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In Act I, Scene 4, following the scene in which Captain Keller promises to write a doctor in Baltimore, Mr. Anagos, the headmaster of the Perkins Institute for the Blind, talks with Anne Sullivan, telling her of her new position as tutor for Helen Keller. Anne is young woman of twenty, described by Gibson as having
... a face which in repose is grave and rather obstinate, and when active is impudent, combative, twinkling with all the life that is lacking in Helen's, and handsome; there is a crude vitality to her.
Anagnos cautions this strong-minded Irish girl to be humble, telling her the task of teaching one such as Hellen will be most challenging as he recalls how with Anne it was always "an Irish battle" for independence. Then, she opens her eyes;
they are inflamed, vague, slightly crossed, clouded by the granular growth of trachoma, and she often keeps them closed to shut out the pain of light.
As Mr. Anagos warns Anne again that her task will not be easy, the stalwart Anne replies,"The only time I have trouble is when I’m right." Mr. Anagos cautions her to be humble.
Later, Anne hears the voice of her little brother when he begged her not to leave him after they came to the Perkins Institute. Clearly, Anne is ridden with guilt about her brother, who died. This guilt drives Anne to work hard to help Helen--even her will to continues living her won life. But, this guilt also tunes Anne in to the suffering and frustration of Helen.
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