Illustration of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan

The Miracle Worker

by William Gibson

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My granddaughter is doing a book report on The Miracle Worker, & needs to pass out a food associated with the book.  Any ideas? 

Expert Answers

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Oooo!  I've got a GREAT idea for this assignment!  First of all, the food is less important than how it is eaten in regards to The Miracle Worker.  Here are the most important two things to remember:

  • Make sure each student has his/her eyes closed when reaching for the food.  (A blindfold would add a nice touch to this.)
  • Make sure each student only uses their hands to eat the food.  (A nice dose of sanitizer beforehand would add a nice touch to this.  Ha!)

This will mimic the way that the blind Helen Keller was used to eating food (off of her parents'/siblings' plates) in the chaotic pre-Annie Keller household.

Now, in regards to the kinds of foods to serve, let's recreate one of Annie's first breakfasts with the family.  The stage directions clearly indicate that at least two of the foods at that breakfast were scrambled eggs and biscuits:  two perfect Southern foods!  I would serve both, serving the biscuits first (something usually eaten with the hands) and then making sure those scrambled eggs are truly eaten with the student's fingers.  Oh, how they will realize what an animal Helen was taught to be by her own family!

Thank goodness for Annie Sullivan!

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Easy. Tell your granddaughter to bring in a pitcher. Any pitcher will do, but a clear pitcher, glass or plastic, would probably be most appropriate. Tell your granddaughter to fill the pitcher with water and to pass the filled pitcher around he class. Tell her to ask the students what was in the pitcher. Of course they wall all say, "Water."

Then tell her to explain to the class that saying water, or wah wah, is the Miracle from which the play, The Miracle Worker gets its name. For it is when Annie Sullivan and Helen are outside re-filling a pitcher of water at the pump that Helen first makes the vital connection between what is being spelled by Annie in her hand and the real substance of the cold, wet water she feels. It is then that Helen learns to communicate: to understand what is being told to her and how to tell others what she thinks in her sightless, silent world.

Technically, water is not exactly a food, but, for demonstration purposes, it will suffice... and may well earn your granddaughter an A.

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