Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Annie Sullivan, the teacher of the deaf and blind child Helen Keller. Annie, herself blind during her childhood years, comes to the Keller household at the age of twenty to attempt to teach language to seven-year-old Helen. Her brash self-confidence is a pose covering her deep fear of possible failure in her first position. The clashes of wills between herself and Helen and between herself and the child’s father pique her Irish temper enough to help her through the difficult first months as she attempts merely to discipline Helen into obedience and calm. With tireless perseverance, she repeats the manual alphabet into Helen’s hand, spelling out the name of every object the child can touch and hoping that the child’s keen mind will somehow make the connection between the words spelled and the objects felt.
Captain Arthur Keller
Captain Arthur Keller, a retired Civil War officer who edits a town newspaper in Tuscumbia, Alabama. He is a haughty man in his mid-fifties, apparently accustomed during his military career to instant and unquestioning obedience to his every whim. Disappointment at the seeming cowardice of his teenage son and the terrible physical affliction of his small daughter gnaw at his heart, causing him to be irascible and sharply demanding at times with his family. Underneath, he is a concerned and loving father and husband. He is especially frustrated in his efforts to dominate...
(The entire section is 647 words.)
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Anagnos, described by Gibson as "a stocky bearded man," is Annie's counselor at the Perkins Institution for the Blind. It is Anagnos who places Annie in the Kellers's home as a governess for Helen. He is loving and kindly with Annie, but he can also be stern when necessary.
See Anne Sullivan
Aunt Ev is described by Gibson as "a benign visitor" who serves as a catalyst for the Kellers's first contact with the Perkins Institute. Aunt Ev is a talkative woman who often tries to be helpful, but who can be a bit intrusive. She sometimes oversteps her place as a visitor in the Keller household and at one point even threatens to take matters into her own hands.
The "Blind Girls," who range in age from 8 to 17 years old, are the girls at the Perkins Institution with whom Annie has the closest relationship. Together they are like sisters: excited, lively, and loving. The youngest of the girls has difficulty accepting Annie's departure to the Kellers. When Annie is leaving, it is the Blind Girls who give her the smoked glasses that became Annie's trademark. They also give Annie a doll to give to Helen.
The doctor opens the play with Helen's parents, Kate and Arthur. He is an elderly man who provides comforting words to Helen's parents after their child has just...
(The entire section is 1469 words.)