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The Miracle Worker
Transcript of The Miracle Worker
William Gibson The inspiring story of Helen Keller Characters: Captain Keller (Keller) Helen Keller Annie Sullivan Mrs. Katie Keller Major Characters Minor Characters Viney Aunt Ev the Doctor James Keller Martha Percy Keller is Helen's Father. He is very stubborn and always believes he is right. He is A veteran of the Civil War, and at times feels that there is no hope for Helen. He is very proud, and is a no-nonsense sort of person. Helen's birth mother is Keller's second wife. Unlike her husband, she has one lasting hope that Helen has a chance to Live a normal life. she is a very kind, patient, and compassionate person. She seems to be the only one who can control Helen in the beginning. Deaf and blind since infancy, Helen has never known life as a normal child. she has no way to communcate with anyone, and out of pity recieves anything she wants. Helen is confused about the methods by which people try to tell her things and often acts out violently. Being nearly blind herself, Annie knows how Helen feels. She is Helen's last chance, in a way, to communication. She has worked with deaf and blind children before and hopes that one of the many methods they use at the Perkins Institute for the Blind will work for Helen. Annie is "all of twenty," meaning she has as much life and knowledge in her as twenty years can offer a woman. James is Helen's step brother, the son of Keller's first wife. He is indeed a Keller, which is to say he has many of the qualities his father likes to boast of the Kellers posessing: stubbornness, courage, determination, perserverance, constitution. He is somewhat bitter with his father because of his mother and James feels like Keller ignores him. He does love and care for Helen, and defends Annie's opinions and methods against Keller. VIney is the head servant at the Keller house. She is African American and has her own mind. She speaks her mind, to a certain degree, and has her own opinions. She is not the kind of person to be 'walked all over.' She has a soft spot for Helen, and it often shows. Aunt EV is the greatly dignified aunt of Keller. She is very traditional and has clearly formed opinions. The doctor appears very little in the story except in the beginning when he claims Helen cured of a fever. Martha is the daughter of one of the Keller's servants. She played with Helen to keep her busy before Annie arrived. Percy is a servant that Annie asks Keller if she can have the services of when she takes care of Helen on her own. Character Trace:
Annie Sullivan Settting The story takes place at the keller's home in Tuscumbia, Alabama. It is sometime in the 1880's, right after the American Civil War. Through the story, Annie is a headstrong and confident person. she makes the best of her situation, whatever it may be. She is very independant and does not like to fully rely on anyone.
At the beginning of the novel, Annie seems afraid to love. She lost her brother when she was younger, and seems afraid to lose another person she loves. To avoid this, she denies herself the opportunity to openly love anyone. As she spends more time with the Kellers and especially Helen, she begins to love Helen as a daughter and as a friend. She does'nt realize this until the very end of the novel. In the story she says: "she's not even my child. I don't even love her," when in fact she does. On the last page of the novel, Helen and Annie have a very sweet moment in which Annie spells "I love helen" to her. Reactions This book was very emotionally moving. It is combines Helen's dramatic and heroic story and personalizes it. I felt very close to the characters and it was like I knew them. Even though the book covers only a short period of time, I felt like I could tell what any one of the characters' reaction to any situation would be.
This book helped me face the world with a brighter outlook. The hope and the courage woven into the characters is very human and cover the gaps left by weakness. I now feel that if Helen can overcome her disadvantages, I can overcome any of mine. There is hope in any situation. Rising Action Much of the rising action was during Annie's attempts at teaching Helen Language. Helen didn't really understand that the symbols Annie was forming with her fingers wasn't a game. She didn't realize that she could communicate with people by configuring her fingers into "symbols."
ON the first day that Annie stays with the Kellers, Helen manages to lock her in her room with the window being the only way out. It accentuates the fact that Helen has learned no manners at her parents' hands and severely needs to be taught the lesson and that she does not like Annie. The Captain becomes quite upset with Annie because she was "Not in the house ten minutes, I don't see how you (she) managed it!" The captain and Katie cannot find where Helen hid the key, so the Captain gets a ladder and carries her out through the window despite her protests that she can get out by herself. WHen Helen thinks she is alone while Annie watches undetected, she takes the key out of her mouth and drops it down the well and congratulates herself at her apparent riddance of Annie.
THe very next day, Annie learns just how bad Helen's manners are. At the breakfast table, Helen walks around the table helping herself to food from everyone's plates and eats with her hands. Annie finds this unacceptable. Annie is convinced that Helen's parents' pity for their disadvantaged child is hindering Helen's ability to let knowledge in. Annie stands up against Keller, saying Helen is a spoiled child and should not be pitied. Instead she must be showed that what she was doing was wrong. She requests that everyone leaves the room so Annie can do whatever she needs to get Helen to do what a normal child would do. She askes if Keller would allow a normal child to throw a tantrum, and when he says no, she says that Helen should act like any normal child. Even though Helen is blind and deaf, Annie expects her to fight through it and be like a normal child. When she is finally alone with Helen, she forces her to sit in her chair, eat with a spoon, and fold her napkin. When Katie hears this progress she is astonished. After this experience though, Helen wouldn't even allow Annie to spell letters to her in sign language. Keller is very vexed at Annie because he is not used to women or employees standing up tp him.
Annie requests that Helen rely on her for everything for two weeks. The food she eats, the clothes she wears, and getting fresh air should come from Annie. Helen thinks she is miles away from home when she is actually only in the Kellers' furnished garden house. Eventually Annie breaks the barrier and is once again able to spell words to Helen. She also teaches her an embroidery stitch, a few new words, and how to keep herself clean. On the last day of Helen's "custody," Keller brings Helen their dog Belle as a play-mate. Helen tries to spell words into Belle's paws, enforcing the fact that to Helen, the sign language is only a finger game. Annie wants to keep her in isolation from her family for another week, but Katie and Keller won't allow it. They want their child back. Climax The climax occured on the night of Helen's return to her family after two weeks with Annie. A celebratory dinner was prepared for Helen With all her favorite foods. Helen recognizes that she is now back at home and is very happy to be so. But at the dinner table, things go awry. Helen tests the limits and deliberately behaves badly to see if she can get away with it. Her parents don't see the harm in letting her have her way for one night, but annie understands that even allowing her to behave badly once will undo everything Annie had painstakingly taught her. She will be back at the beginning. James agrees with her and stands up to his father. He knows Helen is testing Annie and her parents as well.
When Annie tries to control Helen, she reverts back to her old, violent tactics. She kicks and screams and in the process upets the water pitcher. Annie grabs the pitcher and drags Helen out to the pump to refill it. With the water running over Helen's hands, Annie spells Water into it. Suddenly Helen drops the pitcher and it shatters. Helen struggles to remember, from when she was six months old, the coordination of saying the word "wahwah," as close to "water" as she had gotten. Suddenly she realizes what Annie has been to tell her: words, names, communication! she is suddenly running and tripping over herself to get her hands on anything and have Annie spell it to her. When Annie yells, Keller and Katie come out into the yard. Helen learnes for the first time the name of the person who has always cared for her and how to tell her anythin through her fingers. Falling Action and Resolution After the recognition of language, Helen returns shyly to Annie. It seems as though she feels guilty for retaliating now that she knows that Annie was only trying to help, to teach. She brings the keys that her mother gave her upon request as a peace offering to Annie, remembering the beginning scene when Annie was locked in her room. Annie is very touched by this gesture and accepts the keys. Helen then extends her hand, a request to know what Annie is called. Annie spells "teacher," and Helen slowly thinks about it. Then the two share and embrace and Annie, breaking into tears, spells "I love Helen" into the girl's palm.
This confession made to Helen was very emotional for Annie. She had refused and denied herself love, but it found her anyway. She finds that now that she is not afraid of love and will not have to lose Helen as she might have if she had to go away. Helen is more than a student to her. She is a friend and a very good one.
And so the story ends with the two sitting by the pump sharing a hug. The communication barrier has been broken and Annie can now begin to teach her the multitude of things the world offers. Themes Two of the main themes in The Miracle Worker were patience and perseverence. Annie had to have excruciating patience with Helen especially when she was being difficult, to say the least. She never gave up on Helen even when she was at the end of her rope. She kept going and eventually won out. It is important to learn about Patience and perseverance because many people need it in our day & age. Everyone expects everything and everyone to be perfect and fast enough for them. THey don't want to wait. If something goes wrong, they don't try any longer. I think this is a failure of the human race. If we don't persevere, we won't get anything accomplished. ANd then where would we be?