Both Annie and Helen are vision impaired, though Helen is completely blind, while Annie is still partially able to see. Their limitations have been overcome by their own stubbornness, and Annie is teaching Helen not only to communicate but to be strong.
Their backgrounds are very different. Annie was born to poor immigrants. Her mother died when Annie was young, and her father left them when he could not take care of them. Annie grew up in an asylum, while Helen had a comfortable home with good food and both loving parents.
Both are intelligent. Annie sought out an education despite the limitations she was surrounded by in her environment. She learned quickly, becoming the valedictorian of her graduating class. Once Helen overcame the barriers to understanding the connection between Teacher’s finger spelling and meaning, Helen learned quickly, eventually graduating with honors from Radcliffe College.