In Act II, Scene 2, Annie is appalled at Helen's improper behavior at the table, and she convinces the Kellers to step outside while she works with Helen.
Keller. I fail to see where you have taught her anything yet, Miss Sullivan!
Annie. I’ll begin this minute, if you’ll leave the room, Captain Keller!
Keller (astonished). Leave the—
Annie. Everyone, please.
What follows between Annie and Helen is a virtual battle of wills and the longest struggle on any stage. After removing the plates of the other family members, Annie insists that Helen use a spoon to eat her food; however, Hellen just throws the spoon down, but Annie replaces it with another. They struggle with each other until Helen finally complies with Annie's insistence that she eat properly. When Helen does seem to swallow, Annie feels good, but suddenly Helen spits out the food. Annie, then, throws water in Helen's face, and as Helen grasps, she shoves another spoonful into Helen's mouth. All this time, Annie spells into Helen's hand.
Finally after Helen yanks Annie's hair and they roll on the floor together, Helen runs out and grabs her mother's leg. Annie comes out and reports that Helen has eaten at the table with silverware off her plate, and has used her napkin.
Kate (slowly). Folded her napkin. (She contemplates the wild head in her thighs and moves her fingertips over it, with such a tenderness, and something like a fear of its strangeness, that her own eyes close; she whispers, bending to it.) My Helen—folded her napkin—
Helen's mother is thrilled with this progress; Annie's success with Helen convinces Mrs. Keller, who, in turn, convinces her husband, Captain Keller, that Ann Sullivan is capable of teaching Helen.