Illustration of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan

The Miracle Worker

by William Gibson

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What actions did Helen take towards Annie on her first day in The Miracle Worker?

Quick answer:

Helen Keller hits her teacher Annie Sullivan with a doll and breaks one of Annie's teeth on Annie's first day with the Keller family. She also locks Annie in her room.

Expert Answers

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In William Gibson's play The Miracle Worker, Annie Sullivan gets off to a rough start as Helen Keller's governess and teacher. On her first day with the Keller family, Annie finds Helen in the garden and touches her. Helen responds at once, curious and interested, trying to get as much knowledge of Annie as possible through touch. Helen then takes Annie's suitcase and struggles inside with it. She clearly wants to be useful.

In Annie's room, Helen figures out how to open Annie's suitcase and finds the doll inside. She is fascinated by the doll, and Annie uses the opportunity to teach a first lesson in spelling. She shows Helen the word doll by spelling it in sign language. Then Annie takes the doll away, hoping that she can get Helen to ask for it back by spelling the word. Helen throws a tantrum but eventually spells the word. Then she hits Annie with the doll, breaking one of Annie's teeth.

Helen hurries out of the room, slams the door, and locks it. She also takes the key away with her. Captain Keller has to rescue Annie by bringing her down a ladder. Annie sees Helen playing with the doll and hiding the key to Annie's room in its dress. Annie accepts the challenge that Helen brings, even smiling a little, for she knows that this girl is intelligent and can learn.

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