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The Help

The Help


by Kathryn Stockett

The Help Theme of Love

Deep love and bitter hate are ever-present in The Help, and the lines between the two emotions are often blurry. This is what we might expect from a society that teaches black people and white people to hate each other, but where they also live side by side. The novel is about trying to counteract the hate and irrationality through acts of love and courage. Many of these acts involve storytelling, conversations, interviews, reading, and writing. Through the relationships between Aibileen and Mae Mobley, and between Constantine and Skeeter, we see that lessons of love learned young can counteract lessons of hate. This isn't a highly romantic novel, but Skeeter and Stuart's relationship offers some romantic intrigue, and Johnny and Celia offer us a glimpse of what true love can look like.

Questions About Love

  1. What would you say about Minny and Aibileen's church in the context of the theme of love?
  2. How can Hilly be such a loving mother, yet such a hateful person? Can she be considered a loving mother if she teaches her children to hate others?
  3. Why does Minny love Leroy, even after he's beaten her for so many years? Does she still love him when she leaves him?
  4. Johnny seems to really love Celia, but it's not so clear how she feels about him – or is it? What's your take on their relationship?
  5. What are some of Aibileen's motivations for teaching Mae Mobley to love herself?
  6. How does Skeeter's relationship with her mother change throughout the novel?           
  7. Were you surprised that Skeeter and Stuart's relationship doesn't last? Did you like them as a couple?

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