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Once she makes the connection between all the signing in her hand that Anne Sullivan has done as the name for the real thing that it represents, Anne is ecstatic.
When her time for the "Garden House" experiment in which Anne kept Helen isolated expires, Helen has only learned finger games for treats or a few other things; she has not made the necessary connections between the spelling in the hand and the actual thing that represents. Then, having been returned to the dinner table with her family, Helen is again indulged and returns to some of her wild behavior. When she hurls a pitcher of water on Anne, the teacher forces Helen to refill it at the pump. Automatically, Anne spells w-a-t-e-r into Helen's hand, and the "miracle" happens. Helen drops the pitcher and is transfixed. With effort she tries to form the baby word she knew, "Wah wah." Anne reaches for her hand and Helen spells water into it. The stage directions read,
,,,she whirls, groping,to touch anything, encounters the trellis, shakes it, thrusts out her palm, and ANNE while spelling to her, cries wildly at the house.
Helen runs around the yard touching things and Anne spells them out for her. Anne calls to the family and they come rushing out to witness. Helen asks the words for "Mama" and "Papa" and her family hugs Helen joyously. Then Helen taps her mother's pocket and obtains the keys used by Anne to lock Helen in or out; in a gesture of goodwill, Helen gives them to Anne. The Kellers dismiss the servants who have come running when Helen tolls the large bell outside, and they re-enter the house, leaving Anne and Helen alone. Anne spells "I love Helen" into the girl's hand. Earlier, she has repeated, "God owes me a resurrection"; now, Anne has her "resurrection" as she had vowed not to love anyone after her brother's death.
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