Wednesday, June 23, 2010 10:34 AM
Here are the discussion questions for our book. Still determining a location, contact me with any suggestions. The meeting will definitely be in Saint Paul, somewhere, probably around Grand Avenue or Cathedral Hill area.
Discussion questions for ?The Help? by Kathryn Stockett
Who was your favorite character? Why?
What do you think motivated Hilly? On the one hand she is terribly cruel to Aibileen and her own help, as well as to Skeeter once she realizes that she can?t control her. Yet she?s a wonderful mother. Do you think that one can be a good mother but, at the same time, a deeply flawed person?
Like Hilly, Skeeter?s mother is a prime example of someone deeply flawed yet somewhat sympathetic. She seems to care for Skeeter? and she also seems to have very real feelings for Constantine. Yet the ultimatum she gives to Constantine is untenable; and most of her interaction with Skeeter is critical. Do you think Skeeter?s mother is a sympathetic or unsympathetic character? Why?
How much of a person?s character would you say is shaped by the times in which they live?
Did it bother you that Skeeter is willing to overlook so many of Stuart?s faults so that she can get married, and that it?s not until he literally gets up and walks away that the engagement falls apart?
Do you believe that Minny was justified in her distrust of white people?
Do you think that had Aibileen stayed working for Miss Elizabeth, that Mae Mobley would have grown up to be racist like her mother? Do you think racism is inherent, or taught?
From the perspective of a twenty-first century reader, the hairshellac system that Skeeter undergoes seems ludicrous. Yet women still alter their looks in rather peculiar ways as the definition of ?beauty? changes with the times. Looking back on your past, what?s the most ridiculous beauty regimen you ever underwent?
The author manages to paint Aibileen with a quiet grace and an aura of wisdom about her. How do you think she does this?
Do you think there are still vestiges of racism in relationships where people of color work for people who are white?
What did you think about Minny?s pie for Miss Hilly? Would you have gone as far as Minny did for revenge? How do you think the novel would have been different if it was told by a third person omniscient narrator? Which do you think is more effective for this novel?
Which character?s narration did you prefer? Why?
What were your thought on the ending? Did feel satisfied or did you want an epilogue to know what happened in the end to each of the characters?
What was the role of mothers in the novel? How do you think each of the maternal relationships added to the plot? Elizabeth and her mother, Elizabeth and Mae Mobley, Skeeter and Mrs. Phelean, Hilly and her children. Along the same lines how do you think Mrs. Phelean?s cancer impacted her as a character as well as the plot?
What were your thoughts on Skeeter and Stuart?s relationship? Did you hope they would eventually be together or were you glad to see him go? Did you agree with the explanation of her feelings about the relationship? Did it change as the novel progressed?
Did you expect the friend relationships to develop that did? Celia and Minny, Aibleen and Skeeter.
Did you anticipate the respect that some women expressed about their help? i.e. Louvinia and Lou Anne.