In The Miracle Worker, what, according to Annie, is needed "through which knowledge enters?"This question is from Act 2.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is language, or specifically an understanding of words, which is needed as a channel through which knowledge enters.  Annie explains to Mr. Keller that Helen "has to learn that everything has its name...(then) words can be her eyes, to everything in the world outside her...with them she can think, have ideas, speak, be reached".  Annie has been able to teach Helen to spell a number of words, but she has not yet at this point been able to get her to understand that each word has meaning, and can be used to communicate.  Annie believes that with time and repetition, she will eventually be able "to push one of them into her mind...and everything will follow".  Once Helen gets the concept that the words she spells have meaning, she will be able to both receive "knowledge" from the world around her and express herself to others.

Annie also mentions another "gateway" through which a child gains knowledge.  She says, "the more I think, the more certain I am that obedience is the gateway through which knowledge enters the mind of the child".  After struggling with to get Helen to attend and behave, Annie becomes convinced that the child must first learn to mind before she will be able to absorb the knowledge Annie is trying to communicate to her through hand-spelled language (Act 2).