In The Miracle Worker, is the Keller family normal or dysfunctional? Why?

Expert Answers
Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I used to feel a lot of contempt for the Kellers.  I thought they were weak and that anyone with any sense could see exactly what Helen needed.

Then I had an autistic child.

Now I understand that it sometimes takes someone emotionally removed (but still loving) to get past the fear of what a child's future may hold and to find the best in them.

My thinking, therefore, is to not be too hard on the Kellers.  In their favor is the fact that they allowed Annie Sullivan to pursue her sometimes harsh course of treatment despite their own emotional pain. 

jnaert | Student

The Keller family is dysfunctional. Even though Helen is deaf and blind, she still has the ability to learn language, learn manners and operate as a normal functioning adult in society. However, Helen's parents didn't have the language to give her so she didn't have access to it. This caused her inappropriate behavior, which disrupted family life on an hourly basis. Because of all the issues that arose due to Helen not having language, and due to Helen's parents not learning Sign Language themselves, I would definitely say the Keller family is dysfunctional.