Study Guide

Mae Mobley Leefolt in The Help

By Kathryn Stockett

Mae Mobley Leefolt

Let's start off with a few facts on the girl. Mae Mobley is two years old when The Help opens. She's the daughter of Elizabeth and Raleigh Leefolt. Before the novel ends, she gets a younger brother, also named Raleigh. Like Skeeter, Mae Mobley doesn't fit her society's notions of what a little girl should look like. Basically from birth, she's alienated from the society she's born in.

Aibileen Clark takes care of her, and Mae Mobley is mostly seen through Aibileen's eyes. Aibileen, as we discuss in her "Characters: Aibileen Clark," teaches Mae Mobley about civil rights and equality through stories, games, and plain talk. Obviously, this is the last thing the Leefolts want Aibileen to do, but whatever.

From Aibileen's point of view, it's also her duty to instill in the little girl a sense of self-worth. Mae Mobley is neglected and physically and verbally abused by her mother Elizabeth. When Mae Mobley starts to believe these things are her own fault, Aibileen feels compelled to change the girl's mind.

Aibileen realizes that she has the power to influence the future for generations by what she does or doesn't teach the white children she cares for. If she teaches love, kindness, and equality, there's a chance that Mae Mobley will grow up to be someone like Skeeter – someone who will use her position in society to make that society better and more just.