Illustration of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan

The Miracle Worker

by William Gibson

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Aunt Ev says of Helen, “This child has more sense than all these men Kellers, if there’s ever any way to reach that mind of hers.” What evidence in Act One suggests that Helen is, in fact, very bright?

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She meets Helen, and immediately makes Helen understand that the suitcase is to go "up." Together, Annie and Helen get it upstairs to Annie's room while Kate, appreciating what she has just seen, placates the Captain. Upstairs, Annie teaches Helen to hand-spell "doll" and "cake" to get each, then is outsmarted when The answers above are great, but my favorite indication of Helen's intelligence is when Helen first meets Annie, who gives her the indication to carry her suitcase upstairs; then teaches her to spell the word "doll". Helen then hits her in the face with the doll and runs out the door, locking Annie in. Unable to find the key, Annie must be "rescued" with a ladder brought to her window. After dinner, Annie finds Helen at her favorite place, the water pump in the yard. Thinking she is alone, Helen brings forth the "vanished" bedroom key from her mouth and gleefully drops it down the well. Annie smiles, with "great respect, humor, and acceptance of challenge,".

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Helen would feel people's hands so she could try to figure out what they were doing. She recognized people by feeling their faces or their clothes. She used gestures to tell her family what she wanted. If she wanted ice cream, she would hug her shoulders and shiver.

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