Character Connection: Aibileen Clark

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Aibileen Clark, from The Help by Kathrynn Stockett, is a patient woman. She has raised white women’s children in Mississippi in the 50’s and 60’s. She has loved them when they were small and then been hurt as they grew up, learned the values of the culture around them, and shunned her. That’s the way it’s always been.

But Aibileen is out of patience. She is now working for an absolute horror of a woman. Miss Hilly is launching a campaign to get all the black “help” in the city their own bathrooms. Not because they might like their own space, but “because of disease, you know. You don’t want to catch whatever they have. And who knows what kind of disease they might have.” (I’m paraphrasing, but this is very true to the idea) Yeah. How do you work for that kind of woman?

By telling the truth.

Aibileen starts a project with Skeeter Phelan, a white society girl who wants a career, of all things. Aibileen helps Skeeter write a household hints column for the local paper. She also tells her the truth about what life as “the help” in Mississippi is like. She holds nothing back, good or bad. She recruits other women into the project to tell their stories. And they all have stories. Oh, boy, do they have stories.

I loved Minny (see my Character Connection post about her), but I related more to Aibileen. I wouldn’t say that I’m as patient as she is, but my temper is a loooooooooong slow burn. Once it goes, that is it. I am done with you. I figure if you have pushed me that far, you are asking for whatever I dish out. Aibileen has that loooooooong slow burn, but she burns through to righteous anger. She is a hard-working caring woman with more to recommend her than the hateful hussy she works for. Aibileen might not be able to openly say what she thinks, but she makes sure the world knows.

Miss Hilly and company don’t know what’s coming for them.

The Help Movie

Viola Clark is portraying Aibileen in the movie (due out August 10). This picture looks perfect. That long-suffering “Help me, Jesus” look as she overhears the big bathroom plan.

Who did you connect with this week? Link your post on Mr. Linky, then be sure to go check out the other Character Connections!

Character Connection

Don’t you just love larger-than-life characters? The ones who jump off the page and grab you? Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t be indifferent to them.

I would love to know about the characters who just won’t leave you! Most of you will probably post about how much you love (or loathe) each character, but this is a great place for the more creative ones among you to let go and have fun! Write yourself into a scene with Anne and Diana. Write a love poem in elvish for Aragorn. Draw a picture of Harry obliterating Voldemort. The possibilities are endless.

Be sure to post the book’s title and author, and be very careful not to give away spoilers while talking about how much you love your characters.

Mr. Linky will be posted here on The Introverted Reader every Thursday.

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore, and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

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  1. I loved both Minny and Aibileen, and, you're right, while Minny was quick to anger Aibileen's builds and builds.

  2. +JMJ+

    Aibileen sounds absolutely wonderful! As someone with a job that makes her another sort of "help" to people, I could be one of those women she recruits to tell her story. And I could help her find others with even better stories to tell! LOL!

    Jen, I also relate to what you say about your temper: my fuse is pretty long, too, thanks to a little stress-busting technique the uninformed like to slander as "gossip" (and which I like to think of as weaving a humourous serial out of my work, as all natural storytellers like to do). But there are times I do lose my cool–and then I want to run and hide from myself! =P

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