Skeeter is the 22-year-old privileged daughter of a cotton plantation owner. She returns to Jackson, Mississippi, following her college graduation and finds that her perspective on the division between white Southern households and black maids has changed. Skeeter wants to be a writer, but her mother wants her to be a wife. Skeeter falls for the senator's son but the romance ends when Stuart learns of her civil rights leanings. She approaches an editor in New York City with the idea of writing about black maids in her town and is tentatively given approval. The project begins her transformation from the woman she was raised to be to the independent, brave woman who chooses her own path.
Skeeter's character represents the theme of alienation throughout the novel. For example, she becomes isolated from the community of southern women in which she was raised. She fails at meeting her mother's expectations for what a proper woman should do and creates conflicts within her group of friends because she questions the way things are done. When Skeeter returns from university, she tries to reenter her old life but finds that the life she left behind now looks different. Her alienation eventually leads to self-awareness of her role within the segregated society, which shocks her and motivates her writing project. The writing project also leads to a friendship with Aibileen that never would have been possible if Skeeter hadn't chosen to break from her own community. Eventually, she must choose between her past and her future. Skeeter decides to leave her community and move to New York City to follow her dream of writing.