One of the novel’s three narrators, Aibileen is a wise but reserved middle-aged black maid who takes pride in knowing that she has helped raise seventeen white children in her lifetime. Aibileen cares the most… (read full character analysis)
Another narrator and protagonist, Minny Jackson is a wise-cracking mother of five who refuses to curb her outspoken personality even though it gets her into trouble with her white employers. Quick-tempered and fiery, Minny always… (read full character analysis)
The third narrator and protagonist, Skeeter is a young white college graduate who comes from a wealthy Southern family. Strong-willed and individualistic, Skeeter is frustrated by the sexist expectations society has of her. Her mother… (read full character analysis)
The novel’s antagonist, Hilly is on the surface the ideal of the Southern housewife: loyal to her husband, adored by her friends and neighbors, and loving to her two children. But underneath the surface, Hilly… (read full character analysis)
Aibileen’s employer, Elizabeth is a neglectful and verbally abusive mother to Mae Mobley. She, Hilly, and Skeeter have been best friends since elementary school. Elizabeth tries to hide her family’s low income so… (read full character analysis)
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… (read full character analysis)
The son of a prominent segregationist senator, Stuart courts Skeeter throughout the novel. Stuart’s recent break-up with his fiancé Patricia shakes him to the core, making him drink heavily and insult those around him. What… (read full character analysis)
Skeeter’s childhood maid, Constantine is like a second mother to her, providing love and compassion. The novel begins in the months after Constantine has left Jackson for Chicago without telling Skeeter. Throughout the novel, Skeeter… (read full character analysis)
Skeeter’s mother, Charlotte is an old-fashioned Southern woman who tries to persuade her daughter to conform to gender norms. Though dying of cancer, Charlotte is a fighter and is still alive at the end of… (read full character analysis)
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… (read full character analysis)
Hilly’s aging mother and Minny’s employer at the beginning of the novel, Miss Walters is a kind but senile woman who appreciates Minny’s outspoken personality. She shows that she is a good-humored woman with a… (read full character analysis)
Elaine Stein is the confident New York City book agent who inspires Skeeter to write her book about the maids. Elaine’s high-power career in New York lets Skeeter see that there are opportunities open to women other than becoming a wife, mother, and homemaker.
Celia’s kindhearted husband who deeply loves his wife, Johnny grew up in a wealthy Southern family. Johnny is the former boyfriend of Miss Hilly, but broke up with her so that he could start dating Celia. Because of his love for his childhood maid, he treats Minny with respect.
Aibileen’s son whose death causes the “bitter seed” to develop inside of her. Before his accidental death, Treelore was writing a book about working for white bosses in Mississippi, a project that motivates Aibileen to tell her own stories to Skeeter.
A real historical figure, the NAACP civil rights activist who was shot and killed by a white pro-segregationist outside his home in Jackson.
Martian Luther King
– To teach Mae Mobley about civil rights and Martin Luther King, Jr., Aibileen tells her a story about the alien “Martian” Luther King who was discriminated against because he had green skin.
Treelore’s childhood friend who loses his eyesight after a group of white men beat him for using the white’s only bathroom.
Robert Brown’s kind grandmother.
– A quiet woman, Pascagoula is the current maid at Skeeter’s home.
The maid who accuses Skeeter of profiting from the other maids’ stories.
A white women who treats her maid with kindness. Lou Anne tells Skeeter that it was a good thing that she wrote the book.
A segregationist senator, an alcoholic, and father to Stuart Whitworth Jr.
Stuart Jr.’s mother and lover of all things related to the Civil War and the Confederate States of America.
Minny’s abusive husband who beats her just for the pleasure of it. Minny leaves him at the end of the novel.
Elizabeth Leefolt’s second child, whom Mae Mobley tries to teach the fundamentals of tolerance.
The fictional maid from Gone with the Wind. Minny thinks the character is a bad portrayal of a black woman because she is too timid and seems to enjoy slavery.
The main character in Gone with the Wind whose family owns the slave Mammy.
– The original author of the housekeeping column who has a mental breakdown.
Stuart’s former fiancé who sleeps with a civil rights activist and then goes to live in California. She calls Stuart a “whore” for his father and for the state of Mississippi.
Elizabeth Leefolt’s husband who is mostly absent throughout the novel.
– Hilly’s husband who is running for a position in local government.
The stern doctor who helps Celia recover from the miscarriage and tells Minny that Celia is lazy.
Skeeter’s mostly silent father who expresses distain for the violent racism of the South.
Carleton Phelan, Jr.
Skeeter’s brother who gives her the nickname “skeeter” because she looked like a mosquito as a baby.
Robert E. Lee
– The famous Confederate Army general who slept in a bed at Stuart Whitworth’s house during the war.
Hilly’s first child. Aibileen is surprised how Hilly, a normally heartless woman, treats her daughter with attention and care.
William Holbrook, Jr.
Hilly’s second child, whom she also treats with love.