At the end of Act One, Helen drops Annie's room key into a well, How does this ending foreshadow the end of Act Three?The Miracle Worker by William Gibson

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poignant history of Helen Keller's los of hearing and sight, and her miraculous rescue by Annie Sullivan from dark isolation, the key is a symbol of what Annie will do for Helen:  She will open her mind so that she can learn. 

However, at first, Helen is anything but receptive to the stranger from the East who intrudes into her home.  When Miss Sullivan takes Helen to her room to spell out doll and cake to Helen, the indulged child slaps Miss Sullivan and locks her in the room.  Embarrassed, Miss Sullivan must be rescued with a ladder placed outside her room.  Later, Helen is spotted in her favorite place:  the well.  Believing herself unobserved she produces the key from her mouth and mischievously drops it into the well.

Ironically, the well is to be the key to opening Helen's mind to learning and to communicating.  For, as a baby, Helen had learned to say "wah-wah" for water.   When, after long weeks of spelling words into Helen's hands, Annie Sullivan spells water and places Helen's hands in the water, the symbolic key turns:  Helen utters "wah-wah."  She has made the connection between the object and its letters.

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The Miracle Worker

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