What are the Kellers considering to do with Helen in The Miracle Worker?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Kellers have tried taking Helen to specialists and don’t want to put her in an asylum, but she is getting out of control.

When Helen is caught playing with scissors, Aunt Ev says” something ought to be done for that child.”  She suggests an “oculist” in Baltimore, but Captain Keller does not think it will do any good, and Helen’s blindness can’t be cured.  Captain Keller insists that it is not about the money.

Not money. The child’s been to specialists all over Alabama and Tennessee. If I thought it would do good I’d have her to every fool doctor in the country. (Act 1, Scene 3)

James suggests putting her away somewhere.

Some asylum. It’s the kindest thing. (Act 1, Scene 3)

Captain Keller is shocked, and so is Ev.  But then Helen rips two buttons off Ev’s dress so her doll can have eyes.  Her father suggests that she should take what little pleasure she can, and then Helen overturns the cradle—while the baby is sleeping in it.

Captain Keller says that Helen must be disciplined, but her mother asks how they can discipline her since she does not know better, and is “afflicted.”  They agree to write to the doctor in Baltimore.  Eventually, they get a governess, Annie Sullivan, to teach her.


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