Summarize Annie's past as it's revealed in Act II and explain how it affects her work with Helen.William Gibson's The Miracle Worker

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Act Two of The Miracle Worker, Anne Sullivan tries to gain control of Helen, but is met with resistance by the Kellers.  When the Captain threatens to fire her, Anne returns to her room, goes wearily to her suitcase, and as she lifts it she notices the Perkins Institution for the Blind report; this report triggers her memory.

In her memory, she hears a boy's voice, that of her dead brother.  Then the voices of the crones, wise old women who tell the truth, are heard saying, "There is schools---" Annie recalls having left for school in Boston and her poor brother begging her not to leave.  This most melancholy of memories recurs when she goes to the garden house to talk with the Kellers who have considered putting Helen in an asylum.  Annie tells them that she grew up in an asylum:  "the state almshouse" where she and her brother Jimmie played with the rats since they had no toys. After describing the type of people who lived there, Annie tells the Kellers that she and Jimmie played in the deadhouse where the bodies were kept prior to burial.  Needless to add, her descriptions convince the Kellers to retain Anne as the governess for Helen.

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