The Help Chapter 5 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- Chapter 5 is narrated by 23-year-old Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan. After the bridge game, she drives home in her mother's Cadillac to Longleaf, her family's cotton plantation.
- She's been best friends with Hilly and Elizabeth since elementary school. Hilly and Skeeter were even roommates at Ole Miss (a.k.a. the University of Mississippi). Hilly stopped going to college to get married, though, like most of Skeeter's friends, while Skeeter stayed on to get her degree.
- When Skeeter gets home, her mother Mrs. Charlotte Boudreaux Cantrelle Phelan (say that five times fast), bugs her about getting a job where she'll be "in a man-meeting situation" (5.29) and find a husband.
- Skeeter is really tall and has "kinky" blond hair (5.26). Charlotte thinks Skeeter's trust fund makes up for her lack of looks. She won't let her daughter touch the fund to rent an apartment in town.
- Before she left school, Skeeter, who wants to be a writer, applied for an editor's job at a publishing company in New York, City. She still hasn't heard back.
- Thinking about Hilly's outside-bathroom project makes her think of Constantine, who used to be the Phelans' maid. Constantine raised Skeeter, and Skeeter misses her intensely.
- She remembers visiting Constantine's house. Flashback time!
- Constantine has only one picture in her house, of a little white girl. Skeeter remembers feeling jealous that Constantine doesn't have a picture of her.
- Around the time Skeeter's older brother Carlton goes to college, Constantine tells Skeeter that her father was white. Skeeter is surprised and very curious.
- When Skeeter then goes away to school, she and Constantine exchange letters several times a month.
- In April of Skeeter's last year of college, she gets a letter from Constantine saying, "I have a surprise for you, Skeeter. […] You will see for yourself when you get home." (5.135)
- And then the letters stop. When Skeeter arrives home, her mother tells her that Constantine left to go live with family in Chicago. Skeeter can't get anybody to tell her any details or give her Constantine's new address.