In act 3, Annie says, "Don't smooth anything else out for me, don't interfere in any of the ways I treat her. I treat her like a seeing child because i ask her to see, I expect her to see. Don't...

In act 3, Annie says, "Don't smooth anything else out for me, don't interfere in any of the ways I treat her. I treat her like a seeing child because i ask her to see, I expect her to see. Don't undo what I do!" 

Does Annie really expect Helen to see in this act of The Miracle Worker?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Annie does expect Helen to see things; that is, she hopes that Helen will finally make the connection between the actual thing and the word spelled into her hand, and thus "see" the thing as having the meaning of the word.

In this passage from Act 3, Annie's angry words are spoken to Captain Keller following Helen's having thrown her napkin down deliberately despite her having learned not to do this from Annie. After Captain Keller retrieves the napkin, fastens it around Helen's neck without her tossing it off, he says, 

There. I't not unnatural, most of us take some aversion to our teachers, and occasionally another hand can smooth things out. 

Just then the rebellious Helen jams her hand into Annie's plate of food; Annie grabs her wrist, there is a struggle, and Helen pours the pitcher-full of water onto Annie. When Keller stands, Annie angrily tells him not to get up and not to "smooth things out" for her because she expects Helen to "see," to understand how to behave, and to imagine that a plate of food is not the place to shove her hand.
Miraculously, Helen finally makes the connection with the water from the pump and the word water spelled repeatedly into her hand. She recalls having tried to say water before she became sick and does, indeed, "see."

Read the study guide:
The Miracle Worker

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