing a lot of blood and she passes out. Minny heaves her to the bed as the doorbell rings.
An intimacy grows between the women as they divulge the secrets they’ve kept from each other, making way for their relationship to start anew on a more honest foundation. We also see why Celia hates the mimosa tree and its “baby hairs”: it reminds her of her inability to conform to the societal expectation that women give their husbands children.
Themes
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Dr. Tate is a pale, cruel-looking older man. While Minny anxiously waits to hear about Celia’s condition, a nurse comes out of the room with a tin box that Minny thinks must contain the baby. Dr. Tate takes care of Celia and gives her a sedative. He says he’s not coming to the house again since she’s just too lazy to come to his office. It’s 5 p.m. and Minny has thirty minutes to clean the bathroom before Mister Johnny arrives home so that he doesn’t find out about the miscarriage.
Dr. Tate’s accusation that Celia is lazy recalls how, in earlier chapters, Minny also thought Celia was lazy. Now, both Minny and the reader know that Celia is not lazy, but instead struggling with the physical and emotional toll of trying to carry a baby to term in order to please her husband and society.
Themes
Racism Theme Icon
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