The Help

Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan 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 Charlotte often pressures her to be more ladylike and to find a man to marry. Skeeter wants to be a famous writer, not a housewife, though she does feel compelled to take the more conventional path when the handsome Stuart Whitworth Jr. shows a romantic interest in her. Though best friends with Hilly and Elizabeth Leefolt, she pulls away from them when she starts writing her book, Help, with Aibileen and Minny. Writing the book leads her to realize what injustices white housewives like her friends have committed against the black women of Jackson.

Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan Quotes in The Help

The The Help quotes below are all either spoken by Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan or refer to Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Berkley Books edition of The Help published in 2009.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Got to be the worst place in the world, inside a oven. You in here, you either cleaning or you getting cooked. Tonight I just know I’m on have that dream I’m stuck inside and the gas gets turned on. But I keep my head in that awful place cause I’d rather be anywhere sides answering Miss Leefolt’s questions about what Miss Skeeter was trying to say to me. Asking do I want to change things.

Related Characters: Aibileen Clark (speaker), Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, Elizabeth Leefolt
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

“Now you look a here, Eugenia”—because Constantine was the only one who’d occasionally follow Mama’s rule. “Ugly live up on the inside. Ugly be a hurtful, mean person.”

Related Characters: Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (speaker), Constantine Bates (speaker), Charlotte Phelan
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

I wonder if I’ll ever write anything worth anything at all. I turn when I hear Pascagoula’s knock on my door. That’s when the idea comes to me.
No. I couldn’t. That would be... crossing the line.
But the idea won’t go away.

Related Characters: Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (speaker), Pascagoula
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 8 Quotes

Aibileen just stood there and I wished I wasn’t in the room. Please, I thought, please don’t say thank you.
“Yes ma’am.” Aibileen opened a drawer and reached inside, but Hilly kept looking at her. It was so obvious what she wanted.
Another second passed with no one moving. Hilly cleared her throat and finally Aibileen lowered her head. “Thank you, ma’am,” she whispered. She walked back into the kitchen. It’s no wonder she doesn’t want to talk to me.

Related Characters: Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (speaker), Aibileen Clark, Hilly Holbrook
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes

It’s something about that word truth. I’ve been trying to tell white women the truth about working for them since I was fourteen years old…Truth. It feels cool, like water washing over my sticky-hot body. Cooling a heat that’s been burning me up all my life.
Truth, I say inside my head again, just for that feeling.

Related Characters: Minny Jackson (speaker), Aibileen Clark, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan
Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes

On my drive home, I want to kick myself. For thinking I could just waltz in and demand answers. For thinking she’d stop feeling like the maid just because we were at her house, because she wasn’t wearing a uniform.

Related Characters: Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (speaker), Aibileen Clark
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes

I realize, like a shell cracking open in my head, there’s no difference between these government laws and Hilly building Aibileen a bathroom in the garage, except ten minutes’ worth of signatures in the state capital.

Related Characters: Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (speaker), Aibileen Clark, Hilly Holbrook
Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 17 Quotes

Here’s the thing: I like telling my stories. It feels like I’m doing something about it. When I leave, the concrete in my chest has loosened, melted down so I can breathe for a few days. And I know there are plenty of other “colored” things I could do besides telling my stories or going to....the mass meetings in town, the marches in Birmingham, the voting rallies upstate. But truth is, I don’t care that much about voting. I don’t care about eating at a counter with white people. What I care about is, if in ten years, a white lady will call my girls dirty and accuse them of stealing the silver.

Related Characters: Minny Jackson (speaker), Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan
Page Number: 256
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 21 Quotes

“It is my job, Skeeter! You know well as I do, people won’t buy so much as a slice of pound cake from an organization that harbors racial integrationists!”
“Hilly.” I just need to hear her say it. “Just who is all that pound cake money being raised for, anyway?”
She rolls her eyes. “The Poor Starving Children of Africa?”
I wait for her to catch the irony of this, that she’ll send money to colored people overseas, but not across town.

Related Characters: Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (speaker), Hilly Holbrook (speaker)
Page Number: 331
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 22 Quotes

“She needs to learn that she can’t carry on this way. I mean, around us it’s one thing, but around some other people, she’s going to get in big trouble.”
“It’s true. There are some racists in this town,” Miss Leefolt say. Miss Hilly nod her head, “Oh, they’re out there.”

Related Characters: Hilly Holbrook (speaker), Elizabeth Leefolt (speaker), Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan
Related Symbols: Bathrooms
Page Number: 343
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 28 Quotes

“Why would you want to go stirring up trouble?”
I can tell, in his voice, he sincerely wants an answer from me. But how to explain it? He is a good man, Stuart. As much as I know that what I’ve done is right, I can still understand his confusion and doubt.
“I’m not making trouble, Stuart. The trouble is already here.”

Related Characters: Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (speaker), Stuart Whitworth, Jr. (speaker)
Page Number: 449
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 33 Quotes

Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.

Related Characters: Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (speaker), Lou Anne
Page Number: 492
Explanation and Analysis:

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Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan Character Timeline in The Help

The timeline below shows where the character Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan 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
...an hour. On this day, Miss Leefolt holds a luncheon for her friends Miss Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan and Miss Hilly Holbrook. Both women are also twenty-three. Miss Hilly’s elderly mother, Miss... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
...than we do.” Shocked by her ignorance and lack of compassion for the maids, Miss Skeeter quips that maybe she should have a separate bathroom outside. Insulted, Miss Hilly threatens to... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
After Miss Hilly and Miss Walters leave, Aibileen finds Miss Skeeter waiting for her in the kitchen. She asks Aibileen if she ever wished she could... (full context)
Chapter 5
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
The novel jumps back in time to Skeeter’s perspective on the day of the bridge game when Hilly brought up the bathroom bill.... (full context)
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
...in the field waiting for the cotton to bloom so they can begin the harvest. Skeeter’s mother, Charlotte Phelan, tells her to use her college education to get a job in... (full context)
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Skeeter remembers her brother, Carleton Jr., giving her the nickname “Skeeter” because she looked like a... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Hilly calls and says she’s set Skeeter up on a date with her husband’s cousin, Stuart Whitworth – the handsome son of... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Skeeter remembers growing up under Constantine’s care. One time, Skeeter came home crying after being called... (full context)
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Skeeter and Constantine sent each other letters when Skeeter went to college. Weeks before her graduation,... (full context)
Chapter 6
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Skeeter had previously applied to a few editorial jobs in NYC and today she receives a... (full context)
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
The next day, Skeeter goes to Jackson Journal, a local paper, and gets an entry-level job writing the weekly... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
The next morning, Skeeter reads Aibileen a few of the housekeeping questions that people have sent to the newspaper... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Upset about the news that Constantine was fired, Skeeter returns home and asks Charlotte if she fired Constantine. At first, her mother denies it,... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
On a day when Elizabeth is out of the house, Skeeter returns to Aibileen for more advice. With Elizabeth out, Aibileen feels more comfortable speaking openly... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Feeling a small connection develop between them, Aibileen tells Skeeter that it’s wrong that she doesn’t know the truth about why Constantine left. Aibileen says... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
A few days later, Skeeter receives another letter from Elaine Stein. Elaine writes that her ideas were dry and boring... (full context)
Chapter 7
Racism Theme Icon
Returning home from work, Aibileen sees Miss Skeeter waiting for her on her porch. Tired and distraught from the day’s news, Aibileen is... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Aibileen tells Skeeter it’s too dangerous – black people in Jackson get killed for just going down to... (full context)
Chapter 8
Racism Theme Icon
Driving back from Aibileen’s, Skeeter feels the “narrow eyes” of Aibileen’s black neighbors watch her fancy Cadillac car as it... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
A few days later, Skeeter arrives at Elizabeth’s to ask Aibileen more questions about housekeeping. After a few questions, Skeeter... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
At home, Charlotte helps Skeeter apply a hair care product that she bought to straighten her hair. While Skeeter waits... (full context)
Chapter 9
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
...the day of the double date with Stuart Whitworth and Hilly and her husband William, Skeeter straightens her hair and buys a nice black dress. She hopes that with the new... (full context)
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Skeeter meets up with Hilly and her husband at their home. Stuart is already there, two... (full context)
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
After dinner, the four of them drive back to Hilly’s where William asks Skeeter to drive the drunk Stuart home. Before they get into the car, she breaks into... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Two days after the date, Aibileen calls Skeeter’s home and asks what guarantee she has that Skeeter won’t turn on her once she... (full context)
Chapter 10
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...church one evening, Minny sits besides Aibileen. Aibileen says that she’s thinking about telling Miss Skeeter the truth about what’s it like working for white people. Minny is scared for Aibileen’s... (full context)
Chapter 11
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
At Aibileen’s home, Skeeter interviews her in a small parlor room while Aibileen serves tea. Skeeter has never sat... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
During the interview, Skeeter asks Aibileen what she doesn’t like about her job. Beginning to sweat heavily, Aibileen is... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
A few days later, Skeeter gets a call from Aibileen. Aibileen says that she wants to write down her experiences... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Skeeter returns to Aibileen’s for the second interview. To make Aibileen more comfortable, Skeeter asks to... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...where a white policeman stopped her before she could get in. Enthralled by the story, Skeeter is eager to know what happens next but Aibileen says that’s all she had time... (full context)
Chapter 12
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Every other night for two weeks, Skeeter goes to Aibileen’s to hear Aibileen read her stories. Skeeter realizes that Aibileen’s clear, honest... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
After a few meetings, Aibileen asks Skeeter to check out some classic works of literature from the white library so that she... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
After the two weeks of interviews, Skeeter spends four days straight organizing Aibileen’s stories into a twenty-seven page manuscript. Whenever her mother... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Social Class Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
The following day, Skeeter plays bridge with Elizabeth and Hilly at Elizabeth’s. Elizabeth announces that she is pregnant and... (full context)
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Ten days later, Elaine Stein gets back to Skeeter, saying she likes the material and that she wants Skeeter to get interviews from twelve... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
That evening, Skeeter informs Aibileen that Elaine said that they need twelve more maids if they want the... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...Aibileen’s house. Aibileen is there to support and encourage Minny who is visibly distrustful of Skeeter. Minny asks why a white woman would want to help black people and if Skeeter... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Aibileen nods at Skeeter, giving her the okay to begin the interview. Skeeter asks Minny to talk about her... (full context)
Chapter 13
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Skeeter is in her room typing up some of Minny’s day-to-day experiences when Charlotte knocks on... (full context)
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
At the restaurant, Stuart is quiet at first and Skeeter fears he’s going to start drinking again. But he soon asks what she wants from... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
A few weeks later, Skeeter goes to the library to look for books on race relations in the South. She... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
At the library, Skeeter finds a book on Jim Crow laws and is shocked by all the laws that... (full context)
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Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
At a League meeting, Skeeter brings a satchel that contains the stolen book and her notes from the interviews. Hilly... (full context)
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
When Skeeter joins the group of women surrounding Hilly, the women suddenly bombard Skeeter with questions about... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
That day when Skeeter arrives home, Hilly calls to tell her that she left her satchel at the meeting... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
When Hilly opens the door Skeeter can tell by her friend’s expression that she’s already peeked through the documents. Hilly gives... (full context)
Chapter 14
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...in her friend group. Hearing this, Aibileen thinks that Hilly must have found out about Skeeter’s book. At that moment, thunder booms and Aibileen swaddles the children and takes them inside. (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Skeeter calls Aibileen and tells her about Hilly going through her satchel. Aibileen responds that she... (full context)
Chapter 15
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
At the club, Miss Skeeter is playing tennis and comes over to Miss Leefolt and Miss Hilly. Skeeter tries to... (full context)
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Trying to mend things with Hilly, Skeeter flatters her intelligence, saying that if she were up to anything sinister, Hilly would have... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...day on a walk with Aibileen, Minny thinks about how the stories she tells Miss Skeeter have become a great relief to her. She doesn’t care about the rallies and sit-ins... (full context)
Chapter 19
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At her home, Skeeter reads a magazine article about a black man near Jackson who criticized the Mississippi governor.... (full context)
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Stuart arrives at Skeeter’s home and asks her to join him on a three-day business trip where they’d share... (full context)
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At breakfast a few days later, Skeeter thanks her maid Pascagoula sincerely for the first time. When Skeeter’s mother is out of... (full context)
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A few days later, Skeeter gets a letter from Yule May. She writes that she didn’t have enough money to... (full context)
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That night, Skeeter goes to Aibileen’s where her church has gathered to pray for Yule May. They have... (full context)
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Over the next few days, Skeeter interviews the women at Aibileen’s. Aibileen sits beside the women while they talk, giving them... (full context)
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One woman named Gretchen comes but refuses to contribute her stories. She accuses Skeeter of profiting from the black women’s stories even though Skeeter has already agreed to split... (full context)
Chapter 20
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In mid-July, Skeeter, Charlotte, and her father Carleton arrive at Stuart’s house for dinner with his parents, Francine... (full context)
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After the tour, the families sit down for dinner. Skeeter is disgusted by the dining room wallpaper that shows slaves happily picking cotton as if... (full context)
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After dinner, the parents retire to the porch for drinks while Stuart and Skeeter stand in the hallway. Stuart is sweating and feverish-looking and complains about his father bringing... (full context)
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When Skeeter leaves the bathroom, she runs into Senator Whitworth. Drunk, the Senator takes Skeeter aside and... (full context)
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On the back porch, Skeeter takes Stuart asides and confronts him about what happened with the break-up. With anger still... (full context)
Chapter 21
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For the next two weeks, Skeeter feels so “singed and hurt” from what happened with Stuart that she thinks she might... (full context)
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As she works on turning the last five interviews into stories, Skeeter thinks about the need to protect the maids’ identities. She has given all the maids’... (full context)
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At a League meeting, Hilly tells Skeeter she wants the ad about her bathroom initiative in this week’s journal or else she’ll... (full context)
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Sitting at her desk at home, Skeeter feels ashamed while she types up Hilly’s ad. She worries what Constantine would think of... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Later at Miss Leefolt’s, Miss Hilly shows her Skeeter’s Jim Crow book and says they have to stop whatever integrationist plans Skeeter’s cooking up.... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...her into the friend group. Minny suggests she forget about those women and give Miss Skeeter a call because she’s a good lady who’ll respect her. Celia says that the League... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...person, the narration describes the event. Aibileen and Minny are in the kitchen working and Skeeter is standing silently against a wall. Hilly has made sure that everyone will shun Skeeter... (full context)
Chapter 27
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In early December, Skeeter looks at the phone, finding herself wishing that Stuart would call. Skeeter hasn’t heard from... (full context)
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At Aibileen’s, Skeeter tells her what Stein said about adding a more personal story. Aibileen agrees to tell... (full context)
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On her way back home from the meeting, Skeeter wishes she could leave Jackson. When she arrives home, she sees Stuart waiting for her... (full context)
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That night, Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter meet at Aibileen’s to pick a title for the book. Skeeter suggests a long, academic... (full context)
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Aibileen takes a day off of work to meet with Skeeter and tell her Constantine’s story. Twenty years ago, Constantine’s daughter, Lulabelle, was born with very... (full context)
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At home Skeeter reads the story. Right away, she starts writing about Constantine for the book, but she... (full context)
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The next day Skeeter tells Charlotte she knows about everything that happened with Constantine, but that she wants to... (full context)
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Back at Aibileen’s, Skeeter brings over the whole manuscript to show Minny and Aibileen. As they look over the... (full context)
Chapter 28
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At the home that Skeeter shares with her parents, the family doctor informs her that Charlotte has cancer in her... (full context)
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Over the next few weeks, Stuart and Skeeter start seeing each again. Sometimes they go out to dinner, but they usually just talk... (full context)
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One day, in preparation for a date with Stuart, Skeeter buys some modern woman’s clothing with short hemlines. Stuart takes her to the fanciest restaurant... (full context)
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After they finish eating, Skeeter notices that Stuart’s parents are at the restaurant bar having drinks. She asks if they... (full context)
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It’s past eleven when they arrive back at Skeeter’s home. Stuart walks her to the door and then holds out a ring and asks... (full context)
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Stuart says that everything is fine in Mississippi and that Skeeter shouldn’t “go stirring up trouble.” Skeeter sympathizes with Stuart’s inability to see the grim truth... (full context)
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In mid-January, 1964, Skeeter meets with Minny and Aibileen at Aibileen’s house and tells them that Elaine Stein just... (full context)
Chapter 29
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From inside the black church, Aibileen watches Skeeter drop a brown package at the steps of the church and walk away. Aibileen and... (full context)
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...up inside her. The reverend then gives her another signed copy of the book for Skeeter. He says their community will love Skeeter like family. (full context)
Chapter 33
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Skeeter also wakes up in the middle of the night from a scream. Skeeter wants to... (full context)
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At a drugstore, Skeeter picks up medicine for Charlotte, who is still alive and battling cancer. There, she runs... (full context)
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...she recognized that Louvenia’s chapter was about her. Instead of getting mad, Lou Anne thanks Skeeter for writing the book. Lou Anne reveals that she has depression and that Louvenia is... (full context)
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...Hilly ever tells her to fire Louvenia again, she’ll respond that Hilly deserved that pie. Skeeter thinks to herself that the pie secret is out and that the maids will have... (full context)
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Back at home that evening, Skeeter wonders what life would have been like if she had never wrote the book. Skeeter... (full context)
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...a cold sore on her lip, marches up to the porch with a letter accusing Skeeter of writing the book. She plans to give the letter to Charlotte, which worries Skeeter... (full context)
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Skeeter calls Aibileen at her house. Minny is also at Aibileen’s. She tells them about Hilly’s... (full context)
Chapter 34
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One night a few days later, Skeeter arrives at Aibileen’s to say goodbye before she flies out to New York tomorrow. It’s... (full context)