by Kathryn Stockett
Yule May Crookle
Yule May is a college-educated woman. She's also Hilly Holbrook's maid. When Yule May is short $75 – the difference between sending both her twins sons to college and sending only one – Hilly refuses to loan her money, on the grounds, as Aibileen reports, "That a true Christian don't give in charity to those who is well and able. Say it's kinder to let them learn to work things out themselves" (19.163). After Yule May steals what turns out to be a worthless ring from Hilly to try to get the tuition money, Hilly arranges a super-speedy trial for Yule Mae, along with a $500 court fine and four years in the Mississippi State Penitentiary. (This abuse of the justice system is a big part of why The Help is often compared to Harper's Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird.)
This act of cruelty by Hilly is what ultimately convinces many of Jackson's black maids to work with Skeeter and Aibileen on the book. They realize that they have to fight if they want to make things better, and storytelling is their weapon of choice.