What did Annie and Helen fight about for the first time in The Miracle Worker?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although one might think Annie's and Helen's first fight is in regards to the doll that Annie wants Helen to spell, the first scuffle is actually over Annie's suitcase before Annie even enters the house.  This is Helen's first experience with signing.  After Helen touches and explores Annie's hands and arms and dress for the first time, Annie tries to touch Helen's hands, but is turned away.  Helen "gropes" over the suitcase that Annie has brought and tries to open it.  Here Annie presents her first sign, she points Helen's hand overhead to show that Annie's suitcase belongs upstairs.  Annie does it again.  Helen does it herself (to ask a question) and then, in complete understanding, attempts to help.  Here's where the small fight begins (the first of many):

HELEN now begins tugging the suitcase toward the door, when ANNIE tries to take it from her, she fights her off and backs through the doorway with it.  ANNIE stands a moment, then follows her in, and together they get the suitcase up the steps into ANNIE'S room.  (33)

The first fight being over, the two adjourn to Annie's room to have their second one (over a very particular "D-O-L-L").  After Annie gets a pretty good whack in the face, she knows just how strong little Helen is:  a challenge but a joy just the same.

Read the study guide:
The Miracle Worker

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