Illustration of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan

The Miracle Worker

by William Gibson

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On page 112 of The Miracle Worker, what is the deeper meaning of Annie saying she loves Helen?

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The moment of the play when Annie tells Helen she loves her is momentous for Annie for a number of reasons. When she speaks the words, "I, love, Helen. Forever and—ever" (112), she speaks the words as she would sign them to Helen, which she works toward doing, but has not done yet. Thus, as Annie addresses Helen aloud and Helen cannot hear her, we know this moment is of internal personal significance for Annie, one that she intends to share with Helen when they have worked their way up to signing those words.

Annie herself has had to overcome many obstacles before even coming to Helen in the first place. She grew up as an orphan in an institution with her brother, who passed away after she swore to protect him; she required her own eye surgery to overcome blindness; she arrived to treat Helen immediately after her own graduation from the school for the blind. Throughout the play, we hear the voice of Annie's conscience, and we know of her inner turmoil, guilt, and grief. When she makes her breathrough with Helen, however, she no longer has cause to doubt herself, and in coming to love Helen, she has found another person in her life to love and care for as she did her own brother. Thus, Helen's breakthrough marks one for Annie as well.

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