Illustration of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan

The Miracle Worker

by William Gibson
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What does Annie do to make Helen jealous of Percy?

Annie pretends to play a spelling game with Percy, teaching him some basics of sign language, in order to stimulate Helen's sense of jealousy. Helen has become frustrated and is hiding under the bed, so Annie uses Helen's competitive spirit as a means of reengaging with her.

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Annie pretends to play a spelling game with Percy, teaching him some basics of sign language, in order to stimulate Helen's sense of jealousy.

At the end of act 2, Annie and Helen are in a standoff. Helen is frustrated and has decided to hide underneath the bed to avoid...

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Annie pretends to play a spelling game with Percy, teaching him some basics of sign language, in order to stimulate Helen's sense of jealousy.

At the end of act 2, Annie and Helen are in a standoff. Helen is frustrated and has decided to hide underneath the bed to avoid Annie. Desperate to continue a connection with Helen and unwilling to allow her to construct a barrier between them, Annie refuses to give up on her.

She decides to use Percy to elicit Helen's competitive spirit. Percy, who is already asleep, is brought to the room where Helen has hidden herself under the bed. Annie kneels him down beside the bed and thrusts his hand underneath to make contact with Helen, letting her know that Percy is now in the room with them. Helen recognizes his hand and scrambles out, desperate to hug him.

Annie then asks Percy to play a little "game" with her, much to his dismay; he would prefer to simply return to bed. Grabbing his wrist, Annie begins spelling words into Percy's hand. This has the desired effect and stimulates Helen's sense of jealousy. She wants to engage with Annie and wants to be involved in whatever "game" Annie is playing with Percy. When Helen tries to insert herself into their little spelling game, Annie brushes her hand away, which makes Helen even more interested in Annie's efforts.

Finally, Annie is certain that she has regained Helen's attentiveness, and she allows Percy to stumble back to bed.

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