In Act 2 of The Miracle Worker, how do Annie and Captain Keller's interactions add drama to the play?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Act II is a very dramatic section of this play, because we see Annie beginning to impose her regime upon Helen and upon the Keller family. One of the most important sections of this act to my mind comes at the dinner table, when Helen tries to take Annie's plate, as she is accustomed to feeding herself from other people's plates during dinner time. Annie's outburst against Keller's insistence that she lets Helen have her way and accepts another plate summarises the real struggle that is going on in this scene. When she is told by Keller that she should have more pity for Helen, note how she responds:

Pity? For this tyrant? The whole house turns on her whims, is there anything she watns she doesn't get? I'll tell you what I pity, that the sun won't rise and set for her all her life, and every day you're telling her it will, what good will your pity do her when you're under the strawberries, Captain Keller?

We see that the conflict between Keller and Annie is really about what is best for Helen. Annie recognises that Helen has been allowed to become a "tyrant" in the house, and that her biggest opponent in a sense is not Helen but her parents who have allowed her to become like she is. Thus the conflict between Annie and Captain Keller is dramatic because the fate of Helen and Annie's successful treatment of her depends on the outcome of this conflict.

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