Illustration of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan

The Miracle Worker

by William Gibson
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What does Annie teach other family members in The Miracle Worker?

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When Annie arrives at the Keller's home, she discovers that no one has ever tried to discipline Helen. The entire family has let Helen have her way in order to avoid her ferocious tantrums, which include throwing objects and hitting people.

Annie teaches the family to stop pitying Helen. Instead wants them to help her learn as much as she possibly can. But this is difficult for everyone. They don't like to see Helen upset, and Annie's methods require disciplining Helen. 

Annie finally gets the reluctant family to allow her two weeks alone with Helen. Despite the amazing progress she makes with Helen, the family starts to allow her to revert back to her poor behavior.

Soon enough Annie is able to show the family the value of being firm with Helen and how that actually helps her learn and enjoy life more. Essentially she teaches them how to truly love Helen instead of indulging her.


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