The Help (Kathryn Stockett) Important Character
The Help written by Kathryn Stockett is a beautiful but shocking look into the racism towards coloured maids in Jackson Mississippi during the 1960’s. An important character who helped to develop much of the plot-line is Hilly Hilbrook. Hilly becomes an important character through her talent for nasty gossip, her power over people and the insecurities she has about herself . She somehow manages to still seem cute and innocent and is described as, ” One a those grown lady’s that still dress like a little girl with big bows and matching hats and such. She ain’t my favourite. ”
The main reason Hilly becomes such an unforgettable villain is because of her talent for gossip. Part of Hilly’s personality is her ability to make people listen and once that happens, (even if its only whispered ), it spreads through the town like wildfire. “She give one a her little ‘a-hems’; she got this way a clearing her throat real delicate-like that get everybodies attention without them even knowin she made em do it”. I think this is also something that people can easily relate to, especially at High School where instances like this happen every day, with a horrible after affect.
There is one character in particular who gets the sting in tail of Hilly’s gossip and that character is Minny Jackson, known as ‘the best cook in Mississippi. ” The only reason she isn’t the most popular choice for someone looking to hire a maid is because of Hilly spreading vicious rumours. Hilly wanted Minny to work for her, so she falsely spread it round town that Minny stole from Hilly’s mother who was Minny’s old employer, causing everyone to turn their noses up when Minny applied for a job, therefore forcing her back to Hilly.
Hilly makes all the rules. If she has something, then everyone else wants that something too – ” Hilly was the first of the girls to have a baby, and it must have come out of her like the forth commandent, because once Hilly had one, all them other girls had to have one too. ” She started the “Home help Sanitation Initiative’ that required white houses to have a separate bathroom for the black help, ‘as a disease-preventative measure. ‘ One of her closest followers knew she couldn’t afford it, but in order not to issappoint Hilly, pulled money out of her daughter’s college fund in order to pay for the new bathroom. Hilly is terrified of losing her status and her title as top dog – ‘Chairman of the Jackson Junior League’ . Her fear rules her life so in turn rules everybody elses. The hero of the story wants to be a writer, so she writes a book about their town from the maids point of view. In the book some awful things are written about Hilly that are for the first half of the book simply referred to as “the terrible alful’ committed by Minny who was seeking revenge once she knew Hilly had beaten her.
Hilly knows that this would completely destroy her reputation if anyone ever figured out it was about her. This causes her to use all her power to try and convince everybody that “the book is not about Jackson! ” The Character of Hilly is made memorable through Kathryn Stockett unique style of writing. She allows the reader to visualise the town of Jackson with all it’s colourful characters, of which Hilly was one of the most vivid.