What do the words "light" and "dark" represent in "The Miracle Worker"?

Expert Answers
pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The images of darkness and light are at the heart of this play.  Helen Keller, deaf, dumb and blind lives in a world dominated by darkness.  Although her family copes with her severe disabilities by indulging her, they are in the dark on how to really help her.  They endure her savage behavior, her tantrums, her frustration by ignoring it. 

Captain Keller, a staunch Southerner still smarting from the loss of the Civil War, has to put aside his prejudice in order to allow Anne Sullivan, a northerner, into his home to teach his daughter.  Prejudice is a form of darkness, it is uninformed. Knowledge is symbolically represented by light.

Helen is desperate to find the light that will bring information about her environment into her dark, empty mind.

When Anne Sullivan, once also in the dark, brought the world into Helen's mind through sign language, Helen literally was rescued from the darkness that had previously defined her existence.  Helen's transformation is remarkable, the life she lived after her journey out of darkness made her famous.

Helen and Anne Sullivan travelled the world, bring inspiration and hope to millions of afflicted people.