The Help

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 harbors viciously racist beliefs that spur her to treat the black women in the novel as if they were subhuman. Hilly jeopardizes Minny’s financial security by spreading vindictive rumors about her, also uses her influence in the white community to have her own maid, Yule May, sentenced to four years in prison just for stealing one of her rings. As conniving as she is heartless, Hilly influences the other white women to accept her beliefs, spearheading a campaign to pass a bill that would require every Mississippi household to have a separate bathroom for black domestic workers. In the end, Minny takes revenge on Hilly by including in Skeeter’s book the story about feeding her the “special ingredient” pie.

Hilly Holbrook Quotes in The Help

The The Help quotes below are all either spoken by Hilly Holbrook or refer to Hilly Holbrook. 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 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 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 14 Quotes

I feel my lip curling. A course we different! Everbody know colored people and white people ain’t the same. But we still just people! Shoot, I even been hearing Jesus had colored skin living out there in the desert. I press my lips together.

Related Characters: Aibileen Clark (speaker), Hilly Holbrook, Elizabeth Leefolt
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

After while, my mind done drifted to where I wish it wouldn’t. I reckon I know pretty well what would happen if the white ladies found out we was writing about them, telling the truth a what they really like. Womens, they ain’t like men. A woman ain’t gone beat you with a stick. Miss Hilly wouldn’t pull no pistol on me. Miss Leefolt wouldn’t come burn my house down.
No, white womens like to keep they hands clean. They got a shiny little set a tools they use, sharp as witches’ fingernails, tidy and laid out neat, like the picks on a dentist tray. They gone take they time with em.

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

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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 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:

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Hilly Holbrook Character Timeline in The Help

The timeline below shows where the character Hilly Holbrook 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
...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 Walters, also arrives. Miss... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Aibileen serves the women food and overhears Miss Hilly accuse her mother’s maid Minny Jackson, Aibileen’s best friend, of stealing family heirlooms. Miss Hilly... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
After Miss Hilly and Miss Walters leave, Aibileen finds Miss Skeeter waiting for her in the kitchen. She... (full context)
Chapter 2
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...deaf and crazy employer, Miss Walters. Aibileen sits beside Minny and warns her that Miss Hilly complained about her. Offended by Hilly’s accusation, Minny threatens to give Hilly “a piece a... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
...spend on food and other expenses every week. Minny calls and tells her that Miss Hilly is putting her mother into a nursing home so she has to find a new... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Minny calls Aibileen at work and tells her that Miss Hilly is telling the other white women that she’s a thief. Minny says she’s never going... (full context)
Chapter 5
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
...jumps back in time to Skeeter’s perspective on the day of the bridge game when Hilly brought up the bathroom bill. After the game, Skeeter drives home to her family’s cotton... (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... (full context)
Chapter 8
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...two hours for the product to take effect, she remembers going to Elizabeth’s house with Hilly. When Aibileen had brought them coffee, Hilly asked Aibileen demeaning, rhetorical questions about the bathroom... (full context)
Chapter 9
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
On 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... (full context)
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Skeeter meets up with Hilly and her husband at their home. Stuart is already there, two drinks in. He’s handsome... (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... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...the interview and explains that she changed her mind by saying only two words: Miss Hilly. Hearing the bitterness in Aibileen’s voice, Skeeter thinks of Hilly’s bathroom bill and all the... (full context)
Chapter 10
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
...saw a picture of Johnny and realized that he was the man who dumped Miss Hilly in college. Minny realizes Miss Hilly must still be jealous and must have told the... (full context)
Chapter 12
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 that the baby is due in... (full context)
Chapter 13
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...whites from blacks. Skeeter realizes that there is no real difference between official laws and Hilly’s racist attitude about separate bathrooms. She steals the book because she can’t check it out... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...Skeeter brings a satchel that contains the stolen book and her notes from the interviews. Hilly is telling the other women to donate canned goods for the “Poor Starving Children of... (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 if the rumors are true that she’s... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
That day when Skeeter arrives home, Hilly calls to tell her that she left her satchel at the meeting but that it’s... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
When Hilly opens the door Skeeter can tell by her friend’s expression that she’s already peeked through... (full context)
Chapter 14
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
On a hot March 1963 day, Miss Leefolt and Miss Hilly watch their children play in a plastic kid’s pool at the Leefolt’s. Miss Leefolt is... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Miss Hilly turns away from Aibileen and starts telling Miss Leefolt that her husband is running for... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
At her home, Aibileen sees a bag of old clothing Miss Hilly gave her, ones she’ll never wear because Hilly’s initials are stitched into the lining. Wearing... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Aibileen tries to write down her prayers, but she cannot stop thinking about what Hilly would do if she found out about the book. Aibileen thinks about how women take... (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 already knew that something was up. Skeeter... (full context)
Chapter 15
Racism Theme Icon
Social Class Theme Icon
A few days later, Miss Hilly invites Miss Leefolt and her child to the fancy country club. Miss Leefolt brings Aibileen... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...the club, Miss Skeeter is playing tennis and comes over to Miss Leefolt and Miss Hilly. Skeeter tries to start a conversation, but Hilly is cold towards her, eventually blurting out... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Trying to mend things with Hilly, Skeeter flatters her intelligence, saying that if she were up to anything sinister, Hilly would... (full context)
Chapter 16
Racism Theme Icon
...for Medgar Evers. Aibileen sits behind Yule May, a college-educated maid who works for Miss Hilly. Aibileen hasn’t asked Yule May to contribute her stories because anyone attached to Miss Hilly... (full context)
Chapter 19
Racism Theme Icon
...the first 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
...face picking one over the other so she decided to steal an ugly ring from Hilly, one she never wore, to pay for the last part of the tuition. When Hilly... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...put both of her boys through college. Aibileen tells Skeeter how Yule May first asked Hilly for a loan but she refused, saying charity shouldn’t go to those “well and able.”... (full context)
Chapter 21
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
At a League meeting, Hilly tells Skeeter she wants the ad about her bathroom initiative in this week’s journal or... (full context)
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Sitting at her desk at home, Skeeter feels ashamed while she types up Hilly’s ad. She worries what Constantine would think of her now. (full context)
Chapter 22
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Social Class Theme Icon
...party, which Aibileen wasn’t invited to, Miss Leefolt receives an irate phone call from Miss Hilly. Miss Leefolt rushes out of the house and Aibileen and Mae Mobley follow. When they... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Later at Miss Leefolt’s, Miss Hilly shows her Skeeter’s Jim Crow book and says they have to stop whatever integrationist plans... (full context)
Chapter 23
Social Class Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...more help. She does say that Celia and her husband should attend the Benefit. Miss Hilly comes over and sells two tickets to Celia, saying she should buy ten for all... (full context)
Chapter 24
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Celia acts normally around Minny, which gives Minny the hope that Hilly hasn’t contacted her yet. In the kitchen, they suddenly see a naked white man in... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Social Class Theme Icon
...– both the ones between whites and blacks and those between Celia and people like Hilly. Aibileen says that the line between black and white people is imaginary and that Minny... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Social Class Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...advice, Minny tells her it’s because they think she’s a white trash hick who stole Hilly’s boyfriend by getting pregnant. Misunderstanding what Minny is saying, Celia mistakenly thinks that if she... (full context)
Chapter 25
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Social Class Theme Icon
...and Minny are in the kitchen working and Skeeter is standing silently against a wall. Hilly has made sure that everyone will shun Skeeter in revenge for putting toilets on her... (full context)
Social Class Theme Icon
During the silent auction for the Poor Starving Children of Africa fund, Hilly wins Minny’s famous chocolate-custard pie. For some reason, Hilly seems distressed that she won the... (full context)
Social Class Theme Icon
The music suddenly cuts when Celia tells Hilly that Johnny never cheated on her, that she and Johnny only slept together after he... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
At the end of the night, Hilly’s mother, Miss Walters, comes over and says she was the one who bid on the... (full context)
Chapter 26
Social Class Theme Icon
...to watch over Celia while he’s away. While cleaning, Minny sees an opened letter from Hilly, stating that Celia can give the two hundred dollars she owes her for the ripped... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Minny decides to tell Celia about what happened with Hilly and the pie, hoping it will make Celia see that Hilly is a cruel person... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
...home, bakes a chocolate pie, and then returns to the house and gives it to Hilly, who thinks it’s a peace offering. Hilly has two big slices. When Miss Walters asks... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Social Class Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...mimosa tree she hates. At the kitchen table, Minny sees a check made out to Hilly for two hundred dollars with a note that says, “For Two-Slice Hilly.” (full context)
Chapter 27
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...the best way of telling her. A couple of days later, at a League meeting, Hilly initiates a vote to elect a new editor for the newsletter. No one votes for... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...the pie so that they can put the story in for “protection.” That would mean Hilly would know the truth about where the events of the book take place, but would... (full context)
Chapter 28
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...close to her ailing mother. One night while they are watching TV, Stuart mentions that Hilly is spreading rumors that Skeeter is “some kind of crazy liberal” who wants integration. Stuart... (full context)
Chapter 30
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Minny watches the same news program and starts worrying what Miss Hilly will think when she gets to the last chapter – the one about her and... (full context)
Chapter 31
Racism Theme Icon
...Leefolt’s bookmark inches closer to the second chapter – the one about her. When Miss Hilly comes over one day, Aibileen overhears her saying that she’s up to chapter seven and... (full context)
Chapter 32
Racism Theme Icon
...in the room. She realizes the feeling that woke her was the knowledge that Miss Hilly has just screamed while reading the last chapter. (full context)
Chapter 33
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...beat him. Lou Anne waited there all night with Louvenia. Lou Anne tells Skeeter that Hilly is spreading rumors that Skeeter was the one who wrote the book. Lou Anne says... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Lou Anne continues, saying that if Hilly ever tells her to fire Louvenia again, she’ll respond that Hilly deserved that pie. Skeeter... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
...goes out to her porch for a breath of fresh air. Right then, she sees Hilly’s car pull up to the house. (full context)
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Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Hilly, who’s gained weight and developed a cold sore on her lip, marches up to the... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Skeeter calls Aibileen at her house. Minny is also at Aibileen’s. She tells them about Hilly’s threats and then says she got a job offer as a copy editor’s assistant in... (full context)
Chapter 34
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Late that night, Aibileen gets a call from Minny. Minny says that Miss Hilly used her connections to get Leroy fired. When Leroy came home, he threatened to kill... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
While Aibileen is at work at the Leefolt’s the next day, Hilly and Miss Leefolt call Aibileen into the parlor. Hilly accuses her of stealing silver and... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Gender and the Home Theme Icon
Help vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Writing, Storytelling, and Freedom Theme Icon
Miss Leefolt fires Aibileen but Hilly says it’s not worth pressing charges. Aibileen leaves the house and feels as if she... (full context)