Short Summary: The Role Of Power In The Maids

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What this creates is a particular power dynamic in the maid – master relationship. Logically, there is an unequal power hierarchy due to difference in class and the structure of employment. Yet, the power hierarchy is further emphasised by the position of African Americans, which means that the employer has the upper hand. For instance, when looking at the relationship between Aibileen and Miss Leefolt, Miss Leefolt, despite her being twenty-three and half the age of Aibileen, has the authority over her maid to tell her what to do. Race is superior to age and life experience. Moreover, the only response that Aibileen can give is the submissive acceptance of her chores and other issues such as a separate bathroom. What made this relationship even more strenuous is the fact that the maids could get fired at any time. In addition, it meant that having one bad reference would limit their opportunity to find new work.1 The novel highlights this through Minny 's difficulty of finding a job and of her being terrified that Celia would fire (other word?) her after she crossed a line. Furthermore, the most significant example is when after twenty-nine years of loyal service, Constantine is still forced to resign after an incident that was only not her fault.2 Hence, the maids have to nurture this relationship and have to accept the orders of the families they worked for. There are, of course, exceptions to this as it depended on the relationship and the people involved.3 However,

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