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In The Miracle Worker, what is the dramatic question (what decision must be made) in...

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sam456 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 17, 2009 at 1:52 PM via web

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In The Miracle Worker, what is the dramatic question (what decision must be made) in the first scene with Helen's parents, aunt, and stepbrother?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 18, 2009 at 10:20 AM (Answer #1)

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The dramatic question in this first scene with the whole family is to convince Captain Keller to write to Dr. Chisholm from Baltimore in regards to Helen.  Actually, it is Aunt Ev who asks the question direction in regards to the decision:

Why, this very famous oculist in Baltimore I wrote you about, what was his name? [Dr. Chisholm] Yes, I heard lots of cases of blindness people thought couldn't be cured he's cured, he just does wonders.  Why don't you write him? (11)

Captain Keller, at this point, has become numb with disappointment in regards to Helen.  However, in this scene, he sees how Kate is willing to allow her heart to be broken "any number of times" (11).  Both James and Captain Keller make a dire mistake here of complaining about Helen's appearance and behavior because they are met with Kate saying, "Do you dare?  Complain of what you can see?" (13).  Then there is the moving moment when Helen struggles to show her parents that she wants her doll to have eyes, followed by the consideration of putting Helen "away."  Finally, and only after this, is the decision made.  Captain Keller says, "I'll write the man, Katie."  Thank God he does!

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