Describe Annie Sullivan. What kind of a young woman was she? Cite three examples from the play to support your views.  

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Annie Sullivan is a determined woman.  She does not give up, even when her efforts do not work right away.  She is patient, and does not get easily frustrated.  She also suffers from a lingering sadness due to her unpleasant childhood memories.

Annie's determination is revealed in Act II of "The Miracle Worker."  Helen tries to take food off of Annie's plate with her hands.  Annie refuses to let the child do this.  Helen's family had let her do this every day for years.  Despite protests from Helen's parents, Annie will not let Helen touch her food.  Each time Helen reaches to grab food off Annie's plate, the woman physically stops her.  Helen becomes upset, but this does not phase Annie.  She is determined that Helen's bad manners will stop that day.  Soon Annie attempts to have Helen eat with a spoon instead of her hands.  Annie places the spoon in her hand and Helen tosses it away.  This happens many times.  Annie's determination will not let her give up.  After many attempts, "Annie, with Helen's hand, takes up another spoonful and shoves it into her open mouth. Helen swallows involuntarily."  The battle is still not over, but progress has been made.

Patience is another quality that Annie possesses.  She spells words into Helen's hand over and over again, but the child does not understand.  Annie displays patience.  She does not get angry at Helen for not understanding.  Instead, she patiently tries again.  She does this until Helen learns that each word means something.

Annie is a woman who suffers from sadness.  She had been sent to an almshouse with her brother as a child.  She cared for him as best she could, but he still became sick.  He eventually died.  Throughout the play, Annie has flashbacks to conversations with her brother.  These memories haunt her.

 

Read the study guide:
The Miracle Worker

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