After futile attempts to teach Helen, Anne Sullivan realizes the impossibility of accomplishing anything in the presence of the indulgent parents, Kate and Captain Keller. So, Annie explains that Helen's "worst handicap" is the Keller's enabling love that prevents her from utilizing opportunities in which to teach Helen, telling them, "I'll have to live with her somewhere else." Cleverly, she explains to Captain Keller that living elsewhere with Helen will meet his two working conditions for her: She will not be rude to him if she is away, and it is one way that she be in touch with Helen.
When asked where she would take Helen, Annie replies that she can use the Kellers' garden house; if they take Helen for a long ride, she will believe that she is far from her parents and will be forced to depend upon her teacher. Reluctantly, Keller "surrenders" after Annie draws the analogy to battle and the necessity of enforcing discipline.
"For two weeks. I'll give you two weeks in this place, and it will be a miracle if you get the child to tolerate you."
These words of Keller's prove prophetic, of course, as Annie does touch Helen and teaches her words. When she and Helen return, the "miracle" does, indeed, occur.