The novel is structured in a series of narratives by the 'helps' Aibileen and the younger Minny (both written in a kind of black vernacular), and the young white Miss Skeeter (written in standard English). Having the tail end of the Jim Crow law era as its central backcloth, The Help is firmly centered on black and white issues in the domestic field, concentrating on the abuse of black women in that area. With some justification, the front cover of the English Penguin paperback calls it 'The other side of Gone wih the Wind'.
At the heart of the novel is the relationship between Miss Skeeter and Aibileen and the former's strong interest in publishing a series of interviews about the treatment of black domestics by their white employers. Gradually, Aibileen persuades over ten other black workers to be interviewed, and eventually the anonymously authored book is published, and meets with some success, as well as considerable criticism in the Jackson community.
What shines through all this is not just the courage of the black women, not just the courage of one white woman to record it all, but the strength of human resistance against racial bigotry and general ignorance. A heartwarming book with no facile conclusions.